Sunday, November 30, 2014

Highland Park: Smashing ZuZu

Madame ZuZu's in Highland Park

Dropped in for a spot of tea and a vegan sandwich yesterday at Billy Corgan's Highland Park, (Illinois) tea house; Madame ZuZu's. Cool space. Cozy decor. Piano & small music area. Tucked into a MCM strip of storefronts in the old Highland Park business district. Took me right back to '1979' grad school--kind of eerie for a moment--until I looked at the menu (which snapped me in warp-speed back to 2014): one of those 'small plate' & $14 cup of tea sort of offerings you'd expect to find in LA or NYC...tasty, if not filling. Pickle sandwich, almond butter & jelly, humus & arugula, etc. Obscure 1940s music piped through the sound system was predictable and maybe just a little tired (Don's Coffee House in Rogers Park had this pre-retro vibe nailed in the 1990s). The place was (surprisingly?) empty except for a North Shore faux-hipster dad and his giggling tween daughters in matching private school hoodies at the next table, knocking into the back of my chair, snapping selfies, and jabbering about their new Tesla. After 45 minutes or so of silent judgement I finally got up, paid the bill, and crawled away in my Prius. Then I drove to Costco for my real lunch: a $2.17 slice of pizza & jumbo cup of Sierra Mist. They say Billy (and the occasional Pumpkin or two) pops in from time to time to take the small venue stage. Now he's a faux-hipster I might pay $14 to have my chair bumped into for an hour or two--although years ago, I did drive by B & Courtney Love snapping at each other on N. Southport Avenue, one Sunday morning. That was kind of cool and it was free. 

Madame ZuZu's interior photo

Friday, November 28, 2014

Chicago Neighborhood Average Home Prices 2014

Chicago NeighborhoodAverage Price
(All Homes)
Average Price
(per sq ft)
Average Price
(2 Bedrooms)
Lincoln Park $862,524$364$441,166
Near North Side $716,673$411$604,014
North Center  $638,158$275$337,971
Loop $536,739$370$498,334
Lake View $507,736$270$357,816
West Town $501,502$260$360,573
Forest Glen $490,025$247$283,576
Logan Square $473,710$235$298,499
Near South Side $457,265$318$422,743
Lincoln Square $399,601$225$252,513
Near West Side $365,791$261$337,805
Edison Park $353,389$223$207,285
Irving Park $351,501$174$187,656
Bridgeport $340,102$171$214,972
Avondale $334,120$182$220,375
Norwood Park $314,836$206$215,275
North Park $313,132$171$185,396
Beverly $306,085$160$142,427
Hyde Park $302,208$158$156,465
Jefferson Park $296,014$177$195,937
Armour Square $290,575$207$229,237
Uptown $289,169$190$243,046
Edgewater  $279,854$180$241,306
Portage Park $267,189$165$163,524
Albany Park $264,828$166$161,349
Oakland $261,598$118$118,392
Dunning $238,736$168$177,386
Douglas $229,350$108$143,089
Lower West Side $226,446$156$197,413
West Ridge $220,478$133$115,015
Montclare $217,560$153$141,739
Belmont Cragin $209,908$127$138,654
McKinley Park $207,561$125$149,256
Rogers Park $205,530$134$150,684
Garfield Ridge $204,443$159$154,085
Mount Greenwood  $197,474$155$148,548
Hermosa $188,244$122$131,563
Clearing $181,281$136$120,913
Grand Boulevard $177,916$86$77,233
O'Hare $177,201$146$140,519
Archer Heights $167,504$126$112,934
Morgan Park $163,649$103$102,266
West Lawn $146,857$111$87,343
Ashburn $143,259$113$102,886
Humboldt Park $142,194$90$87,843
Brighton Park $140,517$97$104,957
Austin $122,883$86$91,257
Avalon Park$120,199$76$74,473
South Shore $119,594$63$52,705
East Garfield Park $115,568$60$67,764
Calumet Heights $113,717$84$86,558
Woodlawn $112,012$73$80,193
Hegewisch $110,370$90$74,729
Chatham $108,714$76$65,213
Washington Heights $106,828$76$75,369
New City $103,380$80$123,677
Gage Park $102,761$80$70,506
North Lawndale $100,631$46$43,056
South Lawndale $100,238$71$72,761
East Side $99,285$87$76,007
Auburn Gresham $96,664$63$59,037
Chicago Lawn$95,751$75$65,996
Washington Park $90,837$49$45,684
South Chicago $87,573$55$58,305
West Garfield Park  $85,057$38$28,400
Pullman $76,372$59$64,270
Roseland $69,689$54$53,590
Burnside $68,765$48$63,111
Englewood $66,394$28$18,836
West Pullman $56,828$46$48,356
West Englewood$56,047$31$26,344
Fuller Park $54,182$30$41,440
South Deering $53,680$42$26,743
Riverdale $26,579$22$17,310

