urban (2008-02)

Could be â"Quaintâ"

Urban Renewal

Parkridge still offers affordable fixer-uppers

by Matt Edens

You read the damnedest things on the Internet. Just the other day, in the midst of an online discussion of some downtown-related topic, one of the posters made a passing comment about â“quaint, gentrified Parkridge.â” I paused for a moment, savoring the sentence. Over the years, Iâ’ve heard a lot of adjectives applied to my old â’hood, just east of downtown, but I donâ’t recall â“quaintâ” being one of them.

Seems like only yesterday that some neighbors and I were standing on a Parkridge sidewalk, having a polite argument with a group of police officers and city codes officials. The cops had a list of a hundred vacant and abandoned houses in the neighborhood and the codes guys were anxious to start knocking them over. We asked them to wait. â“Youâ’ll see,â” we said. Luckily, they listened, even if it was clear they thought we were crazy.

Then there was the co-worker shopping for what he called a â“cool, old house.â” Money was tight but that didnâ’t stop him from, in no uncertain terms, telling me he wouldnâ’t even consider an address off Magnolia. And what about the woman who, looking for historic houses to fix up, I took on a driving tour of the neighborhood? I can still remember how, sitting at a stoplight, she jabbed her power-locks shut as a homeless man ambled up to the bus stop on the corner.

And yet, there it was: â“quaint.â” Iâ’m not exactly sure when or where the perception shifted. But it certainly has. Just the other day, according to one of my realtor friends, a client asked â“if she could afford Parkridge.â”

The answer, most likely, is yes. Parkridge is a big place. And, while several blocks have seen substantive transformation, the neighborhood is still, by and large, what realtors refer to as â“transitional.â” Unlike neighborhoods like 4th and Gill or Old North, fixer-uppers still far outnumber the growing number of â“gentrifiedâ” homes.

These two are examples: one on Washington and another on Jefferson. Among the bigger houses in the neighborhood, both have a few rough edges. The one on Washington is essentially a shellâ"although a very nice one that comes complete with a brand new foundation and basement, a rear addition, and a rear roof deck overlooking the lovely restored bungalow next door. Thereâ’s also lots of original trim, including a staircase and several fireplaces with mantels.

Converted early on into a duplex, the house on Jefferson also has lots of original details, even a built-in china cabinet. Perfect for the do-it-yourselfer on a budget, you can live in half while working on the other, or possibly rent one unit out to help pay the mortgage. Oh, and thereâ’s also a studio apartment in an outbuilding off the alley.

2009 Washington Ave.

2,675 sq. ft.


2448 Jefferson Ave.

1,924 sq. ft.

4 bdrm, 2 bath

(+ studio apt.)


Contact: Jennifer Montgomery

Coldwell Banker



All content © 2007 Metropulse .