The winds of neighborhood chance continue to blow across Chicago’s North and Northwest sides with some surprising results, experts say.
When it comes to Wicker Park, Bucktown and Logan Square, the boundaries of the steadily upcoming West Town neighborhood have blurred.
Development of the 606 Trail and the City of Chicago’s bold move to adjust the southern boundary of Logan Square to North Avenue (1600 North) from Bloomingdale Avenue (1800 North) a couple of years ago created some panache for the former blue-collar neighborhood.
Now, Logan Square—populated diversely with a mix of young professionals—including techies, graphic designers and tattoo artists—and long-term ethnic residents—is being described as the “Midwest headquarters of hip.”
The 606 Trail, an elevated 2.7 mile-long bike and jogging venue, runs west along Bloomingdale Ave. from Ashland Avenue (1600 West) to Ridgeway Avenue (3732 West).
The 14.6-acre 606 Trail provides a recreational connection to Humboldt Park and features several new pocket parks. The trail, which features 38 bridges, connects sections of the Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square and Humboldt Park neighborhoods.
Recently, Logan Square has been named one of the 15 “hottest urban retail markets across North America” by Cushman & Wakefield, a national commercial real estate services company.
The ranking was compiled by querying hundreds of experts across the country, including brokers, property managers, appraisers and marketing executives.
According to the report, key criteria for a “cool” neighborhood are: walkability, bicycle friendliness and ease of public transportation as well as availability of places to dine and enjoy music. Restaurants and bars that have gained national attention over the past decade in Logan Square include Lula Cafe, Longman & Eagle and Revolution Brewing.
Residents say that Logan Square’s hipness began two decades ago when artists flocked to the area from Wicker Park, when rents became too expensive. The launch of the Logan Square Farmers Market in 2007 “was a major touchstone,” but growth since 2010 has been driven by new restaurants and bars, according to the report.
The average household income in Logan Square is $84,529. Sixty-percent of the adult residents in the neighborhood are college educated. One of every three residents range in age from 20 to 34, and 58 percent are apartment renters.
Real estate experts say the retail boom in Logan Square and the neighborhood’s related hipness has had a major impact on housing values and rents, economic facts that have made both the arts community and long-time less affluent ethnic residents worry about gentrification.
Wicker Park and Bucktown are “still cool while going mainstream,” notes report.
Both of these neighborhoods are considered more affluent than Logan Square, which could explain why profit-minded residential developers continue to stretch the boundaries of Bucktown into “West Bucktown,” which means west of Western, and “West Wicker Park,” which means into Humboldt Park, also west of Western and south of North Avenue.
But there is no denying the rise in residential property values in West Town, especially west of Western.
Existing housing stock in Logan Square includes a mix of vintage mansions, single-family homes, new condominiums and renovated 2-flat and 3-flat graystone apartments that line wide boulevards and tree-lined side streets.
Experts say apartment rents are skyrocketing in Logan Square. Renovated 1-bedroom plus den garden apartments are going for $1,795, up from about $900 to $1,000 a few years ago. Nice redone 2-bedroom with den, 2-bath units are leasing for $2,400-plus. That’s nearly in the bracket of Old Town and Lincoln Park.
For new construction, home shoppers should tour the sales center at Enclave, a new-construction development of 49 upscale row homes underway on a 2-acre site at 2500 W. Cortland St., just steps from The 606 in West Bucktown.
Sales at Enclave grand opened in mid-April, and 20 fee-simple row homes already have been sold to a mix of young professionals and move-up buyers, said Jennifer Arons of Guardian Properties Development, the developer of project in a joint venture with Chicago-based Harlem Irving Companies.
“Demolition of an existing former factory building on the site is underway and construction is scheduled to start on the row homes in late July,” Arons said.
Each 3-bedroom or 4-bedroom row home at Enclave features 3.5 baths, den and/or family room, roof deck, 2,450 to 3,027 square feet of living area and a 2-car garage. Pre-construction base prices range from $669,900 to $759,900.
The development is bounded by Homer Street (1950 North) on the north, Cortland (1900 North) on the south, and Campbell Avenue (2500 West) on the east. Call 773-235-3333, or visit www.EnclaveResidential.com.
Bucktown’s average household income is $109,494. Seventy-seven percent of residents are college educated. About 43 percent age 20 to 34. Renters account for 58 percent of the population.
Wicker Park also scored high marks for walkability and nightlife. The average household income is $102,698 with 73 percent being college educated. Nearly four in 10 are between 20 and 34 years old. Some 57 percent are renters.
For more housing news, visit www.dondebat.biz. Don DeBat is co-author of “Escaping Condo Jail,” the ultimate survival guide for condominium living. Visit www.escapingcondojail.com.