Tearing down old, dilapidated buildings and isn’t necessarily the problem. The problem is when low-income families are forced out of their homes to free up space to build high value buildings they’ll likely never be able to afford living in. That’s gentrification. And that’s exactly what’s happening in Chicago’s Cabrini-Green neighborhood.

A couple of months ago, we reported on how a new high rise apartment complex in the Cabrini-Green neighborhood was asking for ridiculously high rent – $1,825 a month to rent a studio apartment, to be exact. It was found that someone would have to make $72,000 a year just to comfortably afford one, not to mention a 1-bedroom. 

More plans of what’s to come of the neighborhood formerly famous for it’s housing projects have been revealed by Chicago Magazine.

“The neighborhood is like a well-kept secret that likely won’t stay that way for long,” said Matt Herlihy, a vice president at Pivot Design. I read this quote more than once. I had to. After about the fourth time, I was able to tell myself, “They’re really talking about Cabrini-Green, huh?”

The hyper-gentrification is officially here and it’s here to stay. A neighborhood that was once known for its housing projects is now targeting people that likely bring home more money in a month than some former residents made in six. Chances are, many of these residents will be completely oblivious to the history of their new home. But this isn’t something to blame them for. For all they know, they’ve just stumbled across the city’s biggest secret.

Cabrini-Green is currently being marketed as “quiet.” Anyone that spent any time in or around the area during the projects’ seven decade run could tell you that’s a relatively new observation to be made. But that won’t be the case for long, as the predictable steps of this kind of process are likely to soon follow. “Build it and they will come [and then build some more].”

Neighborhoods change and cities are practically living organisms that evolve over time, often into something unrecognizable. But that usually takes time. And the change isn’t meant to be nearly this drastic or sudden. Cabrini-Green’s seemingly overnight transformation is surprising to many, either out of concern or delight. If this bold and unashamed kind of gentrification can occur there, it can unfortunately happen anywhere.


Photo Courtesy: Twitter