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Curbed Cup 1st Round: (5) Avondale vs. (12) Irving Park

The Curbed Cup, Curbed Chicago's annual Neighborhood of the Year tournament, is kicking off with 16 'hoods, which will square off in a series of one-on-one matchups. Voting for each matchup will close in the breakfast hour of the following day. We'll showcase two first round contests per day through the week with results reviewed on Friday. Let the eliminations begin!

There's little need to butter up Avondale, they're the reigning Cup champs. 2013 was, by our accounting, a decent year for the nabe. The Milwaukee Avenue strip north of Diversey may be starting to accommodate Logan Square hipster spillover with the opening of La Farine bakery and coffee shop, but it's still just one business at the end of the day. The real gentrification is clustering around the Logan Theater a half-mile south. Avondale's Milwaukee Ave continues to be a Polish and Latino corridor, and why not? In other news, the Hairpin Lofts flatiron building at Milwaukee, Diversey, and Kimball was renovated and converted to 28 affordable rentals with retail space and an arts center. And up on Belmont alongside the Kennedy, Northeastern Illinois University's radically-designed El Centro Campus is moving in the right direction.

Irving Park, Avondale's neighbor to the north and west, encompasses a few distinct sub-neighborhoods: Kilbourn Park, The Villa, West Walker, and Old Irving Park. Old Irving Park is, not surprisingly, the original town center pre-annexation. It has a wide spectrum of housing, from bungalows to grand Victorians. The Villa, dubbed "Polish Kenilworth" by late journalist Mike Royko, is a triangular quarantine of beautiful show homes and craftsman bungalows. It's a Chicago and National landmark district. Irving Park as a whole has decent transit connections, a highway, old world retail corridors, shopping plazas, and affordability for homebuyers. There's not a ton of significant development to report, we're afraid, but we'll leave you with one mid-sized apartment project targeting vacant land on Milwaukee b/w Belmont and Addison.
·Curbed Cup 2013

Poll results