Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spotlight on Old Town

Well it is that time of the year again. The first big art fair of the season is this weekend...The Old Town Art Fair and the Wells Street Art Festival. Old Town is a wonderful, historic community tucked into Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. The center point is North and Wells and the historic area of the Old Town triangle runs north to Wisconsin and West to Larrabee. The neighborhood does cross over North Avenue to the south for several bocks as well with many hidden treasures tucked in everywhere. The Old Town Art Fair is a great opportunity to have first dibs on pieces from some terrific artists before the season of art shows kicks into gear. And becuase this unique art fair takes place right in the center of the neighborhood it is a chance to see the area up close and even walk through some beauftiful gardens.

What makes the historic neighborhood so interesting is that no building within the triangle can be torn down. There are also restrictions on what you can do to the facade when doing a restoration. As a result, density levels in Old Town remains low and the neighborhood wonderfully quaint and intimate.

Two of may favorite shops are on Wells:

The Spice House and Old Town Oil. If you enjoy cooking and eating, these places will change your life.

The Spice House is located at 1512 N. Wells and is a small shop dedicated to the freshest, highest quality spices. It is ideal if you need to restock the pantry or for great ideas with a huge array of fresh and already themed packages.

Just next door the most exquisite oils and vinegars can be found at Old Town Oil which offers hand blended oils and vinegars from around the world. If you liked that unique grassy cold pressed oil you tasted in Tuscany, you can find that along with tasty, syrupy aged balsamic vinegars

The market in Old Town has experienced the same roller coaster ride as many of Chicago's other areas. Much of the upper bracket homes are tucked away here and have been quite sluggish over the past several months. Since the first of the year, only 6 single family homes have sold with an average sale price of $1.2M. Apparently many agents had to adjust to the market as this was almost 67% off original list prices. Once the prices were adjusted properly, closed values were at a respectable 94% of list with an average market time of 226 days. This represented only 15% of the inventory at the time. Presently there are 23 homes on the market with an average list price of $1.7M and an average of 261 days on the market topping out at $4.3M.

In the condo and town home market for the area, 21% of this inventory has sold since the first of the year totaling 64 units with an average sale price of $440,000 which was 95% of the adjusted list prices averaging 116 days on the market. Presently there are 116 units for sale with an average price of $447,000 topping out at $1.3M.


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