BRIDGEPORT — As Realtors entered the front door of a sparkling new tri-level model home, Regina Castle greeted guests and let them know that the neighborhood is “hot, hot, hot.”
Castle, sales manager for Lexington Homes, was helping host the “Taste of Bridgeport,” a Realtors-only event designed to introduce real estate professionals to the neighborhood — with a showcase of samples from the area’s restaurants to help them get acclimated.
Lexington is building dozens of new homes in the area near Donovan Park to accommodate what they call a neighborhood baby boom.
The first development, 37 rowhouses known as Lexington Square, are sold out. A second phase of 24 more homes is being built behind it, with seven of those are already sold. Prices begin at $379,000.
That’s higher than recent median sale prices.
Citing Midwest Real Estate Data statistics, Chicago Magazine listed the 2012 median sale price of detached housing in Bridgeport as $258,000 and the median sale price of townhomes and condos as $155,000.
But the construction quality and size of the new homes, not to mention rooftop decks with skyline views and proximity to across-the-street Donovan Park, likely account for the higher prices.
A few blocks away, Lexington has begun construction has on another development: nine single family homes known as Lexington Place selling at a base price of $463,000. The company said 70 percent of those homes have already been sold.
And the company is not done building.
Lexington co-principal Jeff Benach was light on specifics but said Tuesday the homebuilder would be erecting more single-family housing on a nearby plot of land.
A different company, Morgan Street Development, will be building even more houses in the area, 15 single family homes on 37th Street just south of Donovan Park.
Bridgeport’s location — virtually in the direct center of the city and near two major expressways, plus CTA access — is ideal for couples torn between life in the 'burbs and the city, the homesellers said.
“When they come here they find the golden ticket,” Castle said.
For real estate agents, Tuesday’s mid-day event was a way to get familiar with the neighborhood, which many said they know mostly for its proximity to U.S. Cellular Field.
As they nibbled on cauliflower salad from Nana Organic and sipped on joe from Bridgeport Coffee Company, the real estate pros chatted about the burgeoning neighborhood, hailed by Realtors in a Time Out Chicago piece as the “next Logan Square.”
After taking a look around, real estate broker Linda Pitts said she liked what she saw. The Pill Hill native said she’s only been to Bridgeport about three times recently.
Pitts, who’s black, said she wouldn't have felt welcome in Bridgeport in years past.
"Twenty years ago, if you were going to tell me this was here? No way would I believe you. No. Way. But look what’s going on now,” she said. “It’s so cool.”