Courtyard rehab puts smaller units up front

Columbia GardensThink of a typical courtyard development in Rogers Park. Where are the one-bedroom units? Usually, they’re squeezed into the rear of the development, says Trevor Engelhardt, a broker with Baird & Warner, leaving the more spectacular views for the larger residences.

Not so with Columbia Gardens, a 36-unit courtyard rehab at 1615 W. Columbia Ave. in Rogers Park. Firebird Development Corp. made a conscious decision to place the 750-square-foot one-bedroom units on the front of the project overlooking the street.

“It sounds like a small thing, but it’s not,” says Engelhardt, who is marketing the available units.

Firebird has acquired and rehabbed every last building on this small stretch of street; Columbia Gardens represents the end of that five-year effort. Now, says Engelhardt, the micro-neighborhood is complete.

Columbia GardensAbout a dozen one-bedroom condos are available starting from the mid-$150s (for the garden units) up to the $180s. Engelhardt says some buyers have been using a city-sanctioned mortgage program to fund their first-time purchases here.

“Most of them are first-time buyers, and most of them have been using the Chicago city mortgage program, where the city offers you a 4-percent gift to buy your first home,” Engelhardt says. To qualify, single buyers or couples must have a salary below a certain threshold.

Columbia Gardens has appropriately vintage features, including Kohler kitchen and bath fixtures, granite countertops and the all-important exposed brick interiors.

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