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Mayor Emanuel’s proposed five-year housing plan includes lifting a ban in place since 1957…

Committees push Pilsen, Little Village preservation strategy, five-year housing plan

A city strategy to preserve Little Village and Pilsen’s housing and the mayor’s five-year housing plan were two measures on the City Council’s Housing and Real Estate committee’s agenda on Thursday morning. The two plans were pushed through, albeit with a little controversy, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

There was a dispute during the meeting regarding a quorum, according to the newspaper. 15th Ward Alderman Ray Lopez wanted to postpone the vote because fewer than eight of the committee’s 15 members were present. After a short recess, the meeting went on with six members followed by a vote to approve the items up for discussion.

The committee approved ordinances that amended an Affordable Requirements Ordinance pilot program in Pilsen and Little Village and authorized the city to acquire land for El Paseo trail. Also on the agenda was an ordinance to adopt the mayor’s five-year housing plan. These ordinances were introduced at the last City Council meeting in November.

The mayor’s preservation plan for Pilsen and Little Village comes in part from the city’s effort to stop gentrification ahead of the El Paseo trail project. The strategy details new housing resources to help existing residents avoid displacement caused by gentrification, ways to increase sustainable jobs, and open space improvements to build the neighborhood’s resources.

Another part of the strategy called for the creation of a historic district in Pilsen, which was approved at the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards meeting on Thursday.

The mayor’s five-year housing plan was developed over a seven-month period and based on input from 120 “housing professionals” and around 150 ideas submitted through an online portal, according to the mayor’s office.

The plan includes a $1.4 billion framework that would support 40,000 residential units, invest in affordable rental housing and resources for vulnerable residents, provide tools for neighborhoods facing gentrification, and expand affordable homeownership opportunities. 48th Ward Alderman Osterman shared a presentation with some details on the proposal which can be found on his website.

As part of the mayor’s budget, the housing plan for 2019 to 2023 would be implemented by a new Department of Housing instead of the Department of Planning and Development.

Next week the full City Council will vote on these measures. That meeting will take place at 10 a.m. on December 12.

Nerd out about the World’s Fair at Newberry Library’s symposium

Earlier this fall the Newberry Library underwent a nine-month renovation and around the same time opened a new exhibition on the World’s Columbian Exposition. This weekend, the library will be featuring a day of lectures and panels in conjunction with the event.

The exhibit, Pictures from an Exposition: Visualizing the 1893 World’s Fair, showcases historic photos, drawings, maps, postcards, and souvenirs from the time period. It will be on display through December 31 at the library located at 60 W. Walton Street.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, December 8, the library will host Dr. Lisa Snyder for a discussion about the technology and research behind her digital reconstruction of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition’s White City. Snyder is a director of campus research initiatives at UCLA and the World’s Fair model has been a core part of her research for decades.

Snyder estimates that for every hour of computer modeling, there were at least five hours of research behind it, according to a statement from UCLA when the project was first announced. There were no color photographs at the time, so Snyder sifted through artists’ watercolors to get those details and referenced old horticulture magazines to figure out what seed varietals might have been planted. Synder’s hope is that the model and software will help illuminate a deeper understanding of the fair’s history and spark new questions in classrooms.

Following this presentation, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., a series of other lectures about the 1893 World’s Fair and the International Exposition of 1933 to 1934 will take place. Learn about culture wars in the White City, the Italian influence and the Balbo Monument, and an artist who painted murals for the World’s Fair during the symposium. Find the full schedule of events, which is free and open to the public, on the Newberry Library’s website.

Upper-end home sales boom shows no sign of ending

Two mansions, one in the city and the other in Winnetka, sold for more than $4 million each on Friday, bringing the year-to-date sales total of $4 million-plus homes to 70, or about 35 percent more than the Chicago area’s strongest-ever year in upper-end sales.

With a month remaining, 2018 is already a record year for upper-priced sales. The question now is how much further sales will surge by year’s end.

Last year ended with 46 sales in the $4 million-and-up category in Chicago and the six collar counties. It was the second consecutive year with a tally below the record year, 2015, when 52 homes sold in the super-luxury category, according to Crain’s ongoing tracking of sales.

At this year’s pace of at least five a month, 2018 could end with 75 sales.