And don't forget to click the link below for 2 bedroom condo listings in Chicago

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The River North Neighborhood of Chicago

Chicago river north neighborhood boat dock

"River North is where the hip meet the moneyed (not to say that a person can’t be both) in 21st century Chicago. It’s obvious, however, that this 'Near North’ neighborhood (also known as the Gallery District) on the historic Chicago River houses an eclectic demographic community unlike most others in the city...."  click here to read my entire article.

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor

Wrigleville DIY: For Rent By Owner

Wrigleyville neighborhood two-flat rental
Wrigleyville Duplex Down for 'Rent by Owner' -- $2395/month

Not every private owner needs a Realtor to fill a vacancy. In a rental market with tight inventory -- like Chicago's West Lakeview or Wrigleyville Neighborhoods -- a landlady can simply place an ad in Craigslist, hang a .99 cent sign on the fence with a scribbled description, and if she's not smoking crack with her morning whiskey when she decides on a price, probably get the unit rented after a weekend or two of showings. Even in the 'Off Season.'

Below are the three traditional rental seasons in Chicago:

1) May 1 through April 30 the following year.

2) October 1 through September 30 the following year.

3) Off-Season (any 12 month lease that begins or ends outside of the parameters of 1 & 2 above.)

And if she is 'Pet Friendly', i.e., allows a dog or two-- then she can even be a little crack smokey on her rental price.

Still, there are several other (and more important) issues concerning the Application/Acceptance Process: Fair Housing, non-discriminatory qualifications & advertising, background & credit check, references, security deposit requirement per Chicago Ordinance, etc., in which case, the services of a Realtor may well be worth the usual/customary fee of one month's rent.

If you think you got all that handled then by all means, DIY.  If not, I'm a Chicago Realtor... let's chat.

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Recycle or Rehab?

Chicago condo recycle room

The peeps sure like to party in Wrigleyville, and my Park Place Towers condo building is no exception. This is what the Recycle Room (for just one of the 55 floors) looks like every Monday morning after a big game; and the Bears won! (It's even worse when one of our Chicago sports teams lose.) Betty Ford would do well to set up a rehab recruiting kiosk in the lobby--or at least post a toll-free Help Hotline number over the trash chute--especially during baseball season.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Chicago Alley FAQs

Chicago Uptown neighborhood alley

Not every city has them and none have more than we do--I'm speaking of the Chicago alley; that back street agglomeration of ubiquitous urban grit. In case you were wondering, here's a quick Q & A on the subject:

How many are there?
-- Close to 1900 miles worth throughout 95% of the neighborhood blocks.

When was the first Chicago alley annexed?
-- 1830.

How wide are they?
--16 feet minimum (although a few 'grandfathered' ones are as narrow as 12 feet). Most, however, are 18 feet.

Are they One-Way only?
Not usually. In fact, the 'One-Way Only' Chicago alley is a rare easement. However, try telling that to the garbage truck coming your way.

Can you park in one over night?
--Now what do you think? (Actually, the Chicago City Ordinance states that you can load and unload in an alley but for "no longer than is necessary." Yeah, right.

Will the City of Chicago tow your ride from an alley?
--Oh hell yes.

How much will it cost you?--$150 Ticket; $150 Tow.

Who plows the alleys in winter?--Usually nobody.

Are taxis allowed to pick-up or drop-off a fare in a Chicago alley?
--Hmmm. Good question.  I've been told 'No' by more than one over the years.

Can you work on you car in an alley?--Well you can, but the fine is $25.

