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Neighborhoods To Watch

by Chicago Agent

With over 200 neighborhoods in Chicago, and more continuing to pop up, it’s difficult to keep up to date with what’s out there. Add in the tons of suburbs in the area, each with their own unique flare, and the task just gets tougher. To help keep you informed of what’s going on around town, every year we publish our Neighborhoods to Watch issue to highlight a few of the hot Chicagoland neighborhoods. In this issue, we spoke with six experts from six different neighborhoods to tell you in their own words why their location is one to watch in 2010.

BEVERLY

Kathleen Morgan
Real Estate Agent
PRS Associates, Inc.
Year in Real Estate: 22
Years in Beverly: 54
Population: Beverly 22,000, with Morgan Park 39,000
*Median home price: $219,000
Location: Bordered by 87th and 111th Streets on the north and south, Ashland and Western on the east and west

What do you like about working in Beverly?
Beverly is rich in history, culture and diversity, but mostly phenomenal in family values and community. Working in Beverly is never the same. There is so much variety both in the people we work with and the real estate properties. Many buyers have been raised here, move away and then come back. What better reason is there for loving working in Beverly than seeing buyers with roots here come back to raise their families?

What makes Beverly unique?
The unmistakable character of this historic south side neighborhood is what makes Beverly so unique, that along with the great diversity of residents. On any block you will find educators, police officers, lawyers, traders, reporters, firefighters, doctors, electricians, plumbers, etc.

Beverly homes are all distinctive. You may find a brick bungalow next to a large Victorian. Oversized lots are also common. Take a walk “in our village in the city” and you will meet great people and every block will bring a different perspective.

What is your favorite attraction in Beverly?
It is hard to say which attraction is my favorite. Beverly offers many community events. I guess my favorite would be the 5K Ridge Run followed by the Memorial Day Parade followed by a hot dog cook out with many neighbors and former neighbors that come back to celebrate this great day and community. So many people come back!

On a hot day nothing is better than treating yourself to an original Rainbow Cone on Western Avenue, where you’re bound to run into at least a dozen of your old friends from the neighborhood.

What makes Beverly a neighborhood to watch?
The historically significant Beverly community attracts many buyers for a number of reasons. Beverly has quick access by public transportation or car to all the Chicago financial markets, shopping, airports and city attractions, yet retains itself as a peaceful, safe and quiet family-oriented community. Beverly is one of the top five largest historic districts in any major city in the U.S. and on the National Register of Historic Places. The community boasts many different and unique architecturally significant homes. Known for its spacious homes, tree-lined streets and racially integrated populations, Beverly has retained its reputation as one of Chicago’s most stable middle-class residential districts.

Beverly offers many community and family events. The Home Tour, Ridge Run, Snowflake Ball, Memorial Day Parade, Music Under the Stars, Beverly Hills Cycling Classic and Movie in the Park are just a few of our community events.

Homeowners can find many kinds of support systems in Beverly that can help them raise families. The public schools in our cluster (elementary and high school) are excellent. They are International Baccalaureate Schools, where neighborhood children are exposed to a rich and rigorous curriculum that includes learning a foreign language and investigating the cultures of other countries, preparing our children to be citizens of the world. There are well-respected and excellent private schools in our community as well.

Last, but certainly not least, Beverly has so much value for the money. Survey responses from the Beverly Area Planning Association include: “great buy,” “value for the size of home,” “potential for increase in property values” and “potential for positive return on investment.”

Kathy Morgan can be reached at 773.233.4700, or by e-mail at kmmorgan@sbcglobal.net.

DES PLAINES

Paula Calzolari
Broker Associate
Prudential Starck, Realtors
Years in Real Estate: 10
Years in Des Plaines: 10
Population: 58,710
Median home price: $203,000
Location: Cook County, 17 miles northwest of downtown Chicago

Why do you like working in Des Plaines?
Des Plaines is easily accessible to major highways, shopping, O’Hare Airport and a huge selection of different ethnic restaurants.

What makes Des Plaines unique?
Des Plaines is extremely commuter friendly with accessibility to Chicago via the Kennedy, Tri-State Tollway or public transportation with a Metra Train or Pace Bus. Besides being very urban with commuter accessibility and an adorable downtown area, Des Plaines is quaint with many tree-lined streets, parks and lakes.

What is your favorite attraction in Des Plaines?
My favorite attraction in Des Plaines is Lake Park, especially Lake Opeka. Lake Opeka offers a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities for all age groups, including sailboating, paddle boating and fishing. Lake Park includes an 18-hole par 3 golf course, band shell, picnic area, children’s playground, sand volleyball courts, exercise and jogging course and a clubhouse with a convenient snack bar.

