Investors are betting big on the South Side’s Washington Park neighborhood which has been recently buzzing with the prospect of becoming the future home of the Obama Presidential Library. Washington Park is in direct competition with a second site in Jackson Park located in the Hyde Park neighborhood to the east. While a presidential center at either site would be a major boon for Chicago’s South Side, Washington Park simply hasn’t enjoyed the same level of growth and investment as its Hyde Park neighbor despite a similar abundance of vintage homes, park space, and proximity to transit. With the Washington Park neighborhood poised to gain so much should the community land the coveted library, real estate speculators have been snatching up a number of possibly lucrative residential rehab projects.
Being selected as a finalist for the Obama Presidential Center is not the neighborhood's first experience being on the cusp of a potential economic renaissance. The open space of Washington Park was slated to feature prominently in the City of Chicago’s failed 2016 Olympic bid. Members of the community are hopeful that the Obama library can provide the visitors, jobs, and economic jump-start that the lost games never delivered. It is also hoped that landing the library will stabilize housing prices. According to a recent article by Crain’s, Washington Park had Chicago’s highest rate of distressed home sales over the past year. Nearly three quarters of single family homes, townhouses, and condominiums were changing hands as the result of either foreclosure or a short sale.
No timetable has been released regarding a decision on presidential center’s final location, but a growing number of real estate investors are certainly sitting pretty should things go Washington Park’s way.
·OK, Now it's Official: Obama Library Coming to the South Side [Curbed Chicago]