“Buy on the fringe and wait,” advised the legendary late Chicago real estate mogul Arthur Rubloff in the 1960s.
For decades, the mantra for North Side Chicago real estate investors has always been “go west from Lake Michigan”—along North Avenue, Belmont Avenue, Addison Street or Irving Park Road—to find a deal beyond the fringe.
In the early 1960s, investing west of Halsted Street in West Lincoln Park was considered risky. By the 1970s, buying property west of Ashland Avenue in West Lake View was considered a gamble for developers. In the 1980s and 1990s, the investment borders stretched year-by-year to Damen, Western and California avenues in the Ukrainian Village, Humboldt Park, Logan Square and Avondale neighborhoods.
By 2000, property west of Pulaski Avenue in Old Irving Park was in the sights of developers as new-construction residential projects began to emerge along Milwaukee Avenue north of Addison Street. In 2016, Basecamp Old Irving Park was developed with homes priced around $550,000 on Milwaukee west of Schurz High School.
East of Cicero Avenue, in Old Irving Park, prices of recently sold renovated homes range as high as $700,000 to $950,000, reports Zillow.
“Now, there is demand for upscale, contemporary-style homes west of Cicero Avenue in Portage Park,” noted veteran Realtor Sara Benson of Benson Stanley Realty.
“The Six Corners area, anchored by the giant Sears store and the iconic Portage Theater, is undergoing a renaissance fueled by $2 million in Tax Increment Financing,” Benson said.
The Point at Six Corners, a new 100,000-square-foot shopping center planned at 4747 W. Irving Park, just east of Cicero, will feature one story of retail and second-story parking.
Down the street, at 4901 W. Irving Park in Portage Park, is the new home of Binny’s Beverage Depot and Retro Fitness Gym. Other buildings in the same block are planned for redeveloped into a Culver’s restaurant, Elly’s Pancake House and a community theatre.
Portage Park is home to Community Tavern, a modern steak house, ranked by Chicago Magazine as one of the city’s best new restaurants. Another neighborhood favorite is Sabatino’s, 4441 W. Irving Park Rd. in Old Irving Park, a 4-star Italian restaurant that features a vintage piano bar.
A spot check of recent residential listings in Portage Park shows renovated 1920s brick bungalows and scattered-site new homes built on teardown sites listed in the upper-end range of $649,000 to $665,000, Benson said.
Enclave Portage Park—the neighborhood’s first major new-construction, detached single-family home development—is underway in the 4900 block of West Dakin St., a quiet, tree-lined side street just west of Six Corners.
Although the development only features nine contemporary-style detached homes, they are spacious 4-bedroom and 5-bedroom floor plans and a good value. Prices start at $589,900 and range upwards to $629,900.
“Enclave Portage Park is a unique collection of new homes designed to appeal to young buyers starting a family,” said Jennifer Arons of Guardian Properties Development, the developer of project.
Three homes are built at Enclave Portage Park. Two residences have been sold, but are not yet occupied, and two more are ready for immediate occupancy.
One of the first two sales is a 4-bedroom home at 4901 W. Dakin priced at $608,900, said Arons. The top-of-the-line Residence B-1, a spectacular 5-bedroom, 3.5-bath home showcases 3,570 square feet of living space on three levels, plus a 2-car garage. It is priced at $629,000.
A professionally decorated and furnished model is on display at Sunday open houses from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 4903 W. Dakin St., or by appointment. Call 312-386-5736, or visit www.EnclavePortagePark.com.
The neighborhood’s namesake is the 36.5-acre Portage Park at 4100 N. Long Ave. The park’s two field houses host a gymnasium and cultural arts facilities. The buildings were designed by famed architect Clarence Hatzfeld of the Hatzfeld and Knox.
The park also is known for its Olympic-size swimming pool that hosted the U.S. swimming trials for both the 1972 Summer Olympics and the 1959 Pan American Games. Other facilities include a dog friendly area, bike path, six tennis courts, five baseball/softball fields, two soccer/football fields and a new playground include a soft play surface, ADA accessible playground.
“The Portage Park neighborhood is one of Chicago’s best kept secrets, but it won’t be before long,” Arons predicted.
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.