A majority of the Chicago’s black population once lived on a stretch of South Side housing projects commonly referred to as “the Black Belt,” as well as other locations throughout the city. The projects were eventually emptied out, displacing tenants across the city and local suburbs, and torn down following years of debates and litigation. Now, one of those same properties is turning into upscale, high cost housing for those who can afford it.

The stories that follow are the same ones that can be seen across the globe and throughout history. The vacant land, often the size of football fields, is slowly bought up and built upon with shiny new complexes that ask for rent that the former inhabitants would likely never be able to afford.

The latest example of which involves Cabrini Green, which was once home to one of Chicago’s most notorious housing projects of the same name on the near North Side. A new 18-story high rise called Xavier is the first sign of how the area’s being treated like a real estate gold mine for realtors.

According to Chicagoist, the building, located at 625 W. Division, is accepting applications for tenants that can afford to pay the extremely high rent. Rent for a studio bedroom starts at $1,825 a month, one bedrooms start at $2,300 and two bedrooms are as much as $3,275 a month.  Some of the amenities include floor-to-ceiling windows, a rooftop with a chef and two dog runs.

To put things in perspective, a tenant would need to make $72,000 a year to comfortably afford to live in a studio apartment at that price. This is basically a message that most of the people who once lived in the area are unqualified to live there now. This is clear gentrification.

Only time will tell if the complex will be a local hot spot or if the rent will have to be lowered to garner more demand.


Photo Credit: Chicagoist