As It Plans Demolitions, Maywood Looks To Bellwood’s Home-Building Project As Potential Model

801 N. 5th Ave. in Maywood, one of the properties recommended for demolition. | Google Earth

Sunday, September 8, 2022 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

As Maywood officials identify eyesore properties throughout the village to demolish, they’re also looking at what to do with the vacant lots that will replace them.

And Bellwood’s popular experiment in home-building came up as an example of what Maywood might do to make its housing base more viable.

During a regular meeting on Aug. 16, the village board was presented with a memo identifying two dozen vacant or abandoned structures in Maywood that the building and code department recommends for demolition.

Over the years, the village has torn down dozens of properties through a fast-track demolition process, which allows municipalities to bypass the courts and demolish properties, no higher than three stories, that are “open and vacant and determined by the Village to be continuing hazard to the community,” according to a 2017 memo drafted by the village’s law firm, Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins.

Mayor Nathaniel George Booker urged residents who want other properties added to the list to contact LaSondra Banks, the village’s community engagement manager, at (708) 450-6366 or [email protected].

“When people say we need to tear these things down, some we can and some we can’t,” Booker said at the August meeting, adding that he still wants the village to “have a running list of properties we know are eligible, properties we know are problematic and [for us to] work on having solutions for those properties that are not eligible [for demolition].”

Village officials said they’ll explore a quote for demolishing the selected properties in September. The village board’s next meeting is on Sept. 20. The mayor said each demolition costs between $15,000 and $20,000.

“I know this might be a shot in the dark but I see our surrounding neighbors doing this more and more now,” said Trustee Antonio Sanchez, referencing Bellwood among examples of villages that are developing single-family homes.

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Since 2016, Bellwood has built about 25 of what Crain’s Chicago Business has dubbed “village hall-built homes,” as a way to improve its housing stock.

Bellwood’s homes are, on average, between 900 and 1,200 square feet, much smaller than many prospective homeowners would like, which prompted village officials to take it into their own hands to build bigger houses.

The village’s two newest homes at 130 49th Ave. and 132 49th Ave. are each 2,150 square feet and were listed in the summer at $425,000 each.

“That is an opportunity that exists within the village,” said Mayor Booker in August.

Booker said the village could acquire vacant properties from the Cook County Land Bank Authority, “renovate and flip” them. He added “there are properties that are vacant lands that we could, as a village, invest in and then sell.”

The mayor said the “tricky thing about that is that we don’t become real estate agents but at the same time [we’re] looking at what Bellwood has been able to accomplish as an ideal.”

Booker said that, overall, Bellwood’s program has proven to be a success “that we most certainly will look to explore in the future once we get a hold of all of our abandoned properties and vacant properties that haven’t paid taxes.”

At which point, he said, a guiding question would be: “Is it best to partner with developers, or are we actually going to become the developer?”

The full list of properties recommended in August for demolition are below:

  1. 313 S. 3rd
  2. 803 S. 4th
  3. 801 N. 5th
  4. 516 S. 4th
  5. 901 S. 4th
  6. 1323 S. 5th
  7. 1112 S. 6th
  8. 417 N. 7th
  9. 1412 S. 7th
  10. 809 S. 10th
  11. 811 S. 10th
  12. 305 S. 11th
  13. 430 S. 16th
  14. 422 S. 16th
  15. 1205 S. 16th
  16. 828 S. 18th
  17. 1411 S. 18th
  18. 227 S. 19th
  19. 18 S. 21st
  20. 134 S. 19th
  21. 611 S. 20th
  22. 1304 S. 21st

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