An Essex Broker's Guide to South Shore
May 08, 2020

Welcome to “An Essex Broker’s Guide To” a new series where Essex Realty Group, Inc. brokers will have the opportunity to share their expertise about the neighborhoods they focus on. This month Brian Mond shares his South Shore Guide.

Brian Mond joined Essex Realty Group, Inc. in 2016 as a Director with a specific focus on real estate located in the South Side of Chicago. Brian was exposed to real estate at an early age while working in architecture and construction with his family’s business in Argentina. He has invested, renovated, and leased apartment buildings since 2010. As a broker and investor, he understands how to navigate the complexities and inner workings of an apartment building sale and what it takes for a sale to occur.

In 2007, Brian graduated from the College of Design at Iowa State University in Ames, IA with a Bachelor of Science degree in Community and Regional Planning. In 2012, he graduated from the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University with a Master of Science in Real Estate and was honored as the Hipolito Roldan Scholar.

Brian is involved in a number of organizations and is in the advisory board of the South Side Builders Association of Chicago and is very active in team sports with the Chicago's sailboat racing the Mac Race since 2012 and racing J24s, J70s and Beneteau 36.7s nationals and club Rugby playing and coaching.

Q: What is your favorite thing about the South Side?

Brian: The never-ending lakefront. The entire shoreline is either a beach or a harbor or golf course. Also, block after block of some of the most beautifully designed buildings in the city. Maybe the world?

Q: What is your favorite restaurant on the South Side?

Brian: There are quite a few that I like, but the ones I always recommend are:

  • Woodlawn: Robust Café at the corner of East 63rd street and Woodlawn. There is a brisket grilled cheese sandwich. Enough said.
  • Bronzeville: Ain’t She Sweet on East 43rd street close to Vincennes. This place is always packed, but well worth the wait. I have not explored the menu too much since my go-to is probably the best thing ever created: Caribbean Jerk Chicken Wrap.

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

Brian: Take a historic architectural tour. The World’s Fair played a giant role in the prosperity of the South Shore and Hyde Park neighborhoods. The most grandiose mansions in Chicago are in the South Side. The properties still standing today are an example of incredible quality construction and design.

Q: What three submarkets are changing the most rapidly?

Brian: Frankly, there is so much changing every single week in the South Side. These are mostly all positive changes that are attracting new buyers. Here are just a few of the most recent developments:

In South Shore, a new grocery store opened at 71st and Jeffrey. Also, the Chicago Public Library just remodeled its South Shore Branch, located at 2505 E. 73rd Street. It caters to both families and students. This library now has a recording studio, a play space for toddlers, and a new reading department dedicated to Black History.

In Grand Crossing, the Dorchester Arts District has been incredibly vibrant, focusing on art and culture. This involves multiple venues offering pottery classes; art exhibits; poetry; open mic opportunities; and community gardens you never would have expected to see just a few years ago. I recently listed a 62-unit multifamily building located at 6800 S. Dorchester Ave. for $5,300,000 located right in the heart of the Dorchester Arts District.

From a bigger picture perspective, Chicago neighborhoods on the South Side have a history of higher vacancy and under-investment. However, these redevelopments are widely acknowledged and are helping position the South Side as an ideal area for investment. We are now seeing a shift where investors are recognizing the hidden value of these properties. In conjunction with the city’s campaign “Invest South West” and a little bit of elbow grease from these new owners, the south side will continue to improve.

Q: What is Invest South/West?

Brian: INVEST South/West is an unprecedented community improvement initiative from Mayor Lightfoot to marshal the resources of multiple City departments, community organizations and corporate partners toward 10 neighborhoods on Chicago’s South and West sides.

Through this groundbreaking collaborative of government, businesses, philanthropies, and community leaders, the City will align more than $750 million in public funding over the next three years. The initiative will seek to maximize those public investments in order to attract private capital, respond to changing commercial trends and enrich local culture.

The goal of the initiative is to re-activate neighborhood cores that have historically served as focal points for pedestrian activity, shopping, services, transportation, public spaces, and quality-of life amenities for local residents.

More about Invest South/West: www.buildchicago.org & www.chicago.gov

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

Brian: The lakefront, easy access to public transportation and its amenities. There is no urban neighborhood in Chicago that is as dedicated to preserving the natural environment more than the South Side. Starting with Hyde Park, home to the Museum of Science & Industry, the park extends west towards University of Chicago. Right there is 57th Street Beach, 59th Street Harbor, and my favorite dog park in Chicago - Jackson Bark. A little jog south is Jackson Park Golf Course, another beach, and Jackson Park Yacht Club. South Shore Cultural Center is a historic landmark located at the tip of South Shore and it is magnificent. The Cultural Center is open to the public and has its own golf course and beach. Lastly, Rainbow Beach and park extend to the very end of South Shore to South Works, where more natural preservation is underway.


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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