Illustration: Courtesy of Joseph Freed Homes

Wicker Park
From $389,900 to $419,900

Living Above the Store
A Wicker Park Development echoes the neighborhood’s past

The 1200 block of North Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park is changing fast. Much of it is the work of Joseph Freed Homes, which is redeveloping the major shopping center there, selling condos in a new row of four three-unit buildings, and making way for another dozen condos down the block.

“We love this neighborhood and want to do a lot more here,” says John Hoyt, the company’s development manager.

The condos for sale, called the Residences of Wicker Park, have the look of traditional Chicago buildings, with three floors of residential space above ground-floor retail. Every unit is a two-bedroom, two-bath space with a rear balcony. Second-floor units have a front balcony above the retail space. Nine of the condos are 1,250 square feet, but one building is slightly narrower than the others, making those condos 1,100 square feet. Finishes include diagonally laid Brazilian cherry floors, stainless-steel appliances, and stylish seamless glass shower doors. Prices start at $389,900 for a unit in the slimmer building, and go up to $419,900 for a wider top floor.

Photo: Niko Foster

West Garfield Park
From $120,000 to $274,500

Pioneer Zone
Garfield Park struggles to revive

Chicago architect Bernie Berry is converting a former single-room-occupancy building into 19 condos and crowning it Conservatory Manor. From the building to the historic conservatory is a four-minute walk through lovely Garfield Park. The surrounding neighborhood has some new construction, but still is pockmarked from years of decline.”The city has put a lot of effort into bringing back the park,” Berry says. “I think buyers are going to see a lot of improvement over the next three to five years. We’re a four-mile straight shot from the Loop.” Berry was also early to bet on River West, building single-family homes in that now-established neighborhood.Prices start at $120,000 for an 800-square-foot unit on the garden level. A 1,550-square-foot top-floor unit with a splendid view of the park sells for $274,500.

Courtesy Of The Habitat Company

East Kenwood
From $71,500 to $172,500

Own an Asterisk in Architectural History
South Side buildings designed and disowned by Mies van der Rohe hang a sales sign

Two of six buildings in a South Side complex designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-and from which he ultimately removed his name-are being converted to condos from apartments. A block from the lakefront at 50th Street, the Algonquin complex is a series of six 14-story minimalist concrete buildings. They were completed in 1952, but when developers altered the design to accommodate residential space on the first floor, Mies disowned the project. An affiliate of the Habitat Company that owns the Algonquin-a rental complex since its opening-began converting two of the six buildings to condominiums in September. By press time, 39 of the 138 units had been sold.

The prices are appealingly low, starting at $71,500 for a 406-square-foot studio. One-bedroom units, with 655 square feet, start at $112,000, and two-bedroom apartments of either 846 or 852 square feet run from $143,000 to $172,500 for a top-floor unit. “The developers were concerned about keeping the property affordable,” says sales manager Marsha Bynum, who notes that the firm offers Chicago Public Schools teachers $1,500 in closing costs and a free upgrade to stainless-steel kitchen appliances. So far, four teachers have bought in the buildings.