Chicago Heads, Bronzeville Yay or Nay??

4,063
954
Joined Dec 13, 2003
So I've decided to take the Illinois bar and move to Chicago.  Now I am looking for a place that is nice and have a historic feel.  My boy lives in Bronzeville, on 87th and Indiana Ave., and I love his spot.  Although, the area seems to be a little rough, it still seems to be some nice spots around there.  So my question to all of you Chicago natives is this, what do you think of this sub-division?  Can I find some nice condos/lofts/townhomes/brownstones around there for rent?  Basically, what are you all's general opinions on the area.
 
10,732
43
Joined Feb 12, 2008
Originally Posted by CJDynasty

Actually its 37th and Michigan. I missed typed.
oh haha, i was wondering what you were talking about bronzeville and that area


that's a pretty decent area though, close to the white sox stadium

my buddy lives around 21st and michigan and he loves the area...obviously you're a little ways from there though.
 
4,063
954
Joined Dec 13, 2003
Yea I like this area alot when I visit my friend. Seems to be on the up and up too! Im strongly leaning towards this area.
 
527
51
Joined Oct 9, 2000
It really depends on what you are looking for.  The neighborhood has a lot of history and the housing inventory is mostly vintage with a lot of new construction-withing the last 5-10 years.  There are a ton of brownstone and greystone buildings in the area.  There had been a lot of development but there are still a lot of run down buildings and vacant land.  The real estate slow down has stalled development in the area.  Commercial services and daily necessities can be hit and miss here. 

If you are looking for an area where you have amenities or shopping that you can walk to with convenience this might not be the perfect place.

Chicago overall has an 'old' feel in many neighborhoods.  It depends on what you are looking for.

If you have any other questions or would like help finding a place, I sell real estate.  I do not do a ton of apartment rentals, just for friends but I could help you out.
 
1,225
10
Joined Dec 6, 2003
Originally Posted by rsdplaya

Originally Posted by CJDynasty

Actually its 37th and Michigan. I missed typed.
oh haha, i was wondering what you were talking about bronzeville and that area


that's a pretty decent area though, close to the white sox stadium

my buddy lives around 21st and michigan and he loves the area...obviously you're a little ways from there though.
21st and michigan is much more legit.

37th?


iono about all that
 
4,063
954
Joined Dec 13, 2003
Originally Posted by xfile 11

It really depends on what you are looking for.  The neighborhood has a lot of history and the housing inventory is mostly vintage with a lot of new construction-withing the last 5-10 years.  There are a ton of brownstone and greystone buildings in the area.  There had been a lot of development but there are still a lot of run down buildings and vacant land.  The real estate slow down has stalled development in the area.  Commercial services and daily necessities can be hit and miss here. 

If you are looking for an area where you have amenities or shopping that you can walk to with convenience this might not be the perfect place.

Chicago overall has an 'old' feel in many neighborhoods.  It depends on what you are looking for.

If you have any other questions or would like help finding a place, I sell real estate.  I do not do a ton of apartment rentals, just for friends but I could help you out.
Would love to connect with you.  I have a few questions.  PM!
 
1,879
1,364
Joined Feb 21, 2006
Yes sir!  Bronzeville in my opinion is the best place to live in Chicago for a number of reasons, including:

- It's close to downtown
- It's next to I-90/94
- It's next to Lake Michigan
- It's next to Lake Shore Drive
- It's slightly expensive for the Southside but VERY inexpensive compared to the Northside
- Has great access to public transportation (Red Line, Green Line, buses)

I've been living on the Lo End for two years now and I love it for all the reasons listed above but more so for the community itself.

As for the historical nature of the community, there are few places in the country more significant than Bronzeville.  It was the second-largest black community in the country next to Harlem and probably second to only Harlem as far as significance.  When the Great Migration (or, more accurately, Evacuation) occurred in the first half of the twentieth century, Bronzeville was the only place black folks could live in Chicago for decades.  The book Black Metropolis is an extremely famous and seminal study of the community written in the mid-1900s.  It goes on and on...

