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Happy holidays from YoChicago

3300 block Flournoy

Christmas is our hook for being mindful of all of the holidays that Chicagoans celebrate at this time of year. We wish you, before and after the fact, happy holidays. It’s a tradition for many people to venture out into different parts of Chicagoland to look at holiday decorations. We suggest a visit to the ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 24, 2013
ChicagoWest / Southwest

A hydroponic greenhouse for East Garfield Park

PLNTR rendering

Real estate developers never lack for imagination, or the restless energy and skills necessary to translate dreams into physical reality. LG Development’s Barry Howard has a dream: transform some forlorn parcels in East Garfield Park into a hydroponic greenhouse that will supply fresh produce throughout the year to a community where it’s in short supply, ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 12, 2013
ChicagoWest / Southwest

Yet another new way of living on Chicago Avenue

2424 Chicago

The 8-unit condo under construction at 2424 W Chicago Ave promises “a new way of living” and “luxury redefined.” A Google search on “a new way of living” served up 14 million results, while “luxury redefined” yielded merely 86,600. A quick look at the Finishes page at the development’s website indicates that the builder has ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 12, 2013
ChicagoWest / Southwest

McKinley Gardens II is back from the deadpool

McKinley Gardens II

When we last looked in on McKinley Gardens II on what we called a magical misery tour of near southwest developments, the project had been stalled for five years. You’ll get a close look at the location and the state of the project at that time in the above video. There’s been a recent spate ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 2, 2013
ChicagoSouth Side

Will the South and West sides take Chicago down?

West Humboldt Park

Five years ago we were writing about some of the larger projects that promised to inject new life into parts of Chicago’s South Side. In the interim, promise and reality have gone in different directions. Patrick Sharkey, in an interview with Richard Florida at The Atlantic Cities, suggests that the current state of large tracts ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 30, 2013
West / Southwest

Scenes from an East Garfield Park drive-by

706 S California Ave Chicago

Over the years I’ve traveled down nearly every block in the City of Chicago, and stopped on many of them to chat with residents, take pictures of homes and businesses, and shoot video of homes, local attractions and events. As I scan the daily “x dead, y wounded” headlines in the Tribune, I can usually ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 7, 2013
ChicagoWest / Southwest

Racial discrimination at Galewood Crossings?

Galewood Crossings

The Tribune recently wrote about a lawsuit brought by the CHA against board members of the master association at the Enclaves of Galewood Crossings in the Austin neighborhood. The CHA had contracted to purchase a number of townhomes in the community, and recently closed on the purchase. The lawsuit alleges that the adoption of limits ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 18, 2013
ChicagoWest / Southwest

Neighborhood Treasure, West Humboldt Park

West Humboldt Park

Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago is “a nonprofit neighborhood revitalization organization committed to helping homeowners and strengthening neighborhoods.” It concentrates its efforts on West Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, Back of the Yards, Chicago Lawn, West Englewood, Auburn Gresham and Roseland. NHS recently launched a series of videos at YouTube spotlighting its focus neighborhoods as “Neighborhood ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 19, 2013
ChicagoWest / Southwest

Is Austin Chicago’s ugly stepchild?

Austin Historic District

Austin has the largest population of Chicago’s 77 Community Areas, and suffered the largest population drop of the 77 between 2000 and 2010. The community is home to the leafy Austin Historic District, which you can visit in the above video, and to the historic devastation wrought during the riots that followed the death of ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 4, 2013
ChicagoWest / Southwest

Affordable loft apartments planned for South Lawndale

The Storkline, South Lawndale

Storkline Furniture was once one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of infant and child furniture, but its sprawling factory at the bleak western edge of the Little Village / South Lawndale neighborhood has been vacant for years. FitzGerald Associates Architects, on behalf of Mercy Housing Lakefront, has developed a plan to transform the 218,000 square ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on November 26, 2012
ChicagoWest / Southwest

