An example of gentrification without excessive human displacement, the West Loop's boom didn't bust as dramatically as its condominium cousin, South Loop. Residential projects have been on a generally smaller scale: Widespread industrial loft conversion and new similarly-sized buildings characterize the housing additions of the last 20 years. A parallel restaurant boom took hold along Randolph and Fulton Market, adding to the area's abundant Greek cuisine. The West Loop is also home to a large cluster of art galleries. All this development has muddled history a bit (the Haymarket Pub & Brewery is more prominent than the monument; many meat & produce markets are now restaurants & cafes), but stories of the past are easily read in building styles and in industrial holdovers, like the few small meat and cheese distributors hard at work along Fulton Market. If this is your kind of environment—as it is for many a young professional—then check out this real estate (all lofts):
Listing: 1017 W Washington Blvd #6H [Koenig & Strey]
The Ask: $1.395M.
The Skinny: Even by loft standards, the ceilings of this 3/2.5 penthouse are quite high. It's huge for a loft too, at 3,750 sf. There aren't many pics available, but this one alone gives you the impression that the seller spared no expense in two-years' worth of renovations. Reportedly, there's a large entertaining space, a terrace facing East for skyline views, and a master suite with spa-bath. Of course, listing language rings hollow without visuals.
Listing: 737 W Washington Blvd #1508 [Prudential Rubloff]
The Ask: $565K.
The Skinny: The "most amazing three bedroom unit at the Skybridge" occupies a corner on the 15th floor, is large & bright, and, at close to 2,000 sf, has "tons of wall space for art" (if you take your cues from the seller). Its slender balcony looks out at that fortress of crud known as The Presidential Towers, but also much of the southwest side.
Listing: 1327 W Washington Blvd #5F [D'Aprile Realty]
The Ask: $399K.
The Skinny: A brick & timber 2/2 loft on the top floor, this also approaches 2,000 sf. The big deal with this unit is that, while it has no balcony (like the other units), it has rights to private rooftop development. That you have to embark on that project yourself helps explain why it's much cheaper than the comparable Skybridge unit. Other features include a wood-burning fireplace and those striking black ducts.
Listing: 1344 W Madison #404 [Koenig & Strey]
The Ask: $324,900.
The Skinny: Another 2/2 timber loft with private roof access, the difference here is that the roof space is built out and ready to break in. Also, the owners one-upped pine or maple with cherry floors. It has a southern exposure, fireplace, marble tub, and small balcony fit for grilling.