HUMBOLDT PARK — Although ground was broken on construction of the 2.7-mile Bloomingdale Trail just weeks ago, it's already impacting property values in the neighborhoods it crosses.
The trail will span several neighborhoods, from the baby stroller-filled streets of Bucktown to Ridgeway Avenue in Humboldt Park, and will serve as the centerpiece of a larger system also known as "The 606." The trail is expected to have the biggest influence on homebuying west of Western Avenue.
“Property values are bumping up on their own, but [The 606] is a contributing factor,” said Staci Slattery, managing broker at North Clybourn Group, based in Bucktown. “It changes the way we feel buyers appreciate properties. It puts some places into play for people that maybe weren’t before.”
As property values in Logan Square have continued to spike, people have been looking outside of the neighborhood for more affordable options.
Maren and Ron Yeska, current Bucktown homeowners, recently visited a five-bedroom single-family home on North Troy Street near Bloomingdale Avenue, which boasted 3½ baths and a "chef's kitchen."
Maren said the couple’s search is expanding farther west than she expected, since there aren’t many homes on the market now.
“We want to live near the trail,” she said. “We have faith in what it’s going to do in the areas nearby. It should enhance the area.”
Developers and those looking to sell their homes on the future trail's western end hope other homebuyers feel the same way.
According to research by the Trust for Public Land, which is working on the project along with the City of Chicago, property values stabilize and "can increase around public amenities like parks,” Beth White, Chicago area office director, said in an email.
The trail "isn’t just about real estate values," she added. "We expect that The 606 will have a positive, sustainable economic impact … including by bringing additional tourism.”
In Logan Square, median sale prices from May to July of this year climbed to $238,500, according to real estate website Trulia. Perry Casalino, a developer who is building two new single-family homes in the 1700 block of Whipple Street near the Humboldt Park-Logan Square border, said other developers are flocking to the area as well.
“It’s the natural western progression of development out of Bucktown-Wicker Park,” Casalino said.
Casey Morales, 73, who has lived in Logan Square for 35 years, is glad the trail is coming to his neighborhood.
“Before, when you passed around here, there were prostitutes, people selling drugs. Now you don’t see anything," he said. "It’s quiet and clear — a good neighborhood.”