The Visclosky/Slager $5B Folly-Millennials Want Single Family Homes

Number of millenials purchasing multi-family units dropped from 7% in 2014 to just 3% in 2015

February 26, 2017-While Congressman Visclosky and State Representative Hal Slager have joined forces to force a radical transformation of Northwest Indiana into an extension of Chicago with urban style densely packed housing, the National Association of Realtors reports that is not what millennials are purchasing. While proponents push the narrative that millennials want to live in high rise apartments and condominiums, those who track home purchases report that only 3 percent of millennials who purchased homes chose a multi-family home. “A combined 3 percent of millennial buyers bought an apartment, condo or duplex in a building with two or more units (7 percent a year ago).”

Visclosky’s Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) plans to spend at least $400M on mixed-use, multi-family housing throughout Northwest Indiana according to their 2016 Comprehensive Strategic Plan ( In total, the plan will cost over $5B according to the documents provided by Visclosky’s RDA. In furtherance of that goal, Representative Slager, introduced House Bill 1144 which would capture all increases in property tax, sales tax, local income tax and state income tax within “transit development districts” for thirty years. That money would then be provided to Visclosky’s RDA which could spend the money in the districts for transit oriented development Local Representatives Mara Candelaria-Reardon, Earl Harris and Julie Olthoff signed on to the bill as co-authors. Local residents would have little say in Visclosky’s RDA plans as funding would be provided for those items outlined in the comprehensive strategic plan. Architect Doug Farr, a key player in the plan, has stated that suburbs were a “crazy period of about 50 years where we had more money than cents .. .and we wish we hadn’t done” and we are trying to out “how you fix these places. Bad decision, urbanism is the only game.” Please watch the video below.


  1. I used to sell real estate. There has been no trend towards multi-family housing, over the last decade. The single family house is preferred by every demographic, including millennials. For many reasons, including space (indoors and out), convenience, the ability to customize, and to keep neighbors at arms length. It’s typically a better value and investment as well.

    If anything people would prefer larger lots, if they could afford it.

    In spite of the government, educators, even NAR itself and anti-sprawl people like Farr demonizing the single family house, it isn’t going anywhere. Unless these types manage to either ban them, or more likely, regulate them to make it too expensive for the majority.

    Most Munster residents probably think the largest existing condo buildings are plenty big for the town. Real market forces likely won’t call for buildings any larger either, even with a train.

  2. Multi-family housing ruins cities. Look at Gary, East Chicago, and Hammond. Each of these cities have a high level of multi-family housing aka “apartments” where tenants take no pride in ownership. People in these “apartments” move in and move out quite frequently and have no sense of community. The effect in turn brings down the quality of education in the school system and then brings up the crime rate. The only people who will prosper from the TOD are the politicians who will get nice donations from the investors and builders and the land owners and construction companies that build these properties. The people who will lose are the taxpayers who will pay for it and the single family homeowners whose property values will decline.

  3. I am always surprised at how “small world” residents of Northwest Indiana are.

    If you want ideas of what a success transit oriented development can be, all you need to do is hop in your car and take a ride to some of the Chicago Suburbs to the West and Southwest.

    Examples … Downers Grove (downtown), Oak Lawn (95th st), Orland Park (143rd and Lagrange), Wheaton (Downtown), Glen Ellyn (Downtown) and there are many more.

    I have no doubt that NW Indiana will screw up the train but it is mainly because of the people that live there. NW Indiana squanders opportunity after opportunity because there is a small mindedness. NW Indiana is part of the Chicago Metropolitan Area and is one of the last areas of growth.

    • Matt L,
      I grew up in Chicago. I worked in East Chicago for six years and Hammond for twenty years as a police officer. I moved to Munster to be a “small world” resident to get away from the “big world”. The “big world” is a filthy crime ridden place that I have no interest. Don’t try and bring it here, I don’t want it.

      • And that’s exactly why NWI Indiana is the backwater hole it is.

        NWI holds Munster up as the holy grail of communities when it wouldn’t be more than a B class city in the Western Suburbs of Chicago. Communities need to be vibrant to survive. They need jobs and they need economic growth. They need businesses that continue to cater to their citizens. Ultimately that all means growth.

