The property shown above at 2309 W Foster, Chicago IL 60625 was originally zoned B1-2 "small scale retail (neighborhood shopping) with dwelling units above". The vacant lot was purchased for $170,000 in 2014. The new building will have 3 units with no ground floor retail.
Busy arterial streets are good candidates for zoning variances. I'm certain the owner of the small cottage shown above and owners on the other side of the new building have been approached multiple times to sell. I would have to believe the developer of the new condo building has tried to purchase the adjacent properties. I also wonder if the adjacent owners disproved of the condo building construction during the zoning change application.