Why we love: University Village

Stats: 2 bed, 2 bath loft

After living in the West Loop, first-time buyers Erin and Matt knew they wanted a similar neighborhood vibe, but at a more affordable price point. While researching their options, they started attending Second Fridays in Pilsen, and got to know and love the surrounding area. Six months in, they're budding neighborhood activists, working on alliances and boards to help the area grow. 

How long have you lived in your home?
We moved in this past Valentine's Day. 

 Why did you originally move here?
We knew we wanted to live somewhere similar to the West Loop, but more affordable.  University Village gives us a similar vibe, but also has a great neighborhood feel, easy commute to the Loop, diversity, and proximity to Pilsen. 

How long do you plan to live here?
Around five to seven years, unless something changes. 

What is your favorite part of your home?
Matt: I love the guest room/office. We didn't have a work space before, and it really makes such a difference. I also love how the decor turned out. 
Erin: I love that we have a corner unit, which means we have windows along the entire west wall, which most units don't include.

What is your least favorite part of your home?
This is such a tough question because we really love our home! The trains idling is probably the worst part, though it's not a big deal. 

What is your favorite part of your neighborhood?
The green spaces. We have so much grass and there are trees everywhere. It's funny, when we lived in the West Loop, we never had to worry about bugs. Now that we're down here with all the wide open spaces, we have bugs and even a few bats!

What is your least favorite part of your neighborhood?
Matt: I wish there was an economic center, one place with a large variety of shops. 
Erin: South of the train we have viaducts in very poor condition. The walls are crumbling, it's dark and dirty. We're working with the alderman to clean it up. 

What are you favorite local establishments?
Moxee Restaurant and Mad Mouse Brewery: The food and beer are both incredible
De Colores: Good, more modern/upscale Mexican
Duseks and Punch House

How do you get to work?
Matt: I either drive to Midway area or work from home
Erin: I take the Metra to the Loop--I love it!

Where do you grocery shop?
Either the Mariano's or Whole Foods in the South Loop

Are you friends with your neighbors?
Yes! We've made a big effort to get involved in our community. We're on the board of our Neighborhood Alliance, which brings together the housing association boards of the surrounding buildings so we can work together. 

Does your neighborhood feel safe?
It feels very safe. 

What is the general vibe of your neighborhood?
Friendly, relaxed and mixed in terms of age/race.