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Buena Park

The unsung Lakeside gem

This 19th-century house on Hutchinson Street is one of many historic homes.  Photo: yochicago.com

Buena (pronounced, old-timers insist, byoo-EN-ah) Park is not quite Uptown and not quite Lake View, and that’s exactly what residents like about it. “It’s quieter than Lake View or Lincoln Park or Andersonville, but I can get to those places very quickly,” says real estate agent Mark Zipperer, 51, who has lived in the area since 1998.

While house prices near the lake routinely top $1 million, there are many affordable lakeshore high-rises and vintage low-rise condos. And though Buena Park is only half a mile long and half a mile wide, more than six bus lines run through. Last year, developer Waterton acquired Pensacola Place near Montrose and Broadway, a 1981 time capsule that houses the neighborhood’s main grocery store and numerous condos, with plans to add more units and perk up the façade. Meanwhile, the depressing old Maryville Academy building at Montrose and Clarendon will be turned into apartments and retail space and should be completed by 2018. The community group Buena Park Neighbors is also super active—in short, this nabe has residents who care.

The downsides: no fine dining or shopping. And it is technically part of Uptown, which still has a gang problem even though its overall violent crime rate (18.3 per 1,000 residents last year, according to the website CrimeAround.us, which uses city data) is below the city average.

  • Typical sale price (house) $1,000,000
  • Typical sale price (condo) $238,000
  • Train stations One el stop
  • Grocery stores One
  • School quality Top third
Note School quality data are for elementary schools. Sources @Properties, Chicago Public Schools


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