APR 18, 2013

Builders Returning to Bridgeport

Globe St.com

By Brian J. Rogal   

A Lexington Square interior

CHICAGO- The economy was swamped by a recession just when homebuilder Jeff Benach was trying to sell Lexington Square, a collection of 39 homes in the South Side community of Bridgeport. “We were right in the teeth of the bad market. It took three years,” he says, or “about twice as long as we anticipated.”

However, his Chicago-based company Lexington Homes has just opened two fully-furnished models at Lexington Square2, a new community in the same neighborhood which will have 24 single-family townhomes, and buyers have been plentiful. “The market started picking up in February,” says Benach, a co-principal of the firm, and they sold four of the homes in March alone. Lexington has now sold eight of the townhomes and broken ground on six more.

Lexington Square2 homes have two possible floor plans with up to 2,507-square-feet. Base-priced from $379,900 to $414,900, the three-story homes include three bedrooms, 2.5 baths, rooftop decks with skyline views, and attached two-car garages.

Lexington Homes has been around for decades and has built roughly 40,000 homes. The company expects to finish selling this collection by the end of the year or the first quarter of 2014 at the latest.

“It’s been like night and day,” Benach says, comparing the current market with that during the recession. The plans for the second phase of Lexington Square were finalized over the winter of 2011-12, and the company had expected to face a sluggish market. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised.”

“We are by far not the only builder down there,” which was another surprise. “There hadn’t been homes built there for a long time.” In the past few years, other developers told Lexington officials that building homes in this slice of Bridgeport, one mile east of U.S. Cellular Field at 3618 S. Sangamon St. was a money-losing proposition. But now, in addition to the Lexington project, other blocks have home-building crews hard at work. “It’s now established as just another nice part of Bridgeport.”

"Buying a Lexington Homes house was definitely a great experience."

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