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4 Reasons Not To Ignore Hyde Park

It's easy to view Hyde Park as an outlier of South Side development; it seems hermetically sealed from the surrounding neighborhoods. But the area has been watched by developers and investors for years and now Hyde Park is on the verge of a real estate breakthrough.

We've identified four reasons Hyde Park is poised to see an uptick in real estate activity.

1. The University of Chicago


The University of Chicago casts a long shadow over Hyde Park — the school is the catalyst for most, if not all, of the real estate activity in the neighborhood. From Midway Plaisance to Washington Park, you can't walk a block in Hyde Park without feeling the school's presence. When U of C isn't selling off its multifamily and retail assets, it's buying parcels and buildings for future development.

The school opened a new campus residential center last September, designed by starchitect Jeanne Gang. U of C has also been instrumental in encouraging development along East 53rd Street and Harper Court, and won the bid for the Obama Presidential Library.

2. Retail


Not long ago, Hyde Park residents had to travel outside of the neighborhood to enjoy Chicago's nightlife and shopping. That's changed in a heartbeat thanks to the redevelopment of Harper Court. McCaffery Interests and the University of Chicago managed to take a once-barren strip mall and transform it into a mixed-use project anchored by retail. Native Foods Cafe, LA Fitness and Hyatt Place call Harper Court home, and they'll soon be joined by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, which is opening a brewpub.

Harper Court is the epicenter for a growing retail corridor along 53rd Street, and next up may be East 57th Street, which has quietly developed into a strong restaurant row with popular eateries like Medici, Z&H Marketcafe and Cemitas Pueblas, serving both longtime Hyde Park residents and U of C students.

3. Multifamily Development


Developers and investors see room for growth in Hyde Park rentals, and activity is brisk in both ground-up and adaptive reuse. Avison Young delivered Vue53 last September (shown). Construction is underway for Solstice on the Park, a 26-story building designed by Studio Gang Architects.

And scores of U of C's former dormitories have new lives as apartments. 3L Real Estate repositioned Blackstone Hall, MacLean Hall and Broadview Hall into apartments priced to compete with the rents of the new U of C dorms.

4. Future Infrastructure Improvements


To longtime Chicago residents, Hyde Park is often viewed as a landlocked bubble isolated from the rest of the city and hard to access via public transit. That's changing. One of the reasons for Harper Court's success is that shoppers can access it via the Metra Electric and South Shore rail lines, while several bus lines stop steps from the shopping center. Metra announced $4.6M in station improvements along the Electric line, while the Coalition for a Modern Metra Electric (CMME) wants to see more frequent service along the line and better fare integration with CTA and Pace suburban bus service.

Chicago Transit Authority announced on Sunday that the Garfield Boulevard Green Line 'L' station will undergo a $50M renovation that will include escalator and elevator improvements, landscape enhancements, extending platform canopies to provide more shelter and installing public art inside the station. The original station house will be repurposed for public use, and the pedestrian crossing and bike lanes will be improved.