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Logan Square Is Officially Cool, Say The Real Estate Pros

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jul 7, 2016 5:04PM

Logan Square is cool—and now there's quantifiable proof! Well, sort of. Respected arbiters of taste/global real-estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield have named Logan Square one of the top cool spots in their new report, Cool Streets of North America. (Never mind that it's, um, a neighborhood, not a street.) Less awesome but hip-enough nabes Wicker Park, Fulton River District, and Bucktown/Damen Avenue also landed in the top 100.

The report combines some of the "bohemian barrio"-esque obliviousness of a New York Times Travel piece with the "Marketing to Millennials" tone of a desperate retail seminar, and tops it off with rather curious methodology. (The report's been out for a while now, but we saw it after DNAinfo posted about it earlier today.)

To wit:

In this report, we explore the rise of dozens of exciting new retail districts across the United States and Canada in urban (and urbane) neighborhoods profoundly impacted by the rise of the Millennial consumer. Make no mistake about it, these are largely
“hipster” neighborhoods notable for their embrace of the unconventional, the out-of-the-box, and the cool. In some cases, these are longstanding bohemian enclaves known as focal points for local arts, music or LGBT communities. But most of the neighborhoods featured in this report are up-and-coming trade areas driven by dramatic demographic shifts and the strong Millennial preference for urban living. The renaissance occurring on these Cool Streets has been driven by an explosion of new restaurant and retail
concepts that connect with the seemingly elusive Millennial consumer like no other. The story of this growth alone is noteworthy. However, what may be most important is that in an age of increasing retail uncertainty, Cool Streets serve as an incubator of sorts for what will likely be the hottest new retail concepts of tomorrow.

Logan Square, a.k.a. the Midwest Headquarters of Hip, benefitted when cool kids got priced out of Wicker Park, according to the report: "Beginning approximately 20 years ago many of these creative types began moving to the edgier (and cheaper) environs of Logan Square." (The housing boom and Logan Square's avoidance of brutal blockbusting tactics played a role, too, we'd argue.)

As to how a place ranks on the Hip-O-Meter scale between Edgy/Cool and Gone Mainstream (their invention, not ours), the brokerage surveyed "hundreds of our real estate professionals across all of our offices," including brokers, property managers appraisers, and marketing professionals.

Criteria, gauged by that in-the-know group along scores of 1 to 4, include:

  • Walkability

  • Foodie Score Walkability

  • Foodie Score

  • Bicycle Friendly

  • Nightlife Score

  • Public Transportation

  • Music Score

  • Diversity

  • Arts Score

  • Access to Higher Education

  • Vintage/ Thrift

Ranks also drawn on total population, average household income, percentage of college-educated residents, percentage of 20 to 34 year-olds, and percentage of renters.

One wonders how, say, diversity was weighted in importance against average household income demographics.

In the interest of not piling on, we get it. Affluent urbanites obviously have a lot of spending power, and it's in the interest of retailers and real estate ventures to track and capitalize upon that power, and know when returns begin to diminish. But, c'mon. Such ham-handed approaches probably only hasten the self-fulfilling prophecy of Logan Square's slide from "cool" to passé.