VALPARAISO | The city is expected to seek offers for two vacant lots on Chicago Street that it wants to see developed for residential use in 2014.
The board of public works and safety approved a request last week from City Administrator Bill Oeding to prepare a request for proposals from developers for the two lots. Oeding said the intent is to sell the lots and provide more residential space near the downtown.
The lots are across from the Chicago Street Theater on Chicago Street. One is used for a parking lot and other is vacant and was used most recently for raised container gardens to grow vegetables for area food pantries.
Oeding said the city had appraisals done of the two lots and plans to ask $55,000 for the parking lot and $49,000 for the vacant lot based on the average of the two appraisals. The parking lot currently holds 20 to 30 cars, but the city plans to build another parking lot nearby at the former site of the Needle and Thread that will hold about the same number, he said.
Oeding will work with Planning Director Tyler Kent and City Attorney Ethan Lowe to develop the criteria for the development, and the city hopes to have that ready to submit to developers this month. The two lots would be sold together to one developer.
Developers would be asked to submit proposals for what they would build on the site, and the city would pick the one best suited for the area. Although single-family homes previously occupied the lots, Oeding said townhomes, condominiums or other residential uses would be considered.
Oeding said the city has owned the lots for some time. The house on the lot where the gardens were was torn down by the city around 2005 or 2006, he said. The parking lot has been there for a longer period.