Ten years of teardowns
Written by Samantha Kearney
What are teardowns?
In a nutshell, a "teardown" happens when an existing building is demolished to make room for a new building. Typically the old building and new building serve the same purpose. Most teardowns are single-family and multi-family homes, as seen in the interactive map below.
Chicago's teardown map is mostly yellow, because those indicate housing types based on zoning districts. From January 2006 to early March 2016, there were 1,827 teardowns in single-family zones (pale yellow), trailed by 936 teardowns in small multi-family zones (middle yellow). There were 222 teardowns of buildings in 20+ unit multi-family zones (darkest yellow), but teardowns in those areas were surpassed by teardowns in business and mixed-use districts (bright red), which came to 298. Every other zoning district had fewer than 100 teardowns. Click on the points on the map to learn more about individual projects, and to see their demolition and new construction permit details.
The following chart shows the number of days that passed after the demolition permit was issued and before the new construction permit was issued on the X axis and the number of teardown projects on the Y axis.
Negative numbers indicate that the new construction permit was issued before the demolition permit was issued, but these permits often mention that new construction is conditional upon a demolition permit being granted next.
The average annual cost of new construction in these teardown projects have ranged from $498,765 in 2012 to $2,774,516 in 2010, but there does not appear to be a pattern in average new construction costs per year.
However, the number of teardowns per year does have a pattern, as can be seen in the following chart.
The number of teardowns declined from 2006's 751 teardowns to 122 in 2009 as a result of the housing bubble burst, then slowly rose to 459 in 2014 before easing off slightly in 2015.