Best of the Rest: Local landlords, high rises and more

In the third part of this issue’s feature, we look at some larger apartment buildings and lesser-known realtors.

Columbian Apartments
Location: 52nd and HarperAmenities: All utilities except electricity included with rent.
Rent range: Studio $550
Pros: Close to lakefront and public transportation, thick walls.
Cons: Some old appliances, barking dogs nearby, $40 application fee plus security deposit based on credit score.
User comments: “A nice bonus of the building too is the rooftop, if you’re fearless enough to walk up the somewhat suspect fire escape stairs to get to it.”–Anonymous tenant.
Contact: Columbian Apartments Management, 5220 S. Harper Ave. (773) 752-7788 (Robin Peterson)

The Flamingo
Location: 5500 S. South Shore Dr.
Amenities: 24-Hour lobby attendant, air-conditioned fitness center, outdoor pool, Bar Louie restaurant.
Rent range: Studio from $610
One-bedroom from $875
Pros: All utilities are included, except electricity, flexible lease terms, close to the Shoreland and within walking distance to the Museum of Science and Industry, beautiful views of the lake.
Cons: Appeals to an older crowd and families, not a large undergraduate population, wing night at Bar Louie’s may keep the cholesterol count high.
Notes: Described as a “vintage Hyde Park building,” the Flamingo keeps a nice historic feel even with its modern features and amenities.
Contact: 5500 S. South Shore Drive. (773) 752-3800. www.flamingoapartments.com (Yennie Lee)

Globe Realty
Locations: 55th between Everett and Kenwood; 53rd and Hyde Park.
Amenities: Heat, hot water included.
Rent range: Studio around $600
One-bedroom $525-$700
Two-bedroom $700-$1000
Three-bedroom $850-$1000
Pros: No security deposit, hot water included with rent, lease dates beginning in September, friendly and reliable maintenance workers.
Cons: One-time non-refundable move-in fee between $300-$500 depending on the size of apartment; limited availability of studios.
User comments: “It’s not a large organization, which is really helpful. They could get away with doing a lot less than they do. I just wouldn’t feel the slightest amount of hopelessness if one of the washing machines broke, because it wouldn’t take any effort on my part to get it taken care of. It would get fixed, and they’d plant some flowers while they were at it.”–John Wood.
Notes: In-house management is friendly and competent. Landlords consistently maintain the greenery in the summer and shovel the snow in the winter. The company also isn’t stingy with the heat, even though it’s included with rent.
Contact: Globe Realty, 1625 E. 74th St. (773) 955-0000 (Supriya Sinhababu)

Hyde Park Tower
Location: 5140 S. Hyde Park Blvd
Amenities: Air conditioning, carpet, gourmet kitchens with dishwashers, microwaves, and garbage disposals, on-site laundry facility, 24-hour fitness center, cable or satellite, broadband internet, 24-hour door staff, attached parking garage.
Rent range: One-bed/One bath $1099—$1224
Two-bed/Two-bath $1329—$1639
Three-bed/Two-bath $1729—$1969
Pros: Cat-friendly and conveniently located near public transportation, has a rooftop clubroom with “Million Dollar Views.”
Cons: Utilities to be paid in addition to rent: heat, trash maintenance, water, and electricity.
User comments: Reviews are mixed. However, many have noticed that the elevators seem to be broken regularly. Noise and smells also seem to transport from room to room through the vents. The staff, on the other hand, is rumored to be very friendly.
Notes: If considering moving into HPT, sign up by March 15th and receive a $250 bonus! HPT also offers subsidized rates; call for details.
Contact: Hyde Park Tower, 5140 S. Hyde Park Blvd. (888) 229-9562 (Elise Biggers)

Madison Hyde Park Apartments
Location: 51st and Dorchester
Amenities: Central air and heat, dishwasher, laundry facilities, door attendant, security cameras, bike room included with rent; parking $65-75.
Rent range: Studio $800-850
Two-bedroom $1000-$1150
Pros: Close to public transportation, responsive management, thick walls.
Cons: Slow elevators.
User comments: “I would not say that this is the most luxurious place in the area but definitely best value for the money.”–Anonymous tenant.
Contact: Madison Hyde Park Apartments Management, 1380 E. Hyde Park Blvd. (773) 536-4300 (Robin Peterson)

Poinsettia Apartments:
Location: 5528 S. Hyde Park Blvd
Amenities: Refrigerator, laundry room
Rent range: Studio $595-$620
One-bedroom $795-$900
Two-bedroom $1350
Pros: All utilities included with rent (except internet).
Cons: Farther from campus than other options.
User comments: “It’s a nice, safe place to live. The building is beautiful, and I got a renovated apartment, which is sweet.”–Alli Urbanik.
Notes: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which notes that its terra-cotta ornamentation is among the best in Chicago. Apartments are being renovated as people move out, so chances are you’ll get a newly refurbished apartment.
Contact: Monica Domanski, (773) 934-9758 (Aileen McGrodey)