But there might be more: A dozen existing homes with asking prices of $4 million or more in the city and suburbs have contracts pending, according to Midwest Real Estate Data. (There are several upper-priced condos marked “pending” in two not-yet-complete towers, Vista in Lakeshore East and One Bennett Park in Streeterville, but those won’t deliver in the next month.)

The boom at the top of the market runs counter to what’s happening in the market overall. In the nine-county metropolitan area, homes sales were down 3 percent year-to-date at the end of October (the latest figures available). Factors in the upper-end boom, agents have said during the year, include big gains early in the year in stock wealth, the availability of premier properties such as North Shore lakefront at discounts, and thephenomenal sales figures at No. 9 Walton, a nearly finished tower in the Gold Coast.

Twenty of the year’s sales so far have been at No. 9 Walton, but that’s not the only source of the year’s increase.

Last week alone, there were three sales at other locations, including a Highland Park mansion that went for $4.2 million, and Friday’s pair of properties.

This tonwhouse built in the 1910s on Lakeview Avenue in Lincoln Park sold for $4.75 million on Friday.

On Lakeview Avenue in Lincoln Park, a 10,000-square-foot townhouse built in the 1910s and recently rehabbed and expanded sold Friday for $4.75 million. That’s about two-thirds of the $7.2 million that rehab firm ReduHome was asking when it listed the project for sale in March. Redu principal Steve Bouwman said he was “happy we sold it to a very nice family” and did not comment on the discounted sale price.

On Hoyt Lane in Winnetka, a four-bedroom house with 112 feet of Lake Michigan beach sold Friday for almost $4.48 million. Built in 1961, the four-bedroom French country-style house was the work of architect Jerome Cerny, who designed many North Shore homes between 1929 and 1970. The house, on more than half an acre, has two decks on the descent to the beach, according to the listing, and classic finishes inside including a curved staircase, wainscoting and crown moldings.

Neither Ginny Grinstead, the @properties agent who represented the sellers, nor Suzanne Myers, the Coldwell Banker agent who represented the buyers, responded to a request for comment. The house came on the market in June with a $5.1 million asking price, which was later cut to $4.7 million.

The Hoyt Lane house is the seventh in Winnetka to sell for $4 million or more so far in 2018, compared to six in all of 2017. The suburbs with the next-highest tallies are Glencoe and Lake Forest, with two sales each.

Public records do not yet identify the buyers of the Hoyt Lane and Lakeview Avenue homes.

Use Divvy bikes through Lyft app soon

This past summer Lyft purchased Divvy’s parent company Motivate, and recently the company announced that the deal has finally closed.

Riders will soon be able to access Divvy bikes by using the Lyft app, according to the announcement. A more thorough look at trip options and other details for the bikes will come later in 2019. For now, Divvy bikes will stay sky blue, but in the near future Divvy will roll out the pink and black Lyft-branded bikes in select cities.

It’s unclear whether Lyft will continue to maintain the Divvy station kiosks or if riders will only be able to purchase passes through the Lyft app. When asked for more information, a representative from Lyft said more details on the change were not available at this time.

Lyft is also working on integrating public transit information directly into the app. It’s already done this for users in Santa Monica. If the feature were to expand to Chicago, riders would be able to see bus lines and L train lines to decide which route is best for their trip, according to Lyft.

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Lyft plans to expand its bikeshare system with thousands of new bikes, scooters and stations across cities where Motivate had established bikeshare programs and more. Motivate operated New York City’s Citi Bikes, San Francisco’s Ford GoBike, Boston’s Bluebikes, Washington D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare, Portland’s Biketown, Columbus’ CoGo, and Minneapolis’ Nice Ride.

The company also said making membership more affordable and convenient would be a priority too. Currently a single ride on Divvy costs $3, a 24-hour pass with 3-hour rides costs $15, and an annual membership is $99 with more affordable options for low-income residents.

Lyft also plans on deploying electric bikes and scooters, the announcement said. Lyft scooters are already available in Denver and account for 15 percent of rides, according to the company. Lyft scooters are also in Washington D.C., Arlington, Santa Monica, and Austin. No word on when that transportation option will come to Chicago though.

The city wrapped up a dockless electric bike pilot program in November and it looks like other scooters might be on the streets eventually. So Lyft could have some competition when it brings those services to the city.