a half-century of disdain and indifference, much of Chicago's
South Side--especially the University community of Hyde Park--has
taken off, becoming a "hot" market in a "hot"
Chase needs a place to live, in Hyde Park--maybe. An
Emmy-winning photojournalist turned art photographer, house rehabber,
and partner of a poet, he has a 12:30 appointment to tour the
neighborhood and see some real estate with Rose Dyrud, supervisor
of housing services for
the University. But he's running late. He's circling the block.
There's no place to park.
purposeful man, he double-parks, finds Rose. A resourceful woman,
she guides him into a gated lot, shepherds him into her Toyota,
and speeds him to a one o'clock date to see a set of condominiums
being converted at 5225 South Greenwood. His goal is to get acquainted
with the South Side, gauge the local housing market, gain a sense
of what's out there and what it's going to cost, and perhaps find
the perfect home, at a tolerable price. Hers is to convince him
it can be done. In some ways, the future of the community, and
the University--as it competes to recruit and retain top faculty,
staff, and students--depends on her continued success.
new Co-op is the area's first major grocery store in 50-plus
(not his real name) is the advance guard for his partner, an up-and-coming
poet and a potential U of C faculty member, author of three books,
winner of major prizes and fellowships, and a finalist for several
literary awards. He teaches creative writing at a big Midwestern
university, recently entertained a rival offer from a California
university, is currently a visiting professor at a Big Ten school,
and may be coming to Chicago.
own a beautiful Craftsman-style house in a smaller city: three
bedrooms, about 1,800 square feet, a mile from campus. They bought
it for $80,000 a few years ago and have fixed it up. They're looking
to find comparable housing, at something not too far from a small-town
price. They liked southern California but not the depressed area
around the campus, and they have not been thrilled with the Big
Ten town. "Too laid back," says Chase. "Every day there feels
old Co-op shopping
center now has a sidewalk cafe.
Dyrud zips north on Ellis, Chase studies the neighborhood, weighing
the details, rounding out his first impressions, dominated initially
by the parking issue. He is encouraged to see few bars on apartment
windows. Although the first pedestrian they pass walks a pit bull,
the sight is soon offset by a stylish poodle/owner pair. "I don't
have a lot right now to show you," says Dyrud as she turns onto
52nd. "The market's very tight."
a seller's market?"
"It's a seller's market."