Thursday, July 1, 2010

Spotlight on Lincoln Park

Where to begin? Our city architects created the most wonderful feature of the neighborhood by making sure the actual park of Lincoln Park stayed a park. Bike paths, trees, lakefront, and beaches – no other city has such a livable reputation and that is largely due to the lakefront.

Stepping back from the water front though and you discover a neighborhood 3000 blogs could not completely cover. So I will just touch on a few favorites: Food and Music.

My foodie friend just had dinner at Alinea (1723 N Halsted St). In addition to being possibly the most expensive meal she has ever enjoyed ($600 for two) it was, in her words, the most interesting and a true foodie experience. Alinea is all about presentation. There are two tasting menus – a 15 course and a 22 course. They had the 15 course. One course was created as the centerpiece by the diners themselves from a selection of ingredients and then became one of the courses. This course looks like it is looking back at you. And the horizontal ribbon is made from an applesauce gelatin. Each course comes with instructions on how to eat the course – how to mix the flavors just right, how every element of the whole was made. A party of four sitting next to them had flown in from California just for the experience of this restaurant.

Chicago Blues is alive all along Halsted between Fullerton and Diversey. And the music clubs are wonderful. Check out Kingston Mines as a local favorite. But right across the street is my favorite music venue, The Guitar Center. This is no ordinary music store. They encourage you to try, touch and play every instrument. Musicians and wanna be musicians alike can spend hours there. Each room is dedicated to a particular type of instrument – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, percussion, piano/electric keyboards etc. Just three days ago, Robert Plant (of Led Zepplin) strolled in off the street to pick up his guitar from repair, packed it into his backpack and walked out of the store like an average guy not the guitar legend he is. Angus Young of AC/DC was trying out guitars 8 feet from a young boy who was trying an ACDC riff on an electric guitar. Would have been cool to go give the boy a few tips from the master….

Lincoln Park runs from North Ave to Fullerton and from Clybourn East to the Lake. Many micro neighborhoods make up the whole. Many people looking for homes are trying to figure out which neighborhood to jump into and when is the right time to get a great value in this coveted neighborhood. Over the years 2005 to 2009 (the peak of the market to the trough) Lincoln Park actually retained much of its price value but slowed down in unit sales and those sold took longer to sell. There are properties here that you can find that provide value – but most of the reason to jump into Lincoln Park now is not driven by soft prices but by low interest rates. A home at the same price in 2005 and 2009 would cost 19% less in monthly payments at today’s 5% range than 2005 7% range. Said another way an income of 19% less today would qualify you for that home. In fact affordability is the best it has been since 1971. So if you want to check out this desirable neighborhood, contact me.

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