Did you know that MAPS makes maps now? MAPS can be your compliance partner for all steps of the property and business development process by assisting in land selection, in addition to our entitlement and pre-development services. We can create site selection studies and design custom maps.

Site selection

MAPS's site selection service uses the vast Chicago Cityscape platform of maps and databases and our urban planning expertise to sift through it all to find sites and buildings that meet specific criteria.

Consider this: You're trying to build some two-flats, which means, per the Chicago zoning code, you need at least a 3,000 s.f. lot zoned as RT-4 (alternatively, one of the RM zoning districts would also be acceptable). While MLS shows lots currently for sale, it may not be completely useful because there just aren't that many lots for sale in some neighborhoods.

How do you find potential opportunity lots, then? MAPS creates a map and spreadsheet that highlights all of the parcels that meet the zoning and lot size criteria in a given community area, ZIP code, or other boundary the client prefers. The map can include vacant lots, side yards, and other property types.

We can even help you assess the sentiment and likelihood of getting a zoning change in any particular area, based in part on how quickly zoning changes applied for in the past were approved. Once suitable lots are identified, an astute broker can contact owners to acquire the land.

MAPS can incorporate additional factors in the selection process, including whether the lot has any potential financial or development incentives (like Opportunity Zones or the Opportunity Investment Fund). For mixed-use building proposals, we can search for lots that are in a Transit-Served Location and thus eligible for density bonuses and a reduction in parking requirements, which can save costs and increase building design flexibility.

The map shows suitable sites in a client-specified part of Chicago with overlapping zoning district information.

Site selection isn't just for new property development. MAPS also assists in site selection for new and relocated businesses. Based on a zoning assessment of a business's operations and future expansion, MAPS will select one or more ideal zoning districts and locate off-market buildings and lots in those districts.

Got an alcohol component to the business? We can consider existing liquor moratoria as well. This service is based on Chicago Cityscape's existing Site Locator.

This kind of data analysis doesn't have to be limited to property selection. Another way to take advantage of the data is to use it to generate leads. Curious about how many approved Planned Developments are inactive, and need the contact info for the developers? We can do that.

Custom maps

In addition to the maps we make for site selection projects, MAPS can also design custom maps. Earlier this year we created a set of maps that show the 43 medical cannabis districts in Illinois. These districts limit the number of medical marijuana dispensaries allowed within the boundaries. (They're unrelated to the adult use cannabis regions in the drafted law HB 1438 (which hasn't been signed by Governor Pritzker).

The medical cannabis districts had never been mapped by the State of Illinois so part of the project included research on how the districts are drawn and new data was created. Because of our relationship with Chicago Cityscape, the maps were integrated there to link those districts with its address lookup service.

Two sample maps for the collection of nearly 200 maps that we made to show how the different medical cannabis districts of Illinois overlap with municipalities and the districts of elected officials in Illinois, Cook County, and Chicago.

The client wanted the maps to be printable and show their overlap with different elected bodies, including Illinois State Representatives, Illinois State Senators, Cook County Commissioners, and Chicago Alders. In all, over 200 individual maps, designed in color to be printed at 11x17 or larger, were cost-effectively created.

Whatever your urban real estate data or mapping problem is, MAPS has a solution.