Why buy on a commercial street? Price, convenience, urban excitement…

We recently asked why so many buyers have been willing to buy condos on busy commercial streets such as Halsted, Belmont and Ashland, and received a flurry of responses – some of them actually having to do with the question (many of the ones that didn’t were interesting too, but the arguments became very philosophical very quickly).

Sales agent Eric Rojas says that as Chicago became more desirable and the market heated up, builders were able to deliver units on busy thoroughfares in solid neighborhoods for lower prices, catering to buyers who couldn’t quite swing condos on the side streets. In Lake View, for instance, he says that a builder could offer condos on Ashland for perhaps $50,000 to $75,000 less than they were selling for around the corner, on a leafy side street.

So, will building on these busy streets slow to a trickle now that the market has cooled?

Michelle says street noise ain’t so bad and that buyers’ cost-benefit analysis has led them to conclude that cheaper units and more convenience make the tradeoff worth it. People pay big bucks to live on the noisy streets in Rome, New York and Hong Kong, she says, so the fact that they increasingly are doing the same here is a good sign for Chicago.

Lee actually lives in a condo building on Belmont and had this to say:

I chose the location primarily because of its proximity to the Belmont Red / Brown Line station. But I’m also a strong believer in public space and like seeing people walking around on my street outside my window. I love my view of the street, businesses, train stop, and a slice of the Lakeview skyline. I’m also an advocate of mixed-use buildings — they’re what differentiate us from the suburbs and allow us to be dense and walkable…

I live above my corner store, so the distance from my couch to the corner store is about the same as the distance from the average suburbanite’s couch to their pantry. I don’t keep cookies or chips in my pantry — if I want them I drop downstairs and buy them. people might think there’s not much difference between living on the street and living 3 blocks away, but it does make a difference in your everyday habits.

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