After checking out some fish at the Shedd, we were ready for some real downtown fun.
It was hot Sunday, so we walked north down Michigan Avenue to Millennium Park to cool off.
What a scene.
With guests in town last weekend from Japan it was time to hit Chicago's lakefront and the Museum Campus. Besides the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum themselves, the grounds are fun to walk and bike. The public art displays are a favorite attraction of mine.
Looking out over the Museum Campus back northwest to the Chicago skyline.
Legs on parade
Globes for going green.
We hopped on the CTA Brown Line at Montrose, exchanged to the Red Line at Belmont and got off at Roosevelt. It's an easy walk from the Roosevelt Red Line stop to the lakefront, or, you can take the free trolly.
We saw this structure going up on West Berwyn just east of North Ravenswood Avenue. I think it will be front and back duplex units.... or it could be four siplex units. There is a structure in the rear lot too. It may be a small townhome development as well. I got a pretty good look, but I'm not sure what these will be.
This area between West Foster and Peterson and west of North Ashland Avenue has little new construction. There are some newer 3 and 6 flat buildings spotted here and there and single family homes along Ravenswood... but not alot compared to many other north side neighborhoods. This structure stands out more than most amongst its neighbors.
There are definately some single family homes around here that need to go. Many are odd frame and siding houses. But you'd expect a colonial or American Four Square to replace it among all the original homes and two-flats.
My buddy Ric over at www.ChicagoCondosOnline.blogspot.com pointed out I was mentioned in Inman News, the premeir real estate news source.
It seems biking on the job as a Realtor is big news...
"Realtor bikes while he works"-A Realtor shares his tales of trading in a car for a bike at The Chicago Real Estate Local blog site. The Realtor, Eric Rojas, notes that he took his clients out on a biking trip to view for-sale properties. "When looking at properties that are relatively close together, riding makes a lot of sense," he writes.-
Thanks for the plug!
Unceremoniously, this Starbucks at Lincoln Avenue and Altgeld in Lincoln Park closed over a month ago… before the big closing news broke nationally. Of course, in Chicago most of us yawned at the closings… we can stand anywhere on the North Side and throw a rock and hit a Starbucks. That is of course after the rock bounces off a Realtor's head first.
I’ve visited this location often for coffee over the past several years…with clients, after dropping my wife off at work or when just passing by. In fact, I’ve shown condos in the building in which it was housed. Nice one and two bedroom units in a great spot. The last updated one bedroom unit sold for $342,000 with garage parking in March. Try to get the Altgeld side... unless you like to look over the bar and Trixie action along Lincoln Avenue.
On this day, while waiting for a tow truck to pick up my “broke down” Mazda 6 for warranty work, I could have used this Starbucks. I brought a book just in case.
He greeted us at Architectural Artifacts at 4325 N Ravenswood.
Check out the warehouse as you walk in. The facility, with it's many indoor and outdoor areas, may be rented out for events.
I've always talked about how I would like to live on North Ravenswood Ave. It's still mostly an eclectic mix of businesses from 4200 N to 4800 N. But, from Lawrence to Peterson (4800n to 6000) there are some pretty cool loft buildings and single family homes. Most of the west side of North Ravenswood Ave. North of Lawrence is a garden.
It's a great area to discover. Email me if you need a hand.
I blew a chance to get some great summer photos today... forgot my camera.
I viewed this Ravenswood Manor single family home on the 2600 block of West Wilson with clients earlier in the summer. It was listed at $939,000 and went under contract in 22 days. It's hard to explain why it's so unique and special... this strip of Ravenswood Manor has an inherent peaceful and classy feel.
Here's the agent's remarks from the MLS: "RAVENSWOOD GARDENS! GRACIOUS STUCCO HOME ON FABULOUS LOT BOASTS SPACIOUS ROOMS, GREAT LIGHT AND SPECIAL DETAILS. FEATURES INCLUDE: OAK FLRS, WBFP, FORMAL DR W/BEAMED CEILING, STAINED GLASS WINDOWS, NEW BATHS, A/C, SUN ROOM W/HEATED FLRS AND 3rd FLR FAMILY RM. HOME HAS BEEN METICULOUSLY MAINTAINED AND SHOWS LIKE A MODEL. WALK TO ALL THE "HAPPENINGS" OF LINCOLN SQUARE. ONE BLOCK TO BROWN LINE."
