Chicago - Jefferson Park Predicament

1 Reply | Chicago, Illinois

Hey All - for those who invest on the NW-side, this is a great article on the current state of Jefferson Park (and I'm 100% biased as this is my neck of the woods :).

Area (Alderman) is extremely progressive and has pushed hard for new businesses and expansion.  This push parlayed with residents looking to escape higher-priced neighborhoods/taxes to the East, has driven JP home prices at a 17% higher clip than Chicago's average residential increase - stat from the above article.  Currently a pain point  as our properties have just been reassessed.  

From an investor standpoint, it's extremely hard to find cashflowing deals due to the already increased home prices, but you can find them.  From a flip-perspective, there's a ton of old bungalows that are probably overpriced but still off-market deals to be had (and tons of opportunity to turn a 1.5 story 1,600 sq ft bungalow to a 2200 flipped bungalow).  It's such a rock solid neighborhood -  16 min Metra/30min Blue line to downtown, 94 and 90 access, bus terminal, and a disproportional amount of city workers with good incomes and families.    

Some residents will push back on this expansion and potentially move as their suburban-feel is disrupted.  New cranes in the air will probably not help the current rent situation from a landlord-perspective, as more competition comes (however, this usually comes along with more upscale tenants now exposed to the area).  Tough to find great deals, but like every neighborhood there are deals to be had. 

Sometimes you can't see the trees from the forest, but taking my biases out of the equation, JP is moving in the right direction.


Hey @Tom Shallcross - I agree with you that Jefferson Park offers great value and tremendous upside. I am biased however, since my wife and I bought a 2-flat here in April. That being said, I have loved living here so far. The community and our neighbors have been very amicable. The proximity to both metra and CTA blue line gives us a lot of flexibility in our commutes downtown. 

Have you seen the Jefferson Park master plan? - I'm already thrilled to hear that the blue line station remodel will be starting in the fall. Hopefully the other projects mentioned in this plan can be implemented. This should give a lot of potential investors something to think about, as it could completely revitalize the neighborhood.

Alderman Arena, in my opinion, has great intentions for the neighborhood but has deserved some criticism, especially in how he's handled the development of the 5150 N Northwest Hwy project. I'm all for increasing density of Jefferson Park, it definitely needs it! However, allocating 80% of a building to low/mixed-income housing is a bit aggressive given the neighborhood character and the potential effects of that understandably violate the basis for why so many people move into Jefferson Park. While Arena calls his critics retrograde and implies racism (many of whom probably are), I personally find it understandable on a financial/psychological level that empathy diminishes when an event like that stands to decrease the value of the biggest investment (a home) you're likely to make in your life. Overall, I think he needs to be compromise a bit on that particular proposition. 

Nevertheless, I feel that Arena is doing his best to grind Jefferson Park in the direction it needs to go - which is making it an attractive, denser neighborhood for that will allow a new, younger socioeconomic base that will spur commercial growth and promote long term stability. The neighborhood now is still unrecognized by many millennials and feels stagnant and I wish many of the older, rock-ribbed residents would realize that that needs to change to some degree.