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4 Reasons To Pay Attention To Jefferson Park Real Estate

Jefferson Park is only 12 miles from the Loop, but its quiet streets and family mindset may as well be a scene out of "Pleasantville." The neighborhood also has infrastructure and an availability of vacant sites that have the attention of developers hoping to build the future of the community. Here are three reasons why developers should be looking at opportunities in Jefferson Park, and one major barrier to entry.

1. It Is One Of Chicago's Best Transportation Hubs

The Jefferson Park Transit Center, Chicago
The Jefferson Park Transit Center

Downtown rail hubs like Union Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center serve as an endpoint connecting the city and suburbs, but the Jefferson Park Transit Center at 4917 North Milwaukee Ave. is arguably one of the most vital connection points in the region's public transportation system. It serves as a station for CTA's O'Hare Blue Line 'L' branch, Metra's Union Pacific/Northwest line, 10 CTA bus routes and three Pace suburban bus routes. Last year, 2.1 million people passed through the Jefferson Park Blue Line station.

For motorists, Jefferson Park provides access to the Kennedy expressway and jobs in the north and northwest suburbs. Three major arterial streets intersect the neighborhood diagonally: Milwaukee Avenue, Elston Avenue and Northwest Highway.

2. Home Values Are Rising

Single-family homes in Chicago's Jefferson Park neighborhood.
Median home sales in Jefferson Park rose 5% in the past year.

According to data from Zillow, the median per square foot price of homes in Jefferson Park is $242/SF, which is higher than the city average. Trulia's data indicates a 5% increase in median home value over the past year. But what may be most impressive is how home vales in Jefferson Park have rebounded since the 2008 housing market crisis. Single-family home values in Jefferson Park increased from $276K in 2015 to $297K last year.

Jefferson Park's location is attractive for homebuyers looking to start and raise families in the city, while being far removed from the downtown core.

3. It Can Accommodate Mixed-Use Density

A rendering of Jefferson Place, planned in Chicago's Jefferson Park neighborhood.
Mega Realty received zoning approval to build Jefferson Place, a 16-story mixed-use development in Jefferson Park.

Developers are gradually following Milwaukee Avenue north-northwest from Logan Square and Avondale to Six Corners in search of development opportunities. It makes sense developers will eventually have Jefferson Park on their radars: The Jefferson Park Transit Center would qualify any new development nearby as a transit-oriented development, and Milwaukee Avenue is Chicago's busiest TOD corridor.

A handful of firms are planning projects in the neighborhood. Mega Realty received zoning approval for Jefferson Place, a 16-story mixed-use development at 4849 North Lipps Ave., which is a short walk from the transit center. The project calls for 114 rental units, 200 parking spaces and 10K SF of retail. Full Circle Communities wants to build a seven-story, 100-unit mixed-income apartment building at 5150 North Northwest Highway. And the Chicago Zoning Committee in March approved a four-story, 39-unit apartment building at 5201 West Lawrence.

4. NIMBYs

A rendering of a 100-unit mixed-housing development at 5150 North Northwest Highway in Chicago.
Full Circle Communities' plan to build mixed-income housing at 5150 North Northwest Highway is facing stiff resistance from Jefferson Park residents afraid the project will lead to increased crime and lower property values.

Full Circle Communities' mixed-income housing plan is facing stiff opposition from homeowners who claim the project will bring an increase in crime and a reduction in property values. Other groups argue the heights of the planned developments will shatter the character of the neighborhood. This is not new for Jefferson Park; the neighborhood has a history of using race and class arguments to oppose mixed-income and affordable housing that stretches back decades.

But Jefferson Park also has equally vocal supporters of new development who argue projects like the Northwest Highway apartments would encourage integration and spur economic growth

The biggest champion for new development in Jefferson Park is 45th Ward Alderman John Arena, who has given his blessing to these projects and headed the pushback against the NIMBYs.