The greatest asset is the amazing and unusual traingular backyard. But, even for such a cool house , in such a cool location with such cool decor (the owners have style)... it was not without floorplan issues. No master bath, a small kitchen and no flow to the outstanding backyard. There is simply a standard door out to the back. The home for the price has a little to be desired for the size, somewhat awkward lower level and bathroom situation. But, it should close for over $900,000... maybe over list price. So much for a housing slump in Chicago. This house will gain value with every improvement done as well.
Merle’s is known for its home cooking and event catering. It’s literally right on the CTA Francisco Brown Line stop, so great for commuter eats and coffee.
I was walking Ryne this morning near one of my listings and I spotted this Cub fan flying the "W" on the 4700 block of North Sacramento in Ravenswood Manor. This is a great looking, if not typical, brick Chicago Bungalow.
From the 4400 block of North Sacramento to the 4800 block north, there have been only three single family home sales recorded in the last two years... none of these in the last year. Closing prices ranged from $490,000 for a smaller bugalow to $635,000 for larger American Four Squares.
This house pictured above is probably in the mid $500,000 range or so; depending on if the interior matches the quality of the exterior.
I rode my bike west down West Wilson Avenue over to a showing for my Albany Park listing. I can ride from the intersection of Lawrence and Damen to 3303 W Ainslie in about 10 minutes... beats driving. The Wilson Ave. Corridor, as I coined it last year, runs though one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Chicago; Ravenswood Manor. Above is a shot of the North Branch of the Chicago River river looking south.
Here's a house at Rockwell Crossing... and small little retail strip tucked into the neighborhood. It's home of the Rockwell CTA Brown Line stop, Rockwell's, Bloom Yoga, Beans and Bgaels etc...
This is rare. A new construction single family home being built at the 2800 block of West Wilson.
Passing into Albany Park, I hit the Starbucks at the corner of Wilson and Kedzie. This is steps from the Kedzie CTA Brown Line stop.
Friday night’s thunderstorms cut down a couple trees on West Argyle St., just one building over from our home. The family truckster was hit. Early Saturday morning, I pulled out of our parking space in my car and saw city trucks cutting and clearing branches from the street. I knew some cars must have gotten hit my falling branches.
It was not until after 9:00AM when my wife called and said our truck was damaged on that block. See, she had parked there late last evening. Some of the surrounding cars were totaled and ours sustained a few dents, a broken antenna and a broken mirror. Poor truck.
Last year, I was caught in Roscoe Village when the micro-burst, or whatever the hell that thing was, caused extensive damage on the North Side and North Shore a moments time. My neighborhood of Ravenswood was not affected by that storm, but many pockets on the North Side were hit hard by falling trees. These two incidents are hitting a little to close to home for me.
Now, my wife must drive our war weary SUV through the mean streets of Chicago. Battle scars.
The shame of it all is our block lost two mature trees.
Don't let this happen to you.
Our Ravenswood condo building association is small... 6 units. But we can not take managing the association lightly. I'm the President, but in reality the Treasurer and other good owners pull the strings... I'm just a figure head. Jill and I did throw a pretty good party for our turn-over meeting, which, probably clinched the presidency for me. Back to the subject...
We decided to landscape our front walk-way this season. Many factors came into play. Would we plant the walkway ourselves? What would we place there? Does anyone have a green thumb….and would that person take care of the finished product? How much would we spend? Seriously, a little decison like this can get out of hand in some associations. I've seen it.
So, we called a meeting in the winter to discuss upcoming spring improvements including the proposed landscape project. We decided that none of us had a particular expertise in landscaping required for the scope and scale of the project desired. We also decided we had a healthy budget for a two year old association and could contract out the work. We would pay half from reserves and half with a small special assessment. This was made possible by adequately funding the association with our monthly assessments. We set a budget that would allow a $3,000 a year surplus.
We hired a landscape architect (friend of a unit owner) to recommend a plan. Then, we received several recommendations for contractors to do the work. Pictured is the result.
Our Secretary on the Condo Board pretty much took responsibility of the project and we are all grateful of the much improved walk-way. But the short summary above is just one example that shows, even in a small condo building in Ravenswood, a lot of factors go into the management and care of maintaining and improving our homes and investments.
We have an “active” self managed condo association that communicates often and delegates responsibility well. I’ve seen first hand how tough it can be to sell units in problem buildings… we would rather bite the bullet and take care of our housekeeping as needed. And we have avoided the pitfalls of a small building where one individual gets stuck doing everything.