Let me know if you have any more questions fam.  Peace
 
4,063
954
Joined Dec 13, 2003
^^ Thanks fam I appreciate the info. I actually do have more questions. What areas does Bronzeville actually cover? Dan Ryan to King(east/West) and 30th to 47th(north/south)? Also, what do you think of the real estate? I've been browsing some of the property and it seems to be rather affordable. Im looking to purchase a condo if its the right buy. Lastly, I know that they have a central police station located there, so I heard that this has cut down on the crime significantly. I guess before I make major purchase in getting a condo, I want to make sure that the area is viable. But all of those things that you mentioned definitely are positives for me. Coming from Ohio, I love the fact that I can ride the train and can still drive if I want. And the Lake right there is a HUGE bonus
 
1,879
1,364
Joined Feb 21, 2006
Bronzeville essentially covers from 26th St. on the north to 51st St. on the south and from the Dan Ryan to the lake.  It's really made up of the "Quad Communities," Grand Boulevard, Douglas, Oakland, and Kenwood (which is often divided into Kenwood and North Kenwood).  In order from roughest to least rough: Grand Boulevard, Oakland, North Kenwood/Douglas (tie), Kenwood.

As far as real estate, the area is definitely on the come-up, although I'm not sure how fast that come up will be.  The main reason for this (other than the general national trend toward gentrification) is the demolition of nearly all of Chicago's public housing, the vast majority of which was concentrated in Bronzeville.  Tens of thousands of public housing units (including Robert Taylor Homes, Stateway Gardens, Ida B. Wells Homes, Madden Park, most of Lake Parc Plaza, etc.- all in Bronzeville) were destroyed and replaced with less than one thousand units.  The residents of these projects were almost always left with no assistance in finding new public or even affordable housing which has led to the schools in the area having some of the highest rates of student homelessness in the city... but I digress.

There has been some redevelopment but probably half of the community remains vacant property, mostly empty lots but still plenty of boarded up buildings.  There is little economic development in the community right now even though they were trying to make 47th St. into a viable economic corridor, it really hasn't happened.  There are some great, small black-owned businesses though...

There is a police headquarters located at 35th & Michigan, which, along with the demolition of the projects, has definitely decreased crime significantly in the area.  The community went from being one of the most violent and infamous in the entire city to being still pretty hood but a shell of its former self crime- and violence-wise.

Hope that helps.  If you want to know anything else, let me know fam.
 
4,063
954
Joined Dec 13, 2003
Thanks Red MPLS, your contribution is very helpful. Didn't know that they had so much public housing concentrated in that area. I agree with you, when im in the area, I do notice a lot of vacant lots and buildings. But everyone keeps telling me that the area is coming back. But as you said, that time table is unknown. I guess I am just still kind of nervous about buying real estate there and the area never bounces back.

So im google mapping the area as we speak and I see that Douglas is the actual area of Bronzeville that I want to be in. Im very attracted to that 35th area, because of the access to the trains there. But obviously it seems the further north you go, the higher the price for the property. That Kenwood/N.Kenwood/Oakland seem like it would be difficult to catch a train from those areas. Again, thats why Douglas is attractive to me. Grand Boulevard also seems close to a train, but you described it as the most roughest. Can you elaborate on that some more?

Thanks again for answering all of my questions!
 
1,879
1,364
Joined Feb 21, 2006
I would not worry about a real estate investment in Bronzeville (any area in the community) as being a "bad" investment.  The community is decent as it is, it really doesn't need to bounce back... and it will never return to either of its former selves: the first being the "Black Metropolis," a thriving, essentially self-contained, economically diverse black community; the second being the "Lo End," an infamous, largely poor, project-filled, crime, drug, and gang-ridden community.  Right now it is neither but has some characteristics of both- it has become more economically diverse again (economic if not yet racial gentrification), yet has retained some of the gangs, drugs, and violence that pervaded the community for decades.

As far as Grand Boulevard being the roughest area in Bronzeville, I mean it has the most shootings, least housing development (along with Oakland), etc.  The area was home to the "State Street Corridor" which was essentially 20 straight blocks of high-rise public housing along State St. from 35th St. to 55th St.  This included the Stateway Gardens and the extremely infamous Robert Taylor Homes which are now gone from the face of the earth but they had, and continue to have, a tremendous impact on the housing and economic condition of the area.

I can't see the community getting any "worse" at this point.  And if you live north of 35th St. you're really in a middle class area anyway and that's not going to change (although 35th St. can still get a lil reckless even with the police station).  It really just depends on your expectations and "standards" for the community you live in.  If you want an area with very little violence, gangs, drugs, and good housing and economic development, look on the North Side.  If a certain degree of those things don't bother you too much and you want somewhere cheaper to live and you would like to live in a black community, Bronzeville is a great place for you, even the Grand Boulevard area.

