Chicago Relocation

January 2014 Chicagoland State of the Real Estate Market

January 27, 2014

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Chicago neighborhoods
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John D’Ambrogio

It was a cold December, but not for Chicago’s Real Estate Market. The hot market in 2013 finished the year with increases in sales prices, units, sales volume and steady mortgage rates. John D’Ambrogio shares January 2014′s State of the Real Estate Market.


Lincoln Park – The other epicenter

January 21, 2014

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Chicago neighborhoods
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John D’Ambrogio

If you’re new to Chicago, you probably know of two neighborhoods – The Loop and Lincoln Park. A Chicago truism is that everyone (I know) has probably worked in The Loop at one point (or said they did), or lived in Lincoln Park (or said the did). Lincoln Park is such an iconic Chicago neighborhood that it’s sometimes tough to get your arms around it. It set the standard for being the cool neighborhood so long ago and it (arguably) inspired the renaissance of so many other northside communities. (Think, Lakeview to Wicker Park, to Bucktown).

But Lincoln Park does not rest on its laurels, although virtually any address in Lincoln Park is a perennially desirable one. It’s a vibrant community (that may skew a little young), with major thoroughfares of Clark, Halsted, and Lincoln. It’s jammed with pubs, restaurants, shops….anything and everything that a heavily populated, public transportation-heavy, mobile community needs. It’s an easy El or bus ride to downtown, easy access to LSD and the major highways, you can walk to the world class Lincoln Park zoo – it truly is a pedestrian urbanites’ paradise.

Hitting back on the ‘three neighborhoods for the price of one” thing that Chicago likes, “greater” Lincoln Park includes the Old Town community (which merits its own blog), Old Town Triangle, DePaul, West Depaul, and more. But a very general rule of thumb would dictate that price inches down and space goes up the further west of the lake and north of downtown. So it’s a trade-off: smaller housing close to the lake or “more for your money” a bit further north or west.

You can really find all types of urban housing in beautiful Lincoln Park. From luxury high rises along the lake, to traditional Chicago brick or frame flats, corridor buildings, courtyards, as well as some pricy single family homes it really has such a variety. Try a search and see for yourself.

The nightlife scene is a bit overwhelmed by the college and “young professionals” crowd, which is a great thing if you’re in that demographic. You can certainly find quality cuisine of any time – Thai, Sushi, Italian, American, French, fusion of any type! It’s hard to name a few without naming 50, but If you want a classic post bar hot dog experience, you need to go to Weiner Circle.  Toast for an exceptional and creative brunch at Noodles at Penny’s (multiple locations). Incredible tapas and sangria at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba – Chorizo wrapped dates with cheese – need I say more? Craft beer and the best homemade potato chips around – it’s Goose Island.

I tremble to think about what to advise people to do in Lincoln Park. It literally has everything.

Want to see great live Theatre? 2nd City, hands down.

Oh, real theater, not improv? Try Steppenwolf among dozen other places

Get some sun? Walk to the beach. Exotic Animals? Late night bars (hundreds) or the famous Lincoln Park Zoo. Blues? Kingston Mines …. B. L.U.E.S.  Creepy? 2122 N. Clark St., site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (behind Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder), or The Biograph Theater where Dillinger was gunned down Museums – Chicago History Museum, Peggy Notebart Nature Museum.  The list goes on and on…..and on. 

So spend a day, spend a weekend, spend a year. You’ll enjoy every minute.


Old Town – 2nd City and NOW WE GET TO THE SO MUCH MORE (Part 2)

January 6, 2014

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Chicago neighborhoods
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John D’Ambrogio

Speaking of beer (I think we were last week), there is no shortage in Old Town – The Pour House, Old Town Ale House, Declan’s, Burton Place. All filled with cool hipsters and multiple taps. Can’t go wrong at any of them. Restaurants include classics like O’Brien’s for steak, Topo Gigio and Orso’s for Italian; Bistro Margot for le Francais; you’ve got to try the ribs at Fireplace Inn; Kamehachi is an old town favorite, including their restaurant and of course the “old” restaurant, now a very cool lounge; ah you won’t go hungry in Old Town. One more place! The Hotel Lincoln’s rooftop bar, J. Parker! The view, oh my….

