West Loop

West Loop Condos

If plates are breaking or cheese is flaming or Oprah is holding forth from her own production facility then it’s a good bet you are in the West Loop, a thriving neighborhood made up mostly of mid-rise structures and known for its loft-style condos. The flaming cheese, of course, is Saganaki. It is to be found at any of the many restaurants in Greektown, an enclave that was a portal for immigrants and which today boasts a vast number of eateries serving any Greek dish imaginable.

It’s the place to go in Chicago if you seek saganaki, succulent roast chicken with oregano or a quick gyros. The West Loop also is where fans of the television talk show host Oprah Winfrey flock. She owns Harpo Studios and films the “Oprah Winfrey Show” in the former armory she purchased it in 1988 and renovated into a state-of-art production facility. Winfrey is not the only one who has been renovating, however. The neighborhood’s residential identity has alot to do with the large number of conversions of former warehouses, meat packing plants and factories into spacious loft condos that feature ample floor plans, exposed brick walls, wooden beams, and hardwood floors.

Something old will soon be new again at 60-unit condo planned for a former warehouse at the southeast corner of Jackson Boulevard near Sangamon Street. There will be 30 one-bedroom and 30 two-bedroom units in the building. Units will be sized from 752 to 1,744 square feet. Brixton Lofts at 1100 W. Washington Street is another loft building featuring one and two bedroom condos. Other interesting elements of these units are the 11 foot, timbered ceilings and high end finishes. With such interesting places to live and so many things to do in the neighborhood, condo dwellers will never complain of boredom in the West Loop. As people have purchased condos here, it has also attracted restaurants, night clubs, art galleries and funky boutiques and retailers. Along with condos, some of the city’s best known and highly sought restaurants claim the West Loop as their home.

When it comes to eating, you will not be disappointed by the fare in this neighborhood. You can find everything from an heirloom tomato salad to oysters on the half shell to an Italian beef sandwiches. The West Loop is just next to Chicago’s major business district, the Loop. It also is in close proximity to a couple of large employers in the area. One is the Illinois Medical District which is the second largest medical district in the United States. Some of its top notch medical facilities include University of Illinois hospitals, Rush Medical Center, and Rush Medical Center. The other large employer is the University of Illinois at Chicago which offers a range of graduate and undergraduate programs for students from Chicago, across the country and world.

When it comes to convenience, it cannot get any better than the West Loop. It is where the landmark Union Station is located between Jackson and Adams Street. This neoclassical station was built in 1925 and is the only remaining railroad terminal still in use in Chicago for intercity trains. It features a Beaux-Arts main waiting room illuminated by a vaulted skylight and adorned by statuary.

Trains leaving from the station travel to the suburbs and across the country via Amtrak. Though with all that the West Loop has to offer condo dwellers, it would not be surprising if they never chose to hop aboard.