If you want to be able to walk to the Red Line, you really want to live between King Dr. and the expressway and between 33rd St. and 37th St. or 45th St. and 49th St.  But there are bus lines that run very frequently on 35th St. and 47th St. all the way to the lake which make getting to the train very easy.  Buses also run (although less frequently) on 39th, 43rd, and 51st.

Also, if your main concern as far as the train is access to downtown (and not further south) you could consider living further east as well as the Green Line is further east and runs into downtown.  There are stops on 35th, 40th, 43rd, 47th, and 51st.
 
4,063
954
Joined Dec 13, 2003
Originally Posted by red mpls


If a certain degree of those things don't bother you too much and you want somewhere cheaper to live and you would like to live in a black community, Bronzeville is a great place for you, even the Grand Boulevard area.
This is exactly what I want.  I would prefer to be in a black community.  Especially one that is home to young black professionals maybe.  But thats not a deal breaker.  Again, my boy and his girl live at 37th and Indiana.  He has no complaints about the area.  When I go and visit, nothing about the area seems to be discouraging to me.  Outside of the vacant lots and the "old" feel, the area seems to be perfect for me.

I also hear that you can get the same type quality in Bronzeville as you would get in say a Hyde Park,but cheaper.   Is this true.  Hyde Park seems to be ridiculously priced up, and its further south than Bronzeville.  Whats your take on the Hyde Park area?  Also, how about Washington Park?  Both seems to be close to the Bronzeville area.

As always, thanks for your insight!
 
1,879
1,364
Joined Feb 21, 2006
It depends on what you mean by "quality" when comparing Bronzeville and Hyde Park.  You can get a nicer apartment, condo, or home in Bronzeville for much, much cheaper than in Hyde Park so in that sense, yes you can get the same or better quality.  If you're talking about the community itself, people would generally consider Hyde Park as much more attractive due to the virtual non-existence of vacant properties, more economic development, much higher median income, proximity to the University of Chicago, greater isolation from impoverished areas, etc.  That doesn't make Hyde Park more attractive to me personally, but for a lot of people, especially young professionals (and definitely white folks... really anyone who isn't black) it probably would.

In my opinion, Hyde Park is generally ridiculously overpriced almost to the point of absurdity.  It's considered a "hip" place to be for college students, white folks, people that want to live on the South Side but not really live on the South Side, etc.  If being "hip" in this way is not of critical importance to you, which it seems it's not, I would definitely not recommend living in Hyde Park.

Washington Park is the hood.  It's really an extension of the Grand Boulevard area (which, along with Oakland in Bronzeville, would definitely still be considered the hood as well) without even the little redevelopment that Grand Boulevard has and without the forced removal of a great portion of the area's impoverished population (as happened in Bronzeville with the destruction of the projects).  Personally, I would have no problem living there but I'm sure a lot of folks would.  It's definitely not as bad as Englewood or Austin (currently the most violent and notorious communities in the city) but it's probably in the next tier down as far as violence goes (along with areas like Woodlawn, Humboldt Park, East Garfield Park, etc.).

Happy to help man...
 
4,063
954
Joined Dec 13, 2003
My boy actually echoed much of the same about Hyde Park. This little bird I know from Chicago, keeps trying to sell me the dream on living in Hyde Park, but it doesn't makes sense for me to pay that type of money to live there. Especially when I can get better quality in Bronzeville.

As far as Washington Park being the hood, that is great advice. As I will steer away from there. No problems with the hood, but I'd prefer to not move into someone else's not being from Chicago. The area that I am attracted to at this point is 35th to 43rd from Michigan over to S.Cottage Grove. I've seen some places on Giles, Indiana, Calumet, and S. Cottage Grove that I really love. Would this be considered Douglas? Or is it N.Kenwood?

I will be up in Chicago the last week of this month scouting out places and meeting with potential employers. My goal is to do all my research now so that I can comb that area thoroughly.
 
1,879
1,364
Joined Feb 21, 2006
I feel you on moving into an unfamiliar hood
.  The area that you're talking about is pretty much the southern edge of Douglas and the northern end of Grand Boulevard and western edge of Oakland (depending on which map you use).  There is a lot of diversity in terms of "quality" even within that section of blocks, some pretty nice spots and some real reckless areas.

Overall it's a great area to live in, in my opinion.

Check your PM.
 
Top Bottom