One of our new pre-development services is information retrieval and research. Tim Barton and I enjoy digging up data from old records when modern databases don't have records stretching back far enough. For example, we can look for information that can be used to establish how a building used to be used, which, in some situations can establish a basis for being allowed to use the building in the same way again.

Many small apartment buildings were legally built in Chicago but no longer conform to the zoning code since its rewrite in 2004. In most circumstances, building owners would have to apply for and receive a zoning change to add a unit to their building.

The City of Chicago zoning code allows owners of some small apartment buildings to add an additional unit in certain circumstances without applying for a zoning change.

Consider this: A 3-flat was built in Humboldt Park in 1928 in a zoning district that allowed multi-family housing at the time is now in a zoning district that no longer allows multi-unit buildings. (Many zoning districts were downzoned in 2004 to allow only single-family houses.) Sometime between 1928 and now, this 3-flat had a legal garden unit in the basement (also known as an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU), but that was removed to provide tenant storage.

It’s possible for that garden unit to be re-added even though the apartment building is in a single-family-only zone. The zoning code sets some additional qualifications: the current building must have only 2-6 units, and is 50 years or older.

MAP Strategies can determine if a property you own might be eligible for this upgrade, and help you obtain the information that the Chicago zoning department requires before permitting the additional unit.

Additionally, MAPS has "value add" opportunities maps – for brokers, current homeowners, and developers – that show where there are off-market and "under built" apartments in Chicago. These are 2-6 unit buildings that, given their current zoning classification and lot size, could have one or more units added as of right.

Contact us to learn how to take advantage of our exclusive information.