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Homes in the Flood Zone: Five Riverfront Digs Worth A Look

April is here! April is here! Time to park that parka and make for waterfront real estate. Typically, "waterfront" conjures visions of beaches, bikes, and the Lake Michigan sunrise. A small minority gets all frothy over the Chicago River and its promise of adventure. As humans we want to stick dwellings on top of virtually every body of water, however mangled and unnatural that body may be. With the ongoing promise of reclamation and ecological restoration (subject to fits and starts), Chicagoans want to get to know the river better. But it remains a daring proposition, with spotty results. Nothing attaches one to this resource better than homeownership (presuming a willingness to enter by boat). Here now, five alluring homes on or near the banks of the river, north and south.

1314 W 33rd Street
What/Where: 5 bed, 4.5 bath, 6,300-square-foot Bridgeport mini-manse
The Ask: $895,000
The Skinny: This new-build is insulated from the real Bridgeport by towering throngs of fellow new-builds and a broken grid abutting the River. It's kind of surreal to find a monster home subdivision clustered by the water in these parts, and there's so much of it. A good fraction of the riverbank in either direction is flanked by industry. And to the east lie older, modest residential blocks. In any case, this jumbo four-level home w/ cherry floors and high-end amenities is yours for the taking.

409 N Canal Street
What/Where: 4 bed, 3.5 bath, 3,965-square-foot Fulton River town home
The Ask: $1,499,000
The Skinny: For the big spender, this water's edge home belong's to Kinzie Park in the Fulton River District. The gated community offers direct access to the Riverwalk, and a portfolio of amenities including an indoor pool. The home provides four levels of living space with attached garage, a "drama foyer", hardwood floors, newer appliances, patio, and a roof terrace. Selling for $1.3M in the robust 2005 market, look for some slippage in the ask.

2717 W Dakin Street
What/Where: 3 bed, 3 bath Irving Park town home
The Ask: $359,900
The Skinny: This home belongs to a cluster of town homes that take a big bite out of waterfront greenspace. Although facing onto Irving Park Road, the 2006 development reads like a haphazard intrusion into California Park. Combined with Horner Park on the north side of Irving, there's potential for a lengthy stretch of uninterrupted public river access— a vision dashed by a couple dozen town homes. Though for anyone living here, the parks and river are obviously the key selling point. This attractive 3-bed has an attached garage, a grilling deck off of the kitchen, and a roof terrace. Assessments are only $310/month.

2839 W Lawrence Avenue #2D
What/Where: 2 bed, 1.5 bath, 900-square-foot Lincoln Square condo
The Ask: $115,000
The Skinny: There's nothing about this simple 1970s condo that warrants a blitz of superlatives— and we're thrilled to have found none in the listing. What's fairly cool is the tree-top balcony overlooking the river. Odor control is what one might worry about. If you end up smelling like river, let's hope others are kind enough to let you know.

5225 N Riversedge Terrace #312
What/Where: 2 bed, 2 bath, 1,380-square-foot North Park condo
The Ask: $189,900
The Skinny: For a little more than the Lincoln Square 2-bed, a buyer can snag a sizable space in the River's Edge development near Foster and Pulaski. The third floor corner unit might have crusty decor, but the large inset balcony with park, cemetery, and river views is unassailable. The location puts you across the river from a long ribbon of Forest Preserve. And if the sprawling St. Luke Cemetery immediately to the east fuels superstition, it at least protects views.