Columbus Park, an idealized prairie in Austin

Columbus Park Chicago

The Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side is home to one of the city’s most beautiful parks. Columbus Park was conceived 100 years ago, and landscape architect Jens Jensen began its design on a 150-acre parcel in 1915. The park has had its ups and downs over the years, including the loss of acreage for ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on November 19, 2012
West / Southwest

A story of raw courage in West Garfield Park

David Muhammed video

If you haven’t seen it already, you should watch the inspiring story of David Muhammed, above, and the appalling videos that he’s posted to his YouTube channel. One of the apparent drug buys Muhammed captured on video was by a Chicago police officer in his personal vehicle: Muhammed lives at Van Buren and Kilbourn in ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 10, 2012
ChicagoWest / Southwest

An updated look at Vittum Park

Vittum Park Chicago

The Vittum Park neighborhood spans the area from Cicero Ave (4800 W) to Laramie Ave (5200 W), from Archer Ave north to 47th St. The neighborhood, a part of the Garfield Ridge community, takes its name from the park at its center. The park, in turn, is named after Harriet Vittum, who was the head ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 18, 2012
ChicagoWest / Southwest

Curiously-priced new construction in Garfield Ridge

5409 S Nashville Ave Chicago

The demographics of Chicago’s Garfield Ridge neighborhood have been changing rapidly. From 2000 to 2010 Garfield Ridge lost nearly 20% of its White population and nearly a third of its Black population, while the Hispanic population of the neighborhood more than doubled. Although the overall population of Garfield Ridge is approximately 8% Black, the population ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 11, 2012
ChicagoWest / Southwest

A one-of-a-kind contemporary home on Smith Park

2550 W Huron video

The 4,000 square foot, 4-5 bedroom, 3 ½ bath home at 2550 W Huron St faces south on Smith Park. The sprawling first floor is open from front to back, punctuated by an open, floating stainless steel staircase. The second-floor master suite is unlike anything you’ve seen. The large master bedroom has natural woods and ...

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Posted by sponsored post on April 11, 2012
ChicagoWest / Southwest

Prices go off the rails at Austin’s Galewood Crossings

Galewood Crossings Chicago

It’s been nearly six years since we first looked in at The Enclave at Galewood Crossings, the 15-acre residential portion of a 50-acre mixed-use development on a former railroad site in Austin. The site is nearly a mile east of the Galewood neighborhood. When we checked in for an update two years ago one of ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 5, 2012
ChicagoWest / Southwest

The outdoor art scene in Lawndale

Lawndale graffiti

Yesterday’s travels found me shooting video at a rental high-rise in the South Loop, viewing lofts in University Village, and checking out the outdoor art scene on the streets of Lawndale after a tour of 26th Street shops (video). My first stop in Lawndale was just east of Kedzie on 27th Street, a must-visit location ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 4, 2012
ChicagoWest / Southwest

A scene from the deadpool – Ogden Courts in Lawndale

Ogden Courts Chicago

It isn’t often that you’ll find a quote from the King James Version of the Bible on a real estate development sign. Almost every real estate agent in Chicago is smart enough to avoid risking a fair housing violation. Most of the few that aren’t would avoid giving a development the same name as a ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 3, 2012

Some questions about Humboldt Heights

Humboldt Heights sign

There’s a part of Bridgeport east of Halsted that some of the locals mockingly refer to as Bridgeport Heights in light of the area’s supersized homes. I’d never heard of “Humboldt Heights” before spying the above sign on the 3200 block of Potomac Ave, just off Humboldt Park. There are few references to Humboldt Heights ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 30, 2012
ChicagoWest / Southwest

High hopes and hapless homes in East Garfield Park

East Garfield Park video

Four years ago Yo was being told that sales had been “incredible” and prices were “fantastic” at Heritage Homes of West Village on the “new revitalized West Side.” New West Realty, auteur of the washout on Wabash and other failed developments, was acquiring additional land in anticipation of continued demand. We were hearing similar tales ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 27, 2012