Lincoln Square: Must Have Babies

Image courtesy of flickr user darrowwest

Image courtesy of flickr user darrowwest

If you have spent any time in the Lincoln Square neighborhood over the past few years you might have noticed the overwhelming number of baby strollers and young families the area has attracted. Farmer’s Markets, German Festivals and quiet streets make Lincoln Square a great place to raise a family.

Giddings Plaza, the area just south of Lawrence Avenue where Lincoln Avenue angles one-way to the south, contains unique shops and eateries such as Gene’s Sausage Shop, Chicago Brauhaus, Merz Apathocary and Huettenbar.

Photo courtesy of flickr user John Kannenberg

Photo courtesy of flickr user John Kannenberg

Lincoln Square hangs on to its identity as a place where German immagrants settled in the late 1800s through much of its architecture, public art and businesses. Many of the businesses are family-owned and offer a local, non-chain option that help to create a strong sense of community.

Image courtesy of flickr user RTC1

Image courtesy of flickr user RTC1

The enormous Welles Park offers space for sports, concerts and festivals in the summertime while the Sulzer Library offers somewhere to hunker down on cold winter days to read or borrow media.

The Old Town School of Folk Music just finished a new building in the neighborhood last year and offers classes to aspiring musicians young and old in a laid-back setting.

With a variety of single-family homes with yards and garages on alleys, the neighborhood is well suited for raising children. The area is also far enough away from the city that you can easily find a peaceful spot to relax.

So what does it cost to own in Lincoln Square? Well, a single-family detached home – the ones with the yard in the back and a garage on the alley – have held steady at an average sale price of right around $900,000 for the last twelve months. Condo sales in this neighborhood for the same period have had an average sale price of right around $339,000.

The Rockwell Brown Line stop is one of the few ground-level stops in the city.  source

The Rockwell Brown Line stop is one of the few ground-level stops in the city.

Since the neighborhood is near the end of the Brown Line, Lincoln Square commuters can get on at Western or Rockwell Avenue and usually get a seat for a relaxing ride into the Loop. The commute that you would experience from this neighborhood gives the same feeling that living in the neighborhood does – relaxed, quiet and peaceful – one of the best in the city.

Looking for a place in Lake View? Don’t bring your car.

diversey flickr user paul morganIs Chicago’s Lake View neighborhood poised to be the quintessential urban walkable community? With services like iGo, Zipcar, Lyft and other car-share startups, young people are finding it hard to justify owning a car in the city. Who can blame them when parking tickets range from $50 to $180 on top of city registration fees and zoned parking passes, not to mention the ever-lurking meter maid.

Lake View is Chicago’s second largest community area, but the most dense, with roughly 95,000 people living in about three square miles.

Neighborhoods like Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine, or OTR as the locals call it, are experimenting with less parking and its effects on community building. This article tells the story.

Cincinnati’s mayor is passing an ordinance which impacts parking, zoning, and in a much larger sense, density. The word is out that density and the resulting face-to-face interaction is real, and needed, and helps spark ideas and form collaborations. Many believe that in the future, where you live is going to be more important than it ever has before. Density and walkability are two of the largest factors impacting our consumption of natural resources and ecological footprint. These are things that younger generations care about. Chicago’s Lake View community has  one of the highest populations of 18-34 year olds in the country.

How old are the properties in Lake View? That depends on where you go. You can find whole streets of 1890s Italianates, greystones and various other walk-ups. Almost 20,000 houses in Lake View were built before 1939. For comparison, the area has seen more than 5,000 homes built in a decade only once in the last 70 years. It is safe to say that most of Lake View’s building stock is of the older variety – back when they used to build the character in.

Lake View is the neighborhood of choice for Chicago’s college students so there are a lot of small two and three bedroom multi-unit buildings along main streets that they occupy. To balance that out there are a fair number of single family homes on interior streets and town houses within a few blocks of the lake. Over the last year the number of single-family homes listed has dropped by 23%. Average sale price for single family homes has come up almost 5% over the past year. Condo units, of which there are many in highrises along the lakefront, have seen a 10% increase in new listing over the past year with an increase of 40% in closings in the past year. Average and median sale prices for condos have been nearly unchanged in the last year. Those who wish to keep their car and live in Lake View do best living along the lake with Lake Shore Drive providing easy access to downtown.

belmont stop

The neighborhood is well connected to the ‘L’ with a brown line stop at Diversey, a red/brown line stop at Belmont and a red line stop at Addison. The Clark bus and the Ashland bus run north-south through the middle of Lake View and make it even easier to navigate the city without a car. Bordered by the Uptown neighborhood to the north, Lincoln Square to the northwest, North Center to the west and Lincoln Park to the south, the nightlife options are nearly endless.

And we can’t be a preservation blog in Chicago talking about the Lake View neighborhood without mentioning one of the biggest projects happening in the whole city.

wrigley flicr user dgphilliWrigley Field is due for a facelift! As the Restore Wrigley website details, the owners agreed to do a sensitive restoration of the ballpark. The main objectives are to clean up the locker rooms, improve food preparation spaces and provide more restrooms. It will be interesting to watch the project unfold and to see the second oldest ballpark in the country get some new life breathed into it.