There’s a $2.5 million Victorian mansion in Chicago’s South Side for sale boasting eight bedrooms, five walk-in closets and a short walk to one of Chicago’s most anticipated projects: the Obama Presidential Center.
More than a dozen homes in the streets around Jackson Park—the site of the $500 million complex including a museum, forum and library—mention the future landmark in hopes of boosting their attractiveness. Real estate brokers and developers in the neighborhood say they’re hopeful that the Obama center, one of the most high-profile projects underway in the Windy City, will bring a bump to the property market in an area that’s still recovering from the housing market collapse.
“The great thing about the Obama library is that they have the consciousness going in of creating change in the neighborhood,” said Margie Smigel, the managing broker and owner at the Margie Smigel Group.
Housing prices in the South Side have been depressed and generally struggled to recover since the housing collapse, despite The University of Chicago anchoring the neighborhood and a number of streets boasting stately, historic single-family homes, Ms. Smigel said. For example, Jackson Park Highlands, directly south of the park, is a historically landmarked district and one of the only upper-class neighborhoods in Chicago’s South Side. Homes in Jackson Park Highlands typically trade hands for between $350,000 and $1.2 million.
“It made sense"
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Since July, when the location of the Obama museum was announced, the ZIP code encompassing Jackson Park Highlands and neighboring South Shore has seen the median single-family home value jump 13%, according to data from property site Zillow. It’s the first major spike since the recession.
The ZIP code encompassing Woodlawn, directly west of the museum, and the University of Chicago, has also seen a pronounced, albeit less dramatic bump, to home prices since July. Zillow estimates the median single-family home value has increased 5.4%.
There’s plenty of time for more change in the local market before the complex’s expected completion in 2020 or 2021.
Real estate developers Bill Williams and Fred Spencer of KMW Communities said they were drawn to Woodlawn even before the Obama museum was announced for its growth potential and scarcity of single-family housing.
But the impending presidential landmark has reaffirmed their instincts and given the neighborhood a boost, said Mr. Williams, founder of KMW, which is building nine higher-end, single-family homes priced between $600,000-$650,000. The 3,000-square-foot houses have five bedrooms and modern, window-lined facades, renderings show.
While construction of the homes won’t finish until January, the developers are already in negotiations with multiple buyers for the units.
“The elements of this neighborhood have already been there,” said Mr. Spencer, principal and managing member at KMW. “The library has reconfirmed that the neighborhood is a good place to buy.”
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