In recent years, some of the most dynamic change in the city's housing profile has been in South Side neighborhoods, as a wave of rehabs swept through the areas that had previously been pockmarked with foreclosures, a new-construction boom refilled dozens of long-empty lots in Bronzeville and Woodlawn.
Will the city's recent upheaval slow these South Side neighborhoods' revival?
"We will bounce back, but it's going to take a while."
Then came the spasm of looting in the wake of protests over George Floyd's death in Minneapolis. Several of the South Side's commercial corridors were hit, including areas around 47th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue and near 95th Street and Stony Island Avenue. In these neighborhoods, shops and restaurants are far less numerous than along Milwaukee Avenue on the North Side, where there was also looting, giving the damage a larger relative impact.
Will the looting that resulted in board-ups two blocks long in some places undercut the South Side's years of improvement?
"Clearly the unrest dampens the enthusiasm in the community," Ald. Pat Dowell, 3rd, said a week after the looting had died down. "I'm optimistic that we will bounce back, but it's going to take a while."
Dowell said that because the trouble spots were all on commercial streets, residential blocks inside the grid "are just as good as they ever were" and that after a few days' pause during the worst of it, "I'm still getting the emails from developers saying they want to find land in Bronzeville, they want to build in Bronzeville."
It's too soon to have data that measures the impact of the week's looting on the housing market. Perhaps down the line, sales figures will show that prices plunged or the boom fizzled, but for now, most sources told Crain's that they expect it to have been merely a single frightening episode.
'A MOMENT IN TIME'
The looting was "a moment in time," says Sheila Dantzler, a Jameson Sotheby's International Realty agent who focuses on Bronzeville and with her husband, Erik Dantzler, principal of R&D Builders, has developed both residential and commercial properties in the neighborhood. "It was a terrible event and very disappointing," she says, but "it's going to be behind us. Look how swiftly everything was cleaned up." After looting left its shelves empty June 1, the Mariano's grocery store at 38th Street and King Drive reopened June 5.
Dantzler says that a week after the looting, she was showing some potential buyer AG亚洲国际游戏homes priced over $400,000. To get to the properties, "we had to pass parts of 43rd Street and 47th Street that were boarded up," she says, and they never said to me, 'I'm not going to buy here.' "
In Calumet Heights, buyers put a bungalow on the 8800 block of Cornell Avenue under contract on June 8, days after looting on 87th Street, Stony Island Avenue and 95th Street. Built in the mid-1950s, the bungalow hasn't been renovated in at least 30 years and needs an upgrade. "It got three offers," says Chantill Fisher Greer, the Keller Williams Elite agent who represented the property, with an asking price of $149,000. "It's on such a nice block," she says. "What happened nearby isn't going to change that."
Because the deal hasn't closed yet, Greer could not identify the buyers or their agent, but she says the buyers are end users, not flippers, who plan to rehab the house for themselves.
Ald. Michelle Harris, in whose 8th Ward the Cornell Avenue house sits, says that when the looting erupted at an Auto Zone, a Walgreens and other stores, she was concerned that "it would hurt investment in our community." Then she saw how many volunteers showed up to help the cleanup efforts. She believes that was in part their way of saying, "We need you here Walgreens, we want you to come back, Auto Zone. We're investing in our communities, and we want you to."
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