A rash of comments on our post about the new condos under construction at 2200 W Madison got us thinking about the Near West Side neighborhood, especially the stretch of Madison Street between Damen and Western Avenues. After a stroll in the area, I’d say that strip is nowhere near as barren and hopeless as commenter “Odujoko” suggests. Sure, there are several vacant lots (three, by my count), but to my eye the block is dominated by new construction. New developments at 2200 West Madison Estates, West Village Homes, One South Leavitt and Two South Leavitt line the street.
Steve Barton, a sales associate with New West Realty who’s selling West Village Homes, says there’s healthy competition between these projects. Even though he’s lost a few buyers as a result, he says he’s glad overall of the influx of new construction because it reassures buyers that the area is on the rise economically.
It’s worth noting also that the surrounding blocks look neat and tidy and stocked with condo projects – although the corner of Madison and Western appears to be in mid-flip. The spanking new Walgreens on the northeast corner and the lot on the southeast corner that will soon be home to a shopping center cut a striking contrast to a ragged looking sandwich shop and a boarded up building. But overall gentrification is in the air, perhaps a sign that the redevelopment of the area that began 10 years ago when the the Chicago Housing Authority tore down its high rises and replaced them with the low-rise West Village Haven development has made a lasting imprint.