What makes Des Plaines a neighborhood to watch?
Des Plaines is a fantastic neighborhood for clients to purchase a home in 2010. Housing in this Northwest suburb has never been more affordable. Homebuyers have many housing options available, including estate homes, waterfront homes, cottage-like homes, townhomes and condominiums. The community offers many entertainment possibilities, including a convenient downtown area with shopping and dining.

In addition, the arts are supported with the Northwest Symphony Orchestra, the Des Plaines Arts Council and many other events, including the Taste of Des Plaines and the Farmers Market. Des Plaines has an incredible library and Park District presenting a variety of classes, workshops, water park, sports and recreational activities. Des Plaines also has approximately 700 acres of maintained parks and open spaces offering recreational activities like hiking, cycling, cross country skiing and horseback riding.

Paula Calzolari can be reached at 847.342.3613, or by e-mail at pcalzolari@starckrealtors.com.

ELGIN

Ron Ewing
Broker/Owner
RE/MAX Horizon
Years in Real Estate: 8
Years in Elgin: All my life (51)
Population: 106,628
Median Home Price: $151,100
Location: Kane County, 40 miles northwest of Chicago on the Fox River

Why do you like working in Elgin?
Elgin has such a diverse population. Also, the neighborhoods are vastly different in architecture and design.

What makes Elgin unique?
Elgin’s historic homes are what make it unique. I have participated in the historic home walk for many years and it is always amazing to see these turn-of-the-century homes restored to their original glory with natural woodwork and stained glass windows.

What is your favorite attraction in Elgin?
What I like most is the downtown area. They have transformed downtown Elgin many times over the last four decades. Now it has Festival Park and the townhome/condo living right across the street. Downtown is becoming more vibrant than it has in many years. They are still working on many of the roads and streets downtown, but once finished it will be amazing. More and more people are using the downtown area again.

Why is Elgin a neighborhood to watch?
Elgin has a wide variety of homes to offer many different people. If you love historic homes, we have neighborhoods with historic significance and diverse architecture. If you want new construction, many new developments were built in the early 2000s. If you want downtown living, we have a wonderful new community near the river boat and right across from Festival Park where everything is in walking distance — trains, shopping and night life.

Selling homes in Elgin is always a pleasure because I have such a wide range of choices for my clients. Certainly you can find homes in Elgin that sell for close to a million, but it is just as easy to find a home that is more affordable for the new family that is just starting out and needs to enter into the world of homeownership. We are close to what many people still consider “the country” and close enough to town to have all the amenities that everyone wants.

Many people like being close enough to downtown Chicago but far enough away to have the hometown feel that Elgin has to offer. Elgin’s new recreation center and new library have again brought the downtown area to life. The restaurants are doing well and the downtown area is full with people both during the day and at night.

Ron Ewing can be reached at 630.215.6600, or by e-mail at ron@foxvalleyhomesales.com.

LINCOLN SQUARE

Maggie Finegan
Real Estate Consultant
Keller Williams Realty
Years in Real Estate: 8
Years in Lincoln Square: 6
Population: 4,798
Median home price: $349,900
Location: 5200 N. Foster on the north, 4400 N. Montrose on the south, 2000 W. Damen on the east and 3000 W. Chicago River

Why do you like working in Lincoln Square?
Lincoln Square has small-town friendliness, but offers big city shopping, dining, entertainment and transportation.

What makes Lincoln Square unique?
The neighborhood is a walk-able, green-friendly community anchored by Lincoln Avenue and surrounded by three lovely, large parks: Wells Park on the south, Winnemac Park on the east and River Park on the west. Auto traffic is restricted on the Square. In the summer you can enjoy concerts and movies in the parks, swim at River Park, play ball, jog or walk your dog. Take in the wildflower gardens and nature preserves at Winnemac Park, or visit the Folk and Roots Festival in July at Wells Park.

There are many fun places to shop, dine and discover. At the north end of Lincoln Avenue, you can take cooking classes at Chopping Block, eat at Gene’s Sausage Shop and enjoy European pastries and al fresco dining at Café Selmarie. Stop in at Book Cellar to meet an author for a book signing, then pamper yourself at Merz Apothecary or Renessence Salon. Keep walking and you see women and children’s boutiques, the Old Town School of Folk Music and you can’t miss Wells Park.

