Why Young Families Should Live in the West Loop

Formerly dominated by old warehouses, the West Loop is suddenly the hottest real-estate market in the city. Here’s why.

Photo: Travis Roozée

In the first decade of its transformation from skid row to Zone of Hipness, the West Loop appealed mostly to single people and young couples. But now it’s quickly becoming a family realm, too.

At least two developers have in the works residential projects with large three-bedroom offerings designed for families. “For years, almost [all building proposals] that were brought to us were smaller units,” says Martha Goldstein, the executive director of the West Loop Community Organization, which sees building plans prior to construction. “But in the past year we’re seeing [proposals for] bigger units. The developers tell us there’s a tremendous demand for family housing.”

Alan Lev, the president of the homebuilding company Belgravia Group, explained the upsizing in his firm’s latest developments this way: “You drive through the West Loop now, and you see umpteen strollers. [The families were already] there ahead of us.”
 

West Loop map

The West Loop’s new developments CA3 [1], CA23 [2], and CA Condos on Adams [3] are close to Mary Bartelme Park [4, pictured]
 

Two of Belgravia’s developments—CA3 and CA23 (the CA stands for Carpenter and Aberdeen)—have sold out over the last two years. The group’s newest project, a 50-unit building at 1116–1132 West Adams Street called CA Condos on Adams, already has 30 condos presold (construction starts this month). Prices range from $625,000 to $849,900, and units average 2,100 square feet.

Another developer, White Oak Realty, is planning a 350-unit building, dubbed Arkadia Tower, at 765 West Adams Street.

It’s not just the condos that draw families to the neighborhood. The two big anchors for families are the rebuilt elementary school Skinner West and Mary Bartelme Park, both opened in 2009. Retailers and casual eateries have filled in many gaps (high-end restaurants were already a staple along Randolph Street); the sizzle of luxury grocer Mariano’s and the year-old Morgan Street CTA station play a part, too.

And it’s not done growing. Google will move to its new headquarters in Fulton Market starting in 2015, and developers are planning four hotels in the area, including the first Soho House in the Midwest. That means the West Loop Boom is far from over.
 

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