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Will Tech Employees Gentrify Chicago’s South Loop?

Digested from “Tech tenants could raise real estate prices in the South Loop”
Reis (1/27/15) National News Agency (Lebanon)

With cheaper rents than other downtown neighborhoods, as well as a shortened commute, tech employees for companies such as Google, LinkedIn and Orbitz may take up residence in one of three new complexes scheduled for construction in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. 

Plans are in place to add a 24-story apartment community on the site of an old parking garage, as well as a 469-unit apartment community down the street. A condominium is also in the works. 

Could the influx of tech employees result push out lower-income residents and lead to the kind of protests against “gentrification and eviction technologies” that rocked the San Francisco Bay Area during the tech boom? Not likely, said a Chicago real estate expert. The South Loop is not trendy enough to draw many tech employees, and there isn’t such fierce competition for limited housing as there is in San Francisco. 

Instead, the new apartments may be popular with short-term renters, such as college students and recent graduates, said a leader with a neighborhood association. And elevating property values and bringing in new jobs in the South Loop would likely win over many potential critics, said business and neighbor leaders. 

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