Is there a Speed Limit?
--Yep. 15 MPH.

And in case you find yourself in that "no longer than necessary" trick bag while unloading the Costco cargo click here >>> City of Chicago Towing Locator.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Chicago Neighborhood Property Search

Wrigleyville neighborhood page screenshot

Click ahead >>> to check out the latest Chicago Neighborhood page ^^^ on my GenoPetro.House web site and MLS search engine. Featured Neighborhoods and 'Jump Search' listings include: Andersonville, Bucktown, DePaul, Lincoln Square, Portage Park, Printers Row, River North, Roscoe Village, Ukrainian Village, Uptown, Wrigleyville; as well as many Chicago suburbs including: Evanston, Glencoe, and Des Plaines.

There is also a free Foreclosure List link, Pet Friendly Rental List link, a 'What's Mine Worth?' link (in case what you're curious about the market value of your own house or condo), several other buyer and seller related pages, and links to my other blogs and Web 2.0 commentaries. And for you first time North Side buyers, there are many 2 bedroom condo listings for sale.

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor

A Curious Chi-Town Question...

17th Church of Christ, Scientist in Chicago Loop neighborhood
Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist -- 55 E Upper Wacker Drive, Chicago

Okay, I suppose I could 'Google' it but the average layman has to wonder....where are the other 16?  The address alone is a mouthful.

Friday, November 21, 2014

$300 Boat On $300,000 Chicago Lot

$300 boat in Chicago West Town neighborhood

Its been there for as long as I can recall---parked (docked?) on a vacant lot at the corner of W. Ohio and Noble Avenues in Chicago's West Town/Ukrainian Village neighborhood. A few doors down, a busted-up frame tear down (on a same size 25' x 125' parcel)  recently Closed for $300,000.  Even without the land yacht, that's a lot of minnows, little buddy.  I have a listing two blocks away for just a few dobraos more---and it has a fireplace, two full baths, and a stainless steel kitchen. Hey, whatever floats your...whatever

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Uptown Chicago Renters...Ready to Move?

Darlington Hotel in Chicago Uptown neighborhood
Picture: "The Darlington" One of the few remaining North Side Chicago 'transient' hotels

The Darlington Hotel is a 1920s era SRO located at the corner of Racine and Leland Avenues in Chicago's Uptown Neighborhood. Gritty on its best day, The 'D' is a housing option for those unfortunate souls who find themselves one jump ahead of a homeless shelter. Godspeed to them all.

For all others, the fall real estate season is winding down and there are some negotiation opportunities to be had in the real estate market place. If you have a dog (or even two) and think its easier to just stay put than pack up and move in winter, then click here >>> for a current list of Chicago Pet Friendly Rentals. You may be surprised what a non-owner-occupied condo might rent for in the off-season.

Or, if you are simply curious about what condos are trading for on your block, then click here >>> for quick access to my Chicago MLS Property Search.

And if all else fails, The D rents rooms by the week.

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rejoice! Chicago Pet Friendly Rentals!

No Dogs Allowed Chicago Uptown neighborhood

Fido not welcome in your current crib? No worries...I've just added a Chicago Pet Friendly Rental page to my GenoPetro.House web site. Updated weekly, the link provides a current list in PDF format of Residential Rental listings with the following Chicago MLS status flags:

* New, Price Change, Back On Market, and Reactivated.

* Price points: $1,000 to $7,000+ monthly.

* Pet (specifically 'Dog') Friendly.

Reach out to me for a more 'drilled-down' list or to request a live showing.

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wrigley Field Reno

Wrigley Field Reno in Wrigleyville neighborhood

A few months back I published a post on the Blog that touched on the future of Wrigleyville, along with some other neighborhood housing stats.  Pictured above is a snap shot of the current renovation (looking at left-center field from Clark & Waveland exterior perspective) after they ripped out the bleachers. Kind of appropriate on such a cold chilly day (wind chill -2 on November 18th. Geez..)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lincoln/Ashland Project Moving Along

