The gutted cold storage warehouse in the background is within a quarter mile of the Morgan CTA station. Photo by Seth Anderson.
Excluding all of the Chicago Transit Authority stations in the central business district you’ll find that the new Morgan station ranks highly in the number of building permits issued within a quarter mile. It has a top spot when you calculate those permits’ estimated project costs. The CTA recently discussed with DNAInfo the results of a preliminary study it conducted that showed how the Morgan station is at the center of a lot of construction growth in the West Loop/Fulton Market area, and a contributing factor to this growth.
Now that Licensed Chicago Contractors shows you the two nearest CTA and Metra rail stations to each building permit, and I’ve become well-versed in writing PostGIS queries on the fly, I wrote a query that lists the CTA stations with the most building permits within a quarter mile (“nearby”).
First, though, let’s count how many stations don’t have permits nearby. With the query at the bottom you get a list of station names, the number of permits nearby, and a sum of the estimated costs of those permits sorted by the number of permits. Since I used a “LEFT JOIN” I also get a count of all the permits (the table on the LEFT) that don’t have a match with CTA stations (the table on the right).
There are 127 rows returned and a previous count of the table told me there are 145 stations, including ones outside the Chicago city limits. (There are stations in Cicero, Wilmette, Evanston, Rosemont, Oak Park, Forest Park, and Skokie.) The first row represents NULL, or all of the stations that don’t have permits nearby. That leaves me with 126 rows and 19 stations without permits, or 19 stations outside the City of Chicago.
I verified this by eyeballing it. I looked at a map and counted roughly 19 stations that wouldn’t have the 1/4 mile overlap with a Chicago building permit. The two Austin stations, on the Blue Line Forest Park branch and the Green Line Oak Park branch, are near Chicago and also showed up as a discrete station in the query results. Austin on the Blue Line was dead last, actually!
Let’s get back on track and look at Morgan now. I don’t think it’s fair to compare the Morgan station area with an expected, higher-activity area like the Loop and Central Business District so I eyeballed the list and started the #1 ranking with the first station outside the CBD.
- Armitage (Brown, Purple Express) is the station outside the CBD with the most building permits nearby.
- Damen-Milwaukee (Blue)
- North/Clybourn (Red)
- Addison (Red)
- Morgan (Green, Pink)
There you have it, from 2009 to today, the Morgan station had the fifth highest number of building permits outside of the Chicago Central Business District. It beat Fullerton (Red, Brown, Purple) in Lincoln Park, and Roosevelt (elevated and subway combined) in the South Loop. The station’s construction began in 2010 and the grand opening occurred May 24, 2012. During this period Morgan had the second highest amount of aggregated estimated costs at $199,911,953.00, behind North/Clybourn, at $218,118,037.37.
Take this analysis with several grains of Morton salt, though, because the following caveats are important to consider: building permits are really speculative development; much of these may be for kitchen renovations or porch reconstructions; I didn’t look up when it was “for sure” that the station was being built so I don’t know when developers would have become interested.
Looking at a longer period
I will, however, run a few more queries to find how Morgan’s position changes, starting with expanding the query to “all time” data (really the end of 2006 to today). It turns out that when looking through all available years Morgan’s position remains at #5 but other stations change position.
During this period, which covers the end of 2006 until today, Morgan had the highest aggregated estimated costs of the above five stations, at $236,707,083.00. It beat Fullerton’s amount of $160,825,680.30.
Looking only at “new construction”
Since these include all permit types, including water heater installations and window replacements, it doesn’t give us a good look at economic expansion in the areas surrounding CTA stations. I’ve filtered the data so only “new construction” building permits come through. I’m still interested in stations outside the CBD. Here’s how Morgan performed when looking at purely the quantity of new construction permits issued from 2009 to today:
- Armitage, 46 new construction building permits
- Southport, 38
- Addison (Red), 34
- Belmont (Red)
- Ashland (Green, Pink)
- Irving Park (Brown)
- Damen (Brown)
- Ashland (Orange)
- Addison (Brown)
- Montrose (Brown)
- Sox-35th-Dan Ryan
- Morgan, 13 new construction building permits
Let’s remove that date filter and look at the whole building permits period of late 2006 to today.
- Southport (Brown Line), 80 new construction permits, all-time
- Armitage (Brown, Purple), 72
- Western-Congress (Blue), 66
- Addison (Red), 64
- Belmont (Red, Brown), 63
- Western-Milwaukee, 59
- North/Clybourn, 55
- Division-Milwaukee, 53
- Sox-35th-Dan Ryan, 51
- Wellington, 50
- 35-Bronzeville-IIT, 48
- Irving Park (Brown), 44
- Morgan, 43 new construction permits
Now switching the order method around and Morgan appears better when you look at aggregated estimated costs, from 2009 to today.
- Illinois Medical District, $236,020,000.00
- North/Clybourn, $172,373,335.00
- Loyola, $161,744,075.00
- Polk, $106,000,000.00
- Grand-Milwaukee, $77m224,500.00
- Wellington, $72m802,300.00
- Belmont (Red), $71,300,302.00
- Morgan, $68,300,800.00
Last query – remove the data filter and look at aggregated costs for the whole building permits period where Morgan maintains a top 10 position.
- North/Clybourn, $277029045.00
- Illinois Medical District, 236,020,000.00 (same as 2009 to today period)
- Polk, $188,794,975.00
- Loyola, $185,444,075.00
- Belmont (Red), $1635,00,085.00
- Fullerton, $129,444,051.00
- Wellington, $111,335,051.00
- Granville, $99,356,702.00
- Morgan, $83,995,800.00
The data I’d really like to have, though, is sales tax receipts for the same years.
This is not a valid PostgreSQL query. The brackets indicate the options I was using to retrieve the above results. The geometries are in or transformed to EPSG 3435 (Illinois StatePlane East Feet) and 1,320 feet is a quarter mile.
COUNT (P .permit_) AS count,
MIN (C .longname) as name,
min(lines) as lines,
sum(_estimated_cost) as sum
permits P left join
ST_Transform (P .geometry, 3435),
[WHERE] [EXTRACT (YEAR FROM issue_date) >= 2009] [_permit_type = 'PERMIT - NEW CONSTRUCTION']