One common argument against mixing housing types and densities is that if housing type A (for example, townhouses or single-family homes) is mixed with housing type B (for example, condos), the neighborhood will somehow be “ruined” for residents of the less dense housing types.
Last week, my new wife and I visited Chicago for our honeymoon. The most interesting street we visited, on Chicago’s wealthy Gold Coast, was Astor Street, just a block from high-rise dominated Lake Shore Drive. What is unusual about Astor Street is its mix of housing types. Although this street is dominated by large attached houses, it also has a few tall-ish buildings next to the townhouses, such as the 25-floor condo building at 1300 North Astor, the 20-story Astor Villas at 1430 North Astor, and the 27-story Park Astor condos at 1515 North Astor.
Despite the tall buildings, this street felt like a quiet, beautiful, tree-shaded urban street. And the real estate market seems to agree: recent Zillow ads show a single-family house on Astor Street selling for over $2 million, and another one selling for over $3 million. By contrast, the average house in Astor Street’s zip code (60610) is valued at less than half a million dollars, and only 14.6 percent are worth over $1 million.
Clearly, multifamily housing has not “ruined” Astor Street.