West Side story

Jackson Square at West End

East Lake rebuilds a neighborhood with Jackson Square at West End

East Lake Management & Development Corp. is playing a key role in the transformation of the Near West Side with its latest project, Jackson Square at West End, a four-phase, 780-unit community of new homes on a site bounded by Madison, Van Buren and Rockwell streets and Western Avenue.

It’s unusual for a single residential development to have a major impact on its neighborhood, but given the scale of Jackson Square at West End, this development essentially is its own neighborhood.

The community, which includes condominiums, townhouses and single-family homes, is part of the city’s plan to revitalize and transform the West Side. The development seamlessly integrates rental and for-sale housing in a mixed-income approach.

Jackson Square sits on the former site of the Chicago Housing Authority’s Rockwell Gardens development, and East Lake’s goal is to reintegrate the parcel into a traditional residential neighborhood.

The units are a mix of market-rate homes, affordable homes and CHA replacement homes. Eileen Rhodes, a vice president at East Lake, emphasizes that there is no distinction in the quality, location or type of unit, whether it’s for sale or for rent, except that the single-family homes are all for-sale.

“The whole idea behind Jackson Square is to scale down the property, creating a pedestrian-friendly environment with lots of green spaces and new smaller, well-lit street grids,” says Rhodes, who points out that all of the buildings are three or fewer stories with mansard roofs, traditional brick and limestone facades, yards with wrought iron fencing and other typical Chicago touches.

Phase I includes 57 “for-sale” residences, consisting of one, two and three bedroom simplexes and duplexes with one to 2.5 baths in buildings with two, three or eight units. Phase I also includes 10 single-family homes containing three bedrooms and 2.5 baths.

Development has been moving west from the Loop for more than a decade. The time is right for new construction in this location, according to sales director Phil McCall of AMS Realty, exclusive sales agent for the property.

“The Near West Side is a hot area,” McCall says. “The location is perfect for a large segment of the market. It’s right off the Eisenhower, five minutes from the loop, and close to the medical center, the University of Illinois at Chicago campus and Malcolm X [College].”

So far, a diverse group of buyers has purchased at the project, according to McCall.

“We have city and suburban empty nesters, young professionals, and just plain smart people who see the upside of their investment,” McCall says. “Our price points are as much as 20 percent lower than you’ll find in some other areas for equivalent property, and people are quick to recognize that.”

Prices range from the low $200s for one-bedrooms to the high $400s for the single-family homes. Secured indoor parking is priced at $20,000 for the condos but is included in the price of the single-family homes. The residences range from 875 square feet to slightly more than 2,400 square feet.

The prices are lower than at Jackson Square, but the level of finishes is not. They include hardwood floors in living areas, carpeted bedrooms, designer lighting, multimedia pre-wiring, washer and dryer hookups, 42-inch maple kitchen cabinets, stainless steel appliances and ceramic bathroom tile.

Construction is underway, with delivery slated for late 2006 or early 2007. Future phases will contain a similar unit mix, and each is scheduled for completion about one year after completion of the preceding phase.

At press time, around 75 percent of the Phase I units had been sold, according McCall.

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