Uptown and Edgewater contain perhaps the most varied housing stock in Chicago. Travel from the dense ’60s high-rises that line Sheridan Road to the frame single-families and wide lawns of Edgewater Glen to the new flats wedged between shabby four-plus-ones on Winthrop and Kenmore to the mansions of Hutchinson Street, and you might feel as if you’ve been to a dozen neighborhoods.
In a sense, you have.
The character of the two lakefront neighborhoods’ residential pockets changes dramatically, often in the space of a block. The only constant in recent decades has been affordable pricing, at least compared to other stretches of lakefront farther south. Uptown and Edgewater still compare well with the likes of Lake View and Lincoln Park when it comes to new housing and condo conversions, but prices have been climbing.
Not long ago, no one would have attempted to sell a new $700,000 townhouse or $500,000 condo in these neighborhoods, but encouraged by the city’s booming real estate market and enormous price hikes in other lakefront communities, builders have been drawing buyers to product at these price points in Uptown and Edgewater.
Little land is available for new construction, however, so condo conversions – most of them affordable – still dominate the landscape. The 19 residences at Winthrop Terrace Condominiums, the conversion of a brick courtyard building at 4936 N. Winthrop Ave. in Uptown, are typical of this market. The solid, vintage building has units with one to three bedrooms (some with dens), priced from the $180s to the $290s. The condos have gas forced-air heating, central air conditioning and new wood decks. Potala Real Estate’s conversion Grand on Granville, 1306 W. Granville Ave., includes 19 units with two to four bedrooms and a dozen available floor plans, priced from the $230s to the $420s. The homes are decked out with rosewood floors, solid-core doors, wood trim, cherry cabinets, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and marble and granite bathrooms.
Much of the area was once fashionable – Charlie Chaplin didn’t sleep just anywhere – and classy old buildings with rambling apartments offer the sort of space many buyers simply can’t afford elsewhere along the lake. Original trim, built-ins and bays are common, as are formal dining rooms and rear decks.
Other Uptown and Edgewater buildings, though, were designed with efficient apartments and small, or no, bedrooms. As these structures convert to condos, they offer a foot in the door for first-time and price-sensitive buyers. The 32 units at Magnolia Court, 5653 N. Magnolia Ave. in Edgewater, for example, are priced from the $70s (no, that’s not a typo) to the $200s, and have 300 (also not a typo) to 700 square feet.
At the other end of the spectrum, builders and buyers also have shown some confidence in higher price points for new construction in these neighborhoods. Metropolitan Development Enterprises demolished an old roller rink on a two-acre parcel on the 4800 block of North Clark Street to make way for Rainbo Village, a 127-unit development of new condos (including simplexes, duplexes and 88 loft-style condos) and townhouses, priced from the $250s to the $750s. The Uptown project was more than half sold in mid-March.
Rainbo’s location, just south of booming Andersonville and on the edge of settled Ravenswood, has been key to selling new Uptown homes in this price range. Farther north, prices are more affordable at The Granville, an 11-story new-construction building by Access Group Chicago at Broadway Street and Granville Avenue in Edgewater. The mixed-use development includes ground-floor retail, two levels of parking and eight floors of 160 condominiums priced from the $250s to the $420s.
Catalpa Gardens is another major Edgewater development – also 11 stories – south of The Granville. The project sits east of Broadway and north of Catalpa, just south of the shops and restaurants of the restored Bryn Mawr Historic District. Its distinctive design essentially makes this three buildings in one, breaking up the scale of the long structure. The playful gazebo-like shelters that top the roof gardens already are drawing attention from passersby. At press time, remaining one-bedrooms were priced from the $190s and two-bedrooms from the $280s. Features include stainless steel appliances, granite counters, maple cabinets, fireplaces and ceiling heights of 10 to 12 feet.
The Bluewater Companies’ 14-story 5440 Sheridan development in Edgewater Beach is taller than the Catalpa and Granville projects. It has around 160 condos, ranging from studios to three-bedrooms, with 542 to 2,200 square feet and prices from the $180s to the $450s. Next door, Bluewater is selling 5430 Sheridan, a new building with remaining two- and three-bedroom condos priced from the $390s. Units have Italian cabinetry, granite counters, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, terraces and ceiling heights of 10 to 11 feet. The builder is offering immediate occupancy at this project.