        East Chicago, Hammond and even Gary had opportunities to change their future last decade before the financial crisis. Their location to Chicago could have transformed their communities into a mecca for young urban professional families that could put their stakes down in affordable housing. Instead the politicians of those communities wasted money on idiotic plans that did nothing but cater to the same uneducated, unskilled residents they already have. Change or die ….and NW Indiana is dying a slow death.

        NW Indiana cannot survive on the idea that one day the steel mills will come back or that there will be this magic pill taken to draw new industries. It needs to draw new residents.

        Again get it the car and visit communities that are far more successful than your own and will continue to be …..

        • Matt,
          Even in those towns in Illinois, only a small % of the residents live in those condos and apartments. At best they are a niche product in suburban areas, and come no-where to the levels of “success” that they are made out to be. The vast majority of the residents of Orland, Downer Grove, Wheaton etc still live in single family homes and most have nothing to do with the trains at all. And keep in mind, most of those trains have been there over a hundred years before cars were the majority. They really cannot be compared apples to apples. People wanting an urban experience have Chicago to live in, most of them will continue to not want to live in northwest Indiana, just because, no matter what gets created out here.

          There were a number of transit oriented developments proposed in Hammond and Gary along the existing SS line. None of them got very far as there is little interest in them by buyers in Northwest Indiana. And there were never higher density near the SS even before hard times began for those cities. The only reason the South Shore exists is because it’s an interurban (the only one left in the entire US), not a commuter railroad. It just sort of became one. To be honest when you see it operating sometimes, it looks like the relic it is.

          Out of a population of about 700,000 people, only about 11,000 daily use the South Shore on a regular basis. That’s a pretty low number. And its likely many of those riders would use the new line instead of the existing line, so I don’t see much more use overall. Yeah, it would be more convenient for a handful of people, but at what cost? Probably a billion dollars. There is no way it will be built for the price they are saying now. They always cost more then projected, and always have lower ridership then projected. And it does nothing to fix the problems of the existing line. It will continue to be mostly a hundred years old.

          We need the jobs in northwest Indiana, not downtown Chicago. Building a train to Chicago doesn’t promote employment here. Keep in mind that over all downtown employment is actually decreasing, not increasing. Partly due to the lousy business climate of Chicago (and Illinois), and the fact that downtown is increasing a residential neighborhood itself and less of a business center. Adding a HQ of a fortune 500 doesn’t actually create very many jobs, as most relocations lately only include a handful of very top people. The back offices seem to be remaining in the places they left.

          Changing our politicians would do more to help employment in both places. It’s the politics that hold back the whole Chicagoland area, not our lack of rail. Not having a railroad isn’t what makes a place backwards, its the politicians who make the business climate so terrible you have to go elsewhere.

          The number really don’t add up. Its not just because people don’t want density. They don’t want the area bankrupted because we built something we don’t really need.

          I am in the process of starting a new business. Its likely I will move elsewhere. Its because the business climate is terrible, not because the area lacks some trendy things.

          • Suburbs have grown along the Metra lines that have been extended outward including 2 new lines in the last 20 years with 2 more new lines in the works.

            Growth in suburbs such as Huntley and Geneva are very much influenced by the availability of transit to commute.

            15% of the total workforce of Northwest Indiana commutes to Chicago vs 35% in the rest of the Chicago suburbs. That is a growth opportunity that supports house values and business creation. Transit oriented development is not only about condominiums but support businesses. Coffee shops, dry cleaners, convenience stores, restaurants and day care centers. Those all provide jobs and contribute to the community.

            Again NW Indiana is and has been it’s own worst enemy for decades ……..

          • Matt L,
            As richb stated, the cost of this project is going to be a billion dollars, politicians and municipalities always under estimate costs of projects. Half of that cost is going to be paid for by Lake county property tax and lake county income tax. I already pay $6000 a year in Lake county property tax and $1300 a year in income tax. You may be right or you may be wrong about this project, but I am not a betting man. I do not want my taxes to go up like Chicago. People from Chicago move to Munster because crime is low, Munster schools are ranked extremely well, and property taxes are low. The TOD estimates that 12000 more people will ride the train (that is probably an inflated number). That means that the cost to build this project is roughly $100,000.00 per rider and another $1,000.00 a year per rider for maintenance. This doesn’t seem like a very good investment to me.

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