What is your favorite attraction in Lincoln Square?
Wells Park – it has a gazebo that reminds me of Paris, a large indoor pool, ball fields and it is home to the Folk and Roots Festival in July. My next fave is Renessence Salon on Lincoln, where you can enjoy everything from a facial to a pedicure to a massage or a new ‘do in a serene, yet friendly, atmosphere.

Why is Lincoln Square a neighborhood to watch?
Speaking as a girl who grew up in the suburbs but loves the city, Lincoln Square offers the best of both. The more time you spend there, the more you discover. Take a walking tour of local gardens, then look around and see architecture from turn-of-the-century homes to contemporary condos. There are many choices in housing, no matter what your circumstance, from small apartment buildings to large homes to condominiums.

If you bike in the parks or go to a summer concert, you will begin to understand why values have held up pretty well. Once you live in Lincoln Square, you won’t feel the need to flee to the ‘burbs for shopping, green space or family activities.

Lincoln Square is well served by transit. On the east side there is a Metra Rail stop (at Lawrence and Ravenswood), and express busses to downtown. The brown line also has four stops in Lincoln Square (Damen, Western, Rockwell and Sacramento).

Maggie Finegan can be reached at 773.502.1673, or by e-mail at mfinegan@kw.com.

NORTHBROOK

Patricia Atsaves
Realtor
North Shore Realty Group
Years in Real Estate: 18
Years in Northbrook: 10
Population: 33,425
Median home price: $550,000
Location: The northern edge of Cook County, 25 miles north of Chicago

Why do you like working in Northbrook?
It is a very friendly neighborhood.

What makes Northbrook unique?
Downtown Northbrook is lovely, with its unique grocery stores, restaurants and shops.

What is your favorite attraction in Northbrook?
Definitely downtown

Why is Northbrook a neighborhood to watch?
Northbrook may seem like just another North Shore town, but all it has to offer sets it apart. From award-winning schools to a plethora of Park District activities, the opportunities are endless!

This family-oriented neighborhood is ideal not only for young families, but also for senior citizens. Both groups can enjoy all the activities the Park District has to offer, which target all age groups. The beautiful suburban homes have wooded green lawns and a median sale price of $550,000.

Possibly the most unique part of Northbrook is its downtown area. It has something for everyone, from parks for kids, to shops and restaurants for the entire family. The beautiful Village Green in the center of this downtown area is a lovely gathering place for all of Northbrook’s 33,425 inhabitants.

Personally, one of my favorite parts of Northbrook is the grocery store, Sunset Foods. Sunset Foods is absolutely terrific. Having one of the best and most unique delis on the North Shore, they are famous for their amazing strawberry salad, They also offer terrific options for party platters and other unique items.

There is always something to see and something to do in Northbrook, no matter your age. From excellent schools to a warm family environment, Northbrook is the place to be, and the place to buy.

Pat Atsaves can be reached at 847.404.7749, or by e-mail at yiota.atsaves@gmail.com.

TINLEY PARK

Kevin Glovack
Realtor
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Years in Real Estate: 8
Years in Tinley Park: 36 years, born and raised
Population: 59,102
Median home price: $190,000
Location: The intersection of Interstate 80 and Harlem Avenue, about 27 miles south of Chicago

Why do you like working in Tinley Park?
I enjoy working in Tinley Park because it’s a family-oriented community with a mixture of both white- and blue-collar workers.

What makes Tinley Park unique?
Tinley Park is unique because it was named “America’s Best Place to Raise Your Kids” by BusinessWeek Magazine.

What is your favorite attraction in Northbrook?
My favorite Tinley Park attraction is the recreational facility and water park that features a large wave pool with waterslides. The recreational facility also has basketball courts, a fitness room and party rooms for all occasions.

What makes Tinley Park a neighborhood to watch?
Tinley Park is a great neighborhood for clients to buy in 2010 because in addition to being named “America’s Best Place to Raise Your Kids,” it is conveniently located at the intersection of Interstate 80 and Harlem Ave. Just a 35-minute drive or short train ride to downtown Chicago. Tinley Park features a large selection of high-profile hotels, a popular convention center, major shopping areas and award-winning restaurants and schools.

With a strong local economy, a diverse mix of retail, office, industry and entertainment businesses, both residents and companies alike have chosen to call Tinley Park their home.

Kevin Glovack can be reached at 708.305.7300, or by e-mail at kevin.glovack@cbexchange.com.
*Median home price either supplied by the Realtor, or listed by Zillow.com

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