Lincoln/Belmont/Ashland rubble in Chicago West Lakeview neighborhood

Hate to see the historic art deco building at the six-corner intersection of Lincoln/Belmont/Ashland finally get reduced to real estate rubble (after so many years of speculation) but hey, such is life in the architectural universe. In later years, the location was the West Lakeview branch of the former LaSalle Bank (also now resting in peace). After it closed in 2008, the site was slated for residential loft development but the looming 'late-aught' housing bubble put the kibosh on that idea and the property stood vacant for several fiscal quarters. Then in 2013, the Target Corporation purchased the property with plans for medium-box retail but that idea didn't fly with the real estate gods, either. Big Red then flipped it to Novak Construction who now envisions 60,000 square feet of mixed-use retail, residential utopia, and blah, blah ,blah...(Everybody in the neighborhood already knows all this. I just needed to say something to go with my picture.)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Lycee Francais de Chicago (Oui! Oui!)

Chicago French School Wrigleyville neighborhoodNew Chicago French School in Lincoln Square neighborhood

For as long as I can recall (in spite of their good educational intentions), the Lycee Francais de Chicago, located at that landlocked traffic cluster of Irving Park, Bittersweet, and Marine Drive (the far northeast tip of Wrigleyville), has caused daily back-ups onto the Lake Shore Drive entrance ramp catty-corner from my condo building. Twice every weekday, les mamans et papas turn on the flashers and double park their Lexi et Suburi on our garage access street so they can drop-off/pick-up les garcons et les filles de l'ecole before and after school. Pardon my French, but its been a little...(oops--my English-to-Francais Translator app wont accept that four letter entry). Anyway, its been a little frustrating over the years. But Alas! Oui! Oui! Good News is in the future for Everyone! 

The school will be moving to a new home at 1929 W. Wilson Avenue (just steps from all those hip Lincoln Square neighborhood cafes et restaurants) in the Fall of 2015. There's an Open House Saturday, November 22, 2014 from 10:00AM to Noon. So check it, mes amis!  

And that is all I have to show for six years of French. ZUT!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

On Location: Uptown Chicago

Vintage CTA bus & Aragon Ballroom in Chicago Uptown neighborhood

Lawrence Avenue, in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, is transformed back to the 1980s as a tech crew sets up for an early morning 'Batman vs Superman' movie shoot. Love the recently refurbished Aragon Ballroom sign and marquee in the background.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Free Chicago MLS Property Search

GenoPetro.House home page


For Smart Phone Mobile: Open my app in your mobile browser by clicking
(or copy/paste) 
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Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Two-Pipe High Rise

320 W Oakdale Chicago east Lakeview neighborhood

'Its hot when its hot and its not when its not'; thus is the tween-season conundrum of living in a MCM high rise. To be fair, 'autumn' in Chicago lasts about as long as it takes the Bears to slip below .500, i.e., not very long (simply insert Cubs analogy for 'spring'). But for those of us who live in 'two-pipe' climate regulated buildings, this often times means shivering nights under the flannel sheets in September, and ice packs & floor fans in May. For those of you not in the know, a two-pipe system is operated by the residential maintenance staff and is either set at 'Heat,' 'A/C,' or 'Neutral' for the entire building. Individual condo dwellers can only operate the 'blowers' in their respective units. This semi-annual ritual is generally precluded with colorful Xerox sheets of 8.5x11 paper taped onto the walls of elevators, hallways, and common areas with the following message:

The heating and cooling system, originally installed many decades ago, is not able to simultaneously provide both hot and cool air to residents. This system has limited ability to rapidly compensate for spikes in outdoor temperature. This limitation becomes very apparent during seasonal transitions, such as this, where temperatures may rise or drop dramatically. In order to anticipate and respond to these unusual climate conditions, we will continue to actively monitor the changing weather patterns and use the best professional advice available from onsite engineering staff and independent mechanical engineers.

In other words, our building is old as hell and 'Neutral' is the easiest way to appease the masses. Someone is always either too hot or too cold in a two-pipe dystopia. It's an urban fact.

Now to be honest, the system in my condo building has already been switched on 'Heat' for a month. The only reason I mention any of this is that it was 62 degrees yesterday (and too hot in the unit for my taste) but predicted to drop to 25 degrees by tomorrow (blower will be turned on high, for sure). Just felt it necessary to brush up on my Midwest weather whining. That's all.