Three Key Guidelines For Investing In Real Estate In Chicago’s Edgewater Neighborhood

July 10, 2020

Welcome to “An Essex Broker’s Guide To,” a monthly series where Essex Realty Group, Inc. brokers share their expertise about the neighborhoods they focus on. This month Director Matt Feo shares his Edgewater Guide.

Matt Feo joined Essex Realty Group, Inc. in 2017 with a primary focus on asset valuation, market research and transaction analysis. As a Director, Matt assists clients in the successful acquisition and disposition of their investment real estate properties and has been involved in the completion of more than $100 million in investment real estate transactions. With family in the multifamily business, Matt discovered his passion for real estate at a very young age and was exposed to the investment management world early on.

Prior to Essex, Matt graduated from Marquette University with a Bachelor of Science in Commercial Real Estate and Marketing. While at Marquette, Matt was involved in many extracurricular and volunteer organizations. Matt also was chosen as one of four students his senior year to plan and propose a $55 million Commercial Real Estate development through the Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation’s annual Chicago case competition. Today, Matt remains very involved within the Marquette Real Estate Alumni organization and has continued to build strong relationships with the significant amount of Marquette Alumnus who are active in all aspects of Chicago Real Estate.

Matt is active in several professional organizations and is a member of The Edgewater Uptown Builders Association, The Rogers Park Builders Group, REIA and the Midtown Athletic Club. Outside of the office, Matt is also an active musician who writes, records, and performs original music throughout the city of Chicago, and is also passionate about personal health and fitness.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Edgewater?

Matt: Edgewater is a huge neighborhood, but it contains many sub-pockets that each have their own unique characteristics. These unique sub-pockets combine to create this large beautiful neighborhood with historic character, amazing 20th century architecture, valuable green space, and lovely beaches. I live just south of Edgewater in Uptown and regularly adventure up to Edgewater on my daily jogs to explore the streets and admire the phenomenal real estate. They just don’t make buildings like that anymore!

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Edgewater?

Matt: That is a tough question because it totally depends on my mood. I highly recommend Little Bad Wolf on the corner of Clark and Bryn Mawr if you are craving burgers. It has a great beer menu and cool ambiance. Another favorite restaurant of mine is Reza’s Restaurant on Clark Street. This spot has an awesome Mediterranean lunch buffet and before COVID I would eat here often because a professional association I am part of called EUBA, Edgewater Uptown Builder’s Association, regularly hosted their monthly meetings over lunch at Reza’s. The best coffee in Edgewater in my opinion is at Metropolis Coffee Company, which is just two blocks from Berger Park, a great lakefront park. Metropolis has great coffee and is an easy spot for me to stop by to get some work done between showings in the neighborhood. Lastly, when I am just looking to grab drinks outside with a client or friends I always suggest Hopleaf on Clark Street. They have a great patio and huge beer menu with something for everyone!

Q: If you had one hour to spend in Edgewater, what would you do?

Matt: If I only had one hour to spend in Edgewater, I would likely spend it exploring the different shops along Clark Street in Andersonville, a sub-pocket of Edgewater. Clark Street is great because here you’ll find more unique, mom and pop style shops with a charm that seems harder and harder to find anywhere else these days. I appreciate places like this, and I really admire how well they are supported by the community.

Q: Give me three reasons why I should invest in Edgewater?

Matt: There are many reasons I think people should be looking to invest in Edgewater, but here are my top three:

  • The first reason I think investors should be looking towards Edgewater is because I believe there is a lot of untapped potential in this neighborhood. Yes, over the last several years we’ve started to see more and more investment and development in the neighborhood, but I don’t think it is even close to tapped out. I still see a lot of opportunities here that present an ideal long-term investment for someone looking to purchase a property in a location that hasn’t already been overdeveloped and overimproved.
  • The second reason is that I think rental demand will continue to trend further north into the Edgewater neighborhood as neighborhoods such as Lakeview get increasingly more expensive. Additionally, Edgewater provides the convenience of the Red Line, Lakeshore Drive, and several major city thoroughfares which run directly through the neighborhood and allow residents to commute almost anywhere in the city with relative ease. Not to mention the new Peterson-Ridge Metra station should be completed in the next few years and will be an excellent addition to the neighborhood. The fundamentals and the infrastructure are there, and that makes this neighborhood a great place to look for real estate opportunities.
  • The third reason is that I feel pricing for pretty amazing real estate is far more reasonable than many other popular neighborhoods in the city. If you were to pick up any of the properties that sold in Edgewater this year and dropped them a few miles south, they would likely be twice as expensive. If my thesis holds true and the Edgewater neighborhood continues to benefit from increased demand, more development, and an influx of investment capital, people who buy in Edgewater today, with a long term strategy, will be extremely happy with their decision in the next several years.

Q: What do you think is the most underrated aspect of Edgewater?

I honestly feel like the Edgewater neighborhood itself is a bit underrated in general. There is always so much attention paid to neighborhoods further south that are considered to be more “hip and trendy” by today’s standards, but in my opinion, because of the sense of community that I see in the Edgewater neighborhood, the beautiful lakefront, and all of the fundamental strengths of the area I mentioned earlier, I feel like Edgewater still has its best days yet to come!

Since 1990, Essex Realty Group, Inc. has served Chicago’s investment real estate market as a top multifamily brokerage firm. Contact us today to learn more about our recent multifamily and mixed-use property sales.

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