And once you’re full you can laugh it off. There’s Zanie’s Comedy club just off North/Wells with great stand up. And of course Old Town is really known for SECOND CITY and their improv training school and performance centers. A little cabaret opened in 1959 and now is a mecca to comedy and improv. I can’t even start on about them or I’ll rave and start talking about Belushi, Farley, Radner, Murray, Arkin, Rivers, Long…..

Oh, heck, here’s a very abbreviated list – Thanks for supplying it:

(1960) Alan Arkin (The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, Little Miss Sunshine)
(1961) Joan Rivers
(1961) Avery Schreiber (My Mother the Car)
(1961) Del Close (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)
(1965) Fred Willard (Fernwood 2Nite, Roseanne, Everybody Loves Raymond, A Mighty Wind’)
(1967) Peter Boyle (Young Frankenstein, Taxi Driver, Everybody Loves Raymond)
(1969) Joe Flaherty (SCTV, Freaks and Geeks)
(1969) Harold Ramis (SCTV, Ghostbusters, Stripes)
(1971) John Belushi (SNL, Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Neighbors)
(1973) Gilda Radner (SNL, Gilda Radner Live from the Winter Garden Theatre)
(1973) Bill Murray (SNL, Groundhog Day, Lost in Translation, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Meatballs, Stripes, Where the Buffalo Roam)
(1973) Betty Thomas (Hill Street Blues)
(1973) Dan Aykroyd (SNL, Ghostbusters, Driving Miss Daisy, The Blues Brothers)
(1974) Eugene Levy (SCTV, A Mighty Wind, American Pie)
(1975) Dave Thomas (SCTV, Strange Brew, Grace Under Fire)
(1975) George Wendt (Cheers)
(1976) Shelley Long (Cheers)
(1978) James Belushi (SNL, According to Jim)
(1978) Tim Kazurinsky (SNL, Police Academy)
(1979) Mary Gross (SNL, Hot to Trot, Feds)
(1983) Richard Kind (Mad About You, Spin City)
(1986) Dan Castellaneta (The Tracey Ullman Show, The Simpsons)
(1986) Bonnie Hunt (Life With Bonnie, Cheaper by the Dozen, Cars, The Bonnie Hunt Show)
(1988) Mike Myers (SNL, Wayne’s World, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Shrek)
(1989) Chris Farley (SNL, Tommy Boy, Black Sheep)
(1989) Tim Meadows (SNL, The Ladies Man, Mean Girls, The Bill Engvall Show)
(1991) Steve Carell (The Daily Show, The Office, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Little Miss Sunshine)
(1991) Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm, I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With)
(1993) Stephen Colbert (The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Strangers with Candy, Exit 57)
(1994) Scott Adsit (Mr. Show, 30 Rock, Moral Orel)
(1994) David Koechner (SNL, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The Office, The Naked Trucker and T-Bones Show)
(1994) Nancy Walls (SNL, The Daily Show, The Office)
(Tour) Amy Poehler (SNL, Baby Mama, Parks and Recreation,Upright Citizen’s Brigade)
(Tour) Matt Walsh (Upright Citizen’s Brigade, Veep)
(1995) Rachel Dratch (SNL, 30 Rock)
(1995) Adam McKay (SNL, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby)
(1995) Jon Glaser (Delocated, Late Night with Conan O’Brien)
(1996) Tina Fey (SNL, Mean Girls, Baby Mama, 30 Rock)
(1996) Horatio Sanz (SNL, The New Guy, Fillmore!)
(1997) Jim Zulevic (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm)
(1999) Jack McBrayer (30 Rock)
(Tour) John Lutz (30 Rock, SNL)
(2003) Dan Bakkedahl (The Daily Show)
(2004) Frank Caeti (MADtv)

Unbelievable that all these folks walked through that little door at North and Wells and honed the art of the improv! And the best is they let regular schmoos like me take classes there. Excellent! That’s reason enough to visit Old Town!