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A Renter's Guide to the Sweet Life in Avondale

The tendrils of gentrification have reached along the Milwaukee Ave corridor to Avondale in the last several years. The result (however temporary) is a hodgepodge of peoples, lifestyles, and housing types. Converted warehouses (Shoemaker and Belmont Lofts) and townhouse infill make the industrial-residential divide slightly less absolute. Parts of Avondale are logical extensions of Logan Square's quiet frame house-lined residential blocks. Other parts are almost improvised. Active industry congregates along the river, near the highway, and along Elston. Vacant industry and surface lots also make their presence felt in these areas. The trope of the live-work artist with foodie tendencies is alive and well in Avondale— Kuma's Corner and Hot Doug's are practically synonymous with the neighborhood, so beware the lines. The 'hood has always been ethnically integrated, even stretching back to the 19th century. Prior to the arrival of young whites, it was dubbed the place "where Eastern Europe meets Latin America". That still holds, for the most part. Rents are considered affordable, and markedly better than Logan to the South of The Kennedy. The down market has incited some big price collapses in the for-sale sector, so it's also not a bad place to buy right now. Here now, a snapshot renter's guide to Avondale:

Rental Units: Rental accommodations range widely from converted loft spaces to garden apartments, single family homes, newer condos, and conventional apartment buildings. The litter of lackluster condos along Elston and Belmont—products of the "West Roscoe Village" days—are good places to start when out for a deal.

Rent Range: Studios as low as $600; one-beds for $750-$1,200; two-beds for $850-$2,200; three-beds for $1,000-$2,800.

Neighborhood Highlights: Along with the aforementioned culinary flagships, the neighborhood has a ton of ethnic eats and markets with an emphasis on Latin American and Polish. The river is also a definite perk, with slivers of public access. For parks there's Kosciuszko, Brands. Cross the border into Irving Park and sizable Horner Park spreads north up the river. Some budding cultural institutions include music, art, and theater venues like The Galaxie, The Abbey Pub, and The Factory Theater. The area can be disorienting, so we recommend extended day trips to really get a handle on things.

Sample Rental Listings:
·3100 N Drake Ave 4/2 single-fam for $3,000.
·3211 W Lexington St. #1B 2/2 town home for $1,500.
·3725 W Cornelia Ave. 1/1 apartment for $850.
·3748 W School St. 3/1 apartment for $1,395.
·3963 W Belmont Ave #603 2/2 loft for $1,900.

·Avondale Coverage [Curbed Chicago]
·All Renters Week 2012 Coverage [Curbed Chicago]