SEP 3, 2010

Quiet urban setting with rooftop deck

Chicago Tribune

Manny and Luz Aguirre, who have been married for about a year, were casually beginning their new-home search late last summer when a co-worker pointed Luz in the direction of Lexington Square in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood. The couple called the community that same day, visited at 2 p.m. and by the end of the day had put a deposit down on a new home.

Quiet urban setting with rooftop deck"We lived in the area but did not know anyone was building in this location," said Luz. "My co-worker is also a Realtor, so she knew about Lexington Square and how great it is. Sure enough, the same day we went to see the houses, we fell in love with the home we have now."

Lexington Square is a new development of 39 single-family row homes eight blocks west of U.S. Cellular Field. The community offers two floor plans ranging from 2,216 to 2,507 square feet. With base prices from the mid-to-upper $300,000s, the three-story homes come standard with three bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, rooftop decks, granite countertops in the kitchen and baths, hardwood flooring, 9-foot ceilings on main and upper floors and attached two-car garages. Additional bedrooms and baths are available.

The Aguirres, who were renting an apartment in Bridgeport, liked the area for its convenience to the city, public transportation and great restaurants.  "There's a park right across the street from our new home, and everything is convenient for us," said Manny. "I work downtown and can take the Orange Line 'L,' and Luz works at UIC, which is nearby. Plus, since I'm from Pilsen and Luz is from South Deering, our families are in the area, so we're still close to them."

The couple also like the friendliness and tranquility of the neighborhood.   "It's quiet, but it has a city feel to it," said Luz. "As soon as we moved in, we met our neighbors. We also like to take walks and find new places. We've discovered some new restaurants nearby that we've grown fond of."
The Aguirres selected the Buckingham floor plan. The 2,507-square-foot home includes three bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths.  "We love that we got to choose everything for our new home, from the flooring to the granite countertops to the colors of certain finishes," said Luz. "It was fun to make the selections, and it made our home very personal."

On the home's lower level, the couple opted for a den with hardwood flooring, as opposed to converting the space into a fourth bedroom. They plan to turn it into an entertainment room.  The main living level features a combination living and dining room, kitchen, powder room and laundry room. The Aguirres decided to add hardwood flooring and a fireplace to this level, while granite countertops and stainless steel appliances were included by the homebuilder.   "Our kitchen and living room area is really big," said Manny. "We love our fireplace, and it has a unique detail on either side where we put shelving and decorations, and it looks great. We also love that there are lots of windows and light."

The Aguirres also frequently use the balcony off the kitchen. "Since we have a view of the park from our balcony, we eat dinner there and watch the Little League Baseball games."  The laundry room in the kitchen area is another convenience Luz appreciates. "It's very helpful to have the laundry near the living area, as laundry is usually in the basement," she said. "It's also nicely hidden."

Upstairs, the master suite has a walk-in closet, and the bathroom has a soaking tub and walk-in shower, both with tile surrounds. A dual-bowl raised-height vanity with granite countertop, a private water closet and ceramic flooring are also included.  "I feel a little spoiled by our walk-in closet, which is very big," said Luz. "Our apartment had one small closet, and I took up 97 percent of it. Now, we share it evenly. We also love our bath and the double sinks. We don't have to stand over each other any more. We love the chocolate-colored granite and the tile we selected. We get lots of compliments on our bathroom."  One of their secondary bedrooms is used as an office, and the other is a guest room. They plan to convert the office to a nursery one day.

Another feature the Aguirres like is the indoor garage.  "I have to get up early for work, when it's still dark out," said Luz. "I used to have to get up even earlier to brush the snow off my car. Now, it's much easier to get to work."

In addition to the balcony, the home has a yard and rooftop deck.  "We get free fireworks shows from Sox stadium from our balcony," said Manny. "And our rooftop has a really nice view. We like to go up there in the summer, especially on weekends. It was great on the Fourth of July, as we could see everything. We plan to put in a garden and little patio area even."

Lexington Square also offers the Grant Elite floor plan. This 2,216-square-foot row home has three bedrooms and 21/2 baths. Fully decorated models for each floor plan are available for tours, and a selection of homes is available for immediate move-in.

Bridgeport is a distinctive neighborhood with two identities. The old Bridgeport lives on in the spirit of the city politicians, stockyards, the White Sox and the proud, working-class ethic. The new Bridgeport is a renaissance neighborhood. The historic taverns still thrive, while new art galleries, pubs and trendy shops have entered the scene.

The sales center at 3704 S. Sangamon St. is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 773-523-5900 or visit lexingtonchicago.com.

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"As first time home buyers, we were nervous to say the least when we decided to start looking for a place to buy."

- Ravi and Indira