If you happen to own one of the 1,770 FAA-registered private aircraft in Cook County, here’s your chance to make it your housemate. This 3,295-square-foot colonial in Downers Grove, a 45-minute drive from the Loop, comes with a heated hangar roughly half the size of the house. It overlooks a runway shared by 83 neighbors in the Brookeridge Airpark, the closest private airport to Chicago. There’s also a two-bedroom apartment above the hangar for in-laws or renters who don’t mind cohabitating with a plane. (Not all Brookeridge residents own private aircraft. One filled his hangar with a collection of calliopes.)
Of course, living on an airport isn’t for everybody. For one thing, you share your backyard with low-flying pistons. “There’s a little bit of noise pollution, but we have an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. departure curfew, so it’s actually very quiet,” says Glenn Olsen, a pilot who has lived in Brookeridge for 12 years. And, luckily, mishaps are relatively rare. The National Transportation Safety Board has reported four accidents there in the past three decades, all nonfatal. (Most recently, in 2010, a plane ran off the runway into a ditch. The pilot escaped unharmed; his Cessna 182 didn’t.)
Brookeridge isn’t the only residential airpark in the metro area. There’s also Naper Aero Club in Naperville. Still, a house where you can park your plane is rare. “I’ve been [in real estate] for 10 years, and I’ve never seen a hangar,” says Jena Radnay, a broker with @Properties who’s familiar with the area, “but it could make a great story if you figure out what to do with it.” Perhaps a groovy roller-skating rink?