Steps Away
Location: 61st and Ellis
Amenities: Furnished rooms, heat, internet, water, laundry facilities included with rent; gated parking $50/month.
Rent range: One-bedroom of a three-bedroom apartment $450-$475
Loft $350-$500 (800 square feet,
newly decorated)
Pros: Furnished rooms, responsive management, quiet.
Cons: Rooms within apartments are rented separately.
Notes: Rents only to students.
Contact: 6130-6132 S. Ellis Ave.
Tim O’Connell, (773) 447-7520, www.geocities.com/stepsawayhydepark (Robin Peterson)

Windermere House
Location: 1642 East 56th Street
Amenities: Dishwasher in 2 and 3 bedroom apartments, air conditioning, 2 laundry machines on each floor, community wireless.
Rent range: Studio from $800
One-bedroom from $1085
Two-bedroom from $1485
Three-bedroom from $1835
Pros: Free fitness center, Piccolo Mondo Italian restaurant located on the first floor, laundry services on each floor, lake views, spacious rooms with high ceilings.
Cons: No pets allowed, it is expensive relative to other housing options, reports of negative reactions to the new MAC management, not all utilities are included.
User comments: “MAC can’t maintain anything. Especially the workout room…the Dept. of Health should see it.”–Anonymous tenant.
“Don’t let the advertisements fool you; this place has not been renovated in a long, long, while. One of the elevators often skips my floor, and I have to walk back down… The front desk staff is fantastic and very helpful…and the downstairs certainly looks impressive.”–Anonymous tenant.
Notes: One of the “upscale” MAC apartment buildings, Windermere is not to be confused with Windermere Senior Health Center which is down the street. Large rooms and big closets mean you get a lot for your money, although this is one of the most expensive buildings in Hyde Park. This high rise is a renovated hotel with historic charm and lake views. With the purchase by MAC last year, however, there have been mixed reviews about the new management, mainly reports that some rooms are run down and are only becoming more dilapidated. The building is conveniently located next to the Metra and the 57th Street beach, and is only a ten minute walk from campus. There is also garage parking for $125 a month.
Contact: Windermere House, 1642 East 56th St. (866) 744-8210. (Morgan Moroney)

Mr. Lin’s Apartments
Locations: 56th and Drexel, 55th and Dorchester, 56th and Maryland
Amenities: Refrigerator, heat, water, free hi-speed internet, in-building laundry; electricity and gas also included in basement apartments.
Rent range: One-bedroom $520-$550
Two-bedroom $600-$1000
Three-bedroom $840-1400
Four-bedroom $1800
Pros: Spacious apartments, friendly proprietor willing to please, some apartments have closed-off porches, basement apartments have possibly the cheapest rents in Hyde Park.
Cons: Some apartments a little more run down than others (especially the basement ones), limited availability, Mr. Lin only reachable by telephone.
Notes: Everything is pretty much run by Mr. Lin, who owns these apartments–which can make it a little difficult to determine what is or is not available. If interested, prospective tenants are advised to call him and see if anything is available; he will take your information and inform you of any upcoming apartment openings, as they become available.
Contact: Mr. Lin, 773-241-6854. (Sean Redmond)

University Park Condominiums
Location: 1401 E. 55th St.
Amenities: Refrigerator, in-building laundry, parking available for various prices (depending on the seller); other amenities may be available depending on the seller.
Rent range: Studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom rooms available starting at $650; individual prices vary due to the fact that each room is owned and rented out individually, resulting in a wide flux of prices.
Pros: Gated community, swimming pool, exercise room ($75/year membership), the pride that comes with living in the infamous “toaster buildings,” designed by internationally renowned architect I.M. Pei.
Cons: On the pricier side (to be expected from living in a condo), individually owned and rented rooms can make for difficulties in determining availability, noise from 55th street can be potentially sleep-disturbing, the shame that results from living in the infamous “toaster buildings,” designed by internationally renowned architect I.M. Pei.
User comments: “It’s not that bad, but it’s pretty gross, and I wouldn’t really recommend living here unless you want to feel like you’re coming home to ‘The Shining’ every night.”–Misa Galore, 4th year undergraduate student.
Notes: Building managed by the Habitat Company. Also, it’s a condominium, so keep in mind the subtle differences living in such a building might entail (increased regulations, non-student clientele, etc).
Contact: The Habitat Company, 773-324-1414. (Sean Redmond)

Hallmark-Johnson
Location: 5436 S. Harper Ave.
Amenities: Water included in rent.
Rent range: Four-bedroom apartments for around $1700.
Pros: Close to #6 and #55 bus stops, close to grocery store, big and spacious, new bathrooms and kitchens, hardwood floors, friendly community feel.
Cons: No pets allowed, residents say the landlord is uptight and it’s cold even though they pay a ton for heat, no recycling program.
User comments: “We looked really hard to find a non-MAC apartment. The one we settled on has its flaws, but it is infinitely superior to MAC in terms of price and service.”–Anonymous tenant.
Notes: Hallmark-Johnson is a commercial real estate company with holdings all over the region; this is the only building they own in Hyde Park.
Contact: Hallmark & Johnson, 847-933-9000. (Sean Redmond)