Chicago Rental: Urban Lofts in West Loop for $995

Now that temperatures in Chicago are averaging in the 80s, the priorities for a new apartment shift a little, and moving to the top of the list is naturally some outdoor space. Perhaps a sundeck to soak in the rays and to grill out with the roomies?

That's reason No.1 to check out these one- and two-bedroom apartments in the West Loop, a former industrial part of town where old factories have been converted into posh living spaces. Private balconies and terraces usually come with a premium, but you can find buildings with communal rooftop spaces that are priced at just about the same rate as an apartment without the outdoor amenity.

According to local data, the average one-bedroom in the West Loop costs $1,437 while the average two-bedroom runs $1,904. Depending on floor plan, one-bedrooms at this complex, known as Lake Street Lofts, start as low as $995.

Two-bedrooms begin at $1225. And that's not including how much can be saved by having your pint or hot dog at home rather than at the bar. When the sun sets and your skin is a tawny brown, you'll return to a flat with 16-inch ceilings and wood beam supports, exposed brick and European-style cabinetry. But what will life be like when it's raining cats and dogs or snowing by the feet?

This building also, offers a range of amenities that are attractive all-year round, such as a 24-hour laundry center, a self-cleaning microwave, and a tier of parking options. For an extra $85 per month, parking is available and for about double the price, you can get spots that are either gate secured or for slightly more, in a heated garage.
If you have a car, you'll most likely want to hand over a little more cash for parking because the low-rise building is on the western edge of downtown and offers quick access to the city's main artery Interstate 90/94, which runs to the north and south of the city. But those without a car should note that the location of these rentals are convenient to other public transportation, the CTA and Metra.

The gentrifying neighborhood has a very urban feel. You could walk down a West Loop street, pass a couple of abandoned warehouse-like buildings, and then come across a lively eatery or a hidden fashion boutique. There might be a few more empty buildings before you find another sign of life at a coffee nook. In fact, some of the city's most delicious culinary experiences are tucked away in the West Loop.

But because the neighborhood is growing, but far from overdeveloped, you may also find that it's not as congested and noisy as some other parts of town. By the way, that's positive news for the sundeck. It might come with fewer horns beeping, truck engines roaring and less interruptions--but with more relaxation.

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