Thursday, February 23, 2017

Chicago North Shore Real Estate and Neighborhoods: A Glimpse of Highland Park

Highland Park is a lakefront community on the North Shore approximately twenty-three miles north of Chicago’s Loop. There are many natural amenities, including ravines, wildflowers, mature trees, public flower gardens, and Lake Michigan. There is a full spectrum of vibrant business districts, educational, and recreational amenities with a restored beach, boat launch and dog park. We moved to HP in 1990 with two children. We chose Highland Park for the neighborhood schools, the small high school, park district facilities, its accessibility to Rt. 41 and the Tri-State Tollway and, especially, the downtown. There is a vibrant downtown with a number of independent specialty shops, boutiques, restaurants, and a public plaza with community sponsored events. Highland Park is one of the few North Shore community with three commuter train stations, and four golf courses.

Highland Park has several separate and distinct neighborhood and commercial/business districts each with their own ambience and housing styles. The Ravinia Festival welcomes the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and many international recording artists. We have enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, many events there: Tony Bennet and Lady Gaga, Glenn Campbell were fantastic, and Buddy Guy always! Our grown children and their friends have seen some new and retro rockers (Doobie Bros). Hmm. Red, white, or a good IPA? That’s a tough one! The Chicago Botanic Garden is on the southern border, in neighboring Glencoe. It is a haven for nature lovers, gardeners and anyone who wants to get away for a few hours. Just walk around, smell the flowers, feel the breeze, see the different gardens and relax.

Our family has been active participants in HP for over twenty years. Both of our children participated in athletics and the music program. Eve was a Girl Scout leader and past president of the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce. I was an AYSO soccer coach, a Park District baseball coach, and a five year assistant football coach at HPHS and was a founding and current member of the HPHS Athletic Hall of Fame. It’s hard to believe we are going on ten years now.

Highland Park real estate has a distinct architectural and historic character. The choices range from starter homes, (1960’s, 1970’s split levels, 1920’s bungalows and turn-of-the-century 1.5 story and two-story, and contemporary, and custom lakefront mansions. Mid-century modern ranches can still found at moderate price points. Many historic homes by noted architects are such as: Edward Dart, John S. Van Bergen, William Seyfarth, Keck and Keck, Ernest Grunsfeld III, and Frank Lloyd Wright are being preserved. Highland Park also created the first community land trust in Illinois to develop and preserve high-quality affordable housing for residents. A number of condominium developments offer maintenance-free living within walking distance of downtown and commuter train stations.

Highland Park is a wonderful community.

Let me take you on a tour of Highland Park to find your dream home! For over 33 years, we have been the Realtor of choice from Chicagoland to Dairyland!

Ciao Ciao!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Chicago North Shore Real Estate and Neighborhoods: A Glimpse of River North

Discover one of Chicago's Hottest Neighborhoods

Instead of taking the usual Ohio St. exit from the Kennedy, try Ogden to Chicago Ave. Head east and you will see one of the nicest skyline views in the city! As you get closer to the river you will be greeted by a bronze statue of a woman in flowing robes, carrying a torch in one hand, and a caduceus (ancient symbol for commerce)in the other. She stands atop one of my favorite condos in River North, “One River Place”. 

It isn’t enough that this condominium features soaring ceilings, thick concrete walls, gorgeous sunsets on balconies overlooking the river, 24 hr. doorman, on-site maintenance and engineers, dry cleaner, rooftop decks,and proximity to some of the best dining and art galleries in the city. It isn’t enough that the units are a great value for the area, with 1 bedrooms selling from $259,000 to $350,000, 2 bedrooms from $295,000 to $575,000, or 3 bedrooms from $670,000 - $705,000. The building is a lasting memorial to an icon of American entrepreneurship, and to one of Chicago’s most influential businessmen!

In 1872 Aaron Montgomery Ward , along with his partners, started the first mail order business in America with $1,600 and a one page catalog.  They were the Amazon Prime of their day! In 1908 he built the massive Prairie influenced Catalog Warehouse building along the north side of Chicago Avenue and the river. Ward also bought the land on the south side of Chicago Avenue, years before his death in 1913. The company broke ground on the site  (One River Place at 758 Larrabee) in 1927, and opened the Montgomery Ward Art Deco style Administration building on November 1, 1929.  A modern office high rise was added to the complex in 1972. The famous Minoru Yamaski, who designed the original World Trade Center, and North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, was the architect. 

And yet, being an innovative retailer was not Ward’s only legacy. He spent 20 years as a “Watch dog” for Chicago’s lakefront, fighting battles in court over and again to keep the downtown lakefront open for public use, rather than private development. Without his support as a preservationist, Grant Park may not have been!

Flash forward to the 1970’s and 1980’s, and dormant factories and warehouses in River  North were converted to art galleries and restaurants. By 1980, most of the Montgomery Wards Warehouse complex had been vacated. By the 1990’s, and into the new millenium, new construction, townhouse and residential loft conversions were underway to create the River North neighborhood we recognize and love!

Let me take you on a tour of River North to find your dream home! For over 33 years, we have been the Realtor of choice from Chicagoland to Dairyland!

Ciao Ciao! Eve