Michigan Avenue - - CONTENTS - BY LISA SKOLNIK

Buzzing with chic new shops, gal­leries, and eater­ies, West Town’s western edge is the city’s lat­est haven for luxe real es­tate.

Lux­ury real es­tate buy­ers want it all—and for the past few years, West Town has de­liv­ered with its strik­ing hous­ing, prox­im­ity to so­phis­ti­cated nosh­ing and shop­ping, pic­turesque streets, and scenic parks. Still, growth had largely been con­cen­trated to its eastern neigh­bor­hoods, what with their ac­cess to the high­way, pub­lic tran­sit lines, and Mil­wau­kee Av­enue.

No longer. Smith Park—a pie slice-shaped area in the south­west cor­ner of West Town, and named for a nearly 10-acre park on its south­ern bor­der—is emerg­ing as a hot spot for lux­ury devel­op­ment. “It’s a hidden gem, and its res­i­dents want it to stay that way,” says Baird & Warner bro­ker Sharon Gill­man. “It’s one of the few places where you can still af­ford to buy land—even larger lots at rea­son­able prices. That’s why I see de­vel­op­ers liv­ing there them­selves.”

But Smith Park isn’t likely to stay a se­cret for long. “The 606 has made it more ac­cept­able to go west,” notes Koen­i­grubloff bro­ker Mario Greco. “Five years ago, the neigh­bor­hood had vir­tu­ally noth­ing. But now you can walk to great restau­rants on Cal­i­for­nia Av­enue, and the pro­grams and fa­cil­i­ties in the park keep get­ting bet­ter.”

Smith Park’s larger lots, lower con­ges­tion, and bur­geon­ing

in­fra­struc­ture are a pow­er­ful draw—they con­vinced the Blake Group to con­vert a run-down, late 19th-cen­tury two-flat at 2629 West Su­pe­rior Street (now mar­keted by Gill­man for $1.295 mil­lion) into a stun­ning 4,000-square­foot, four-bed, four-bath, 21st-cen­tury home.

Gone are its time­worn fea­tures and façade, re­placed by a pol­ished brick and glass ex­te­rior, deeper foun­da­tion, full-height base­ment, new third floor, and high ceil­ings. An open, airy floor plan pre­vails, while a float­ing steel and glass stair­case, which trans­verses all four lev­els, and ex­pan­sive win­dows turn the struc­ture into a sleek, light­filled domi­cile. A gourmet kitchen and enor­mous third­story master suite with an ex­pan­sive pri­vate deck in­crease the lux­ury quo­tient.

High-end new con­struc­tion is also boom­ing: Greco is mar­ket­ing two that are sleek con­tem­po­raries: a 4,300square-foot, five-bed, three­and-a-half-bath home at 852 North Rock­well Av­enue that sits on a 30-footwide cor­ner lot with out­door decks on ev­ery floor

($1.2995 mil­lion), and a 4,000-square-foot, five-bed, three-and-a-half-bath at 537 North Arte­sian Av­enue that just hit the mar­ket for just north of $1 mil­lion.

Not only does Smith Park’s spot in the lex­i­con of chic Chicago neigh­bor­hoods seem se­cure, it looks like it may change the equa­tion for its neigh­bor to the north­west— East Hum­boldt Park, long an up-and-comer but still late to reach its po­ten­tial. Iron­i­cally, it’s of­fi­cially part of West Town. Clearly its re­nais­sance is just a mat­ter of time.

Go West: Lux­ury hits West Town in this gor­geous home at 852 North Rock­well Street, which boasts ex­pan­sive liv­ing spa­ces and a sleek façade.

An­other show­case prop­erty on the edge of West Town, 2629 West Su­pe­rior Street im­presses with a sweetly out­fit­ted liv­ing room, kitchen (ƛƞƥƨư ƫƣơơƭ), and master bed­room (ƛƞƥƨư).

The master bath­room (ƥƞɵƭ) and bed­room at 537 North Arte­sian Av­enue, a prime ex­am­ple of West Town’s new luxe out­look.

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