For the last few years we’ve been telling you about the Lexington Homes development in Bridgeport. It’s been taking vacant, formerly industrial, land around West 37th and South Morgan Streets and transforming expanses of concrete slabs and weeds into a very nice looking single-family neighbrohood.
This is an area on the edge of what used to be the infamous Chicago Stockyards, and was laid out as block after block of low-rise factories linked through a web of rail spurs stretching out to Saint Louis, Fort Wayne, and Pittsburgh. It was a major hub of employment, especially for Lithuanian immigrants, and a major source of commerce for the city; so busy it even had its own branch of the L looping through it.
Today it’s mostly vacant lots, not even suitable for parking. There are a few dozen factories still there, cranking out things like pipes and paper bags. But, much like nearby Bubbly Creek, change is in the wind.
The influx of hipsters, urban pioneers, and Chinese immigrants into the neighboring Pilsen and Chinatown neighborhoods has started transforming this area. Sandwich shops, banks, and boutiques are bubbling up (and sometimes failing), especially along the Halsted Street corridor, and the area smacks of the edgy growth patterns that characterized the South Loop a decade ago.
Now Lexington Homes has filed paperwork with the city to continue its Lexington Place development into a third phase; this one on the northeast corner of West 38th Street and South Lituanica Avenue. It’s asking the city to change the zoning from manufacturing (M2-3) to residential (RS-3).
The homes, each about 2,400 square feet and designed by Sullivan Goulette & Wilson Architects, are modernized versions of the hundreds of workers townhomes that were built in the early part of last century, lining street after street to the north and east of this industrial zone. In that way the new houses fit in with the neighborhood. But at the same time, they are also transforming the neighborhood by bringing in new families that will, themselves, be the catalysts for improved transit in the area; improved parks and recreational opportunities, and more retail to serve them.
This latest phase of the Lexington Place project brings the total number of new homes in this project to just under one hundred. They’re marketed to young families, like urban professionals who may have been able to have a first child while living in an apartment downtown or in the West Loop, but who need more room for a second child and have to change neighborhoods because childless NIMBYs in those neighborhoods do everything they can to keep three bedroom homes out of the city’s skyscrapers. To that end, the Lexington Place homes feature two-car garages, three or four bedrooms, and slightly larger than usual back yards. Prices start at a little over a half-million dollars.
Diagrams of the proposed Lexington Place Phase 3