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Welcome Shelly Valdiserri to the Gracik Makinney Group!

by Thomas Makinney

Gracik Makinney Group is thrilled to announce Shelly Valdiserri as our newest realtor team member.

Shelly knows firsthand the challenges and rewards of finding a perfect home and selling a home quickly. She has been in the interior design field for the past 15 years and brings her extensive experience to the real estate field, whether that is staging your home to show off its best assets or helping you see the possibilities and potential of homes you are viewing.

Her experience has given her insight on what sellers can do to get top dollar for their home to encourage a timely sale. Likewise, she can advise buyers about possibilities for making a house a home that works for them along with anticipated pricing. Did we mention she also has experience working in marketing and advertising?

Shelly literally grew up immersed in the housing industry. Her father was a builder and her mother a successful realtor, and she grew up learning the nuances of building homes, remodeling, decorating, and buying properties.

She earns praise from her clients for her energy, enthusiasm, commitment, and resourcefulness. She is known for being proactive and professional and having a positive attitude—a true asset in this business!

Shelly is a long-time resident of the western suburbs. She and her husband raised their two daughters in Elmhurst. They have also lived in Chicago, Hinsdale, Naperville, and Glen Ellyn. She definitely has the insight and knowledge of the area!

Please join us in welcoming Shelly! You can reach out to her (or any of us!) through our website,www.gmregroup.com or contact her directly at (630) 886-8039.


The arts will officially have a permanent home in Elmhurst! The Elmhurst Center for the Performing Arts announced that the building at 109–119 W. First St. (between Addison and York) will be the location for its proposed 50,000 square foot performing arts center.

Not only will the performing arts center be located directly across from the Metra train station, the building will also be right in the middle of Elmhurst’s vibrant downtown scene—near restaurants, shopping, wine bars, and pubs.

Since 2016, the ECPA board has been searching for the perfect location that would provide easy access via public transportation and access to the central downtown area. The center will offer a permanent home for theater, music, dance, and comedy performances, both local and regional/traveling, as well as space for classes and meetings.

The board is now working on securing funding for the $30 million building. The hope is that funds can be raised through a capital campaign, grants, and naming rights, among other methods. Official plans cannot begin until those funds are secured, meaning the tenants currently occupying the location will not be impacted for three to five years.

The board is continuing to hold public meetings for residents to learn more about getting involved and what the center will bring to the community. So far, support and enthusiasm from residents continue to pour in.

For more information and to see a virtual rendering of the Elmhurst Center for the Performing Arts, visit www.ecpa-elmhurst.org.

Here at Gracik Makinney, we’re thrilled at the progress being made. Our city has long been a proponent of the arts, with four museums, a college, and a world-class library. To find out more about what living the Elmhurst life looks like, visit our website, www.gmregroup.com or call us at (630) 441-5570.

Photo courtesy of Elmhurst Center for the Performing Arts

Elmhurst Art Museum Hosts Only U.S. Stop for Bauhaus Tour

by Thomas Makinney

The Elmhurst Art Museum has reason to toot its horn. Their current exhibition, The Whole World a Bauhaus, which opened last week after a transportation delay, is the only U.S. stop on its international tour.

2019 is the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus movement, an integrated approach to the art, crafts, and technology. Founded in Germany, it lasted only 14 years due to the Nazi occupation, but the effects are still being felt. The tenants of Bauhaus include the feeling that aesthetic design elements should be a part of everyday objects, from refrigerators to coffee tables.

The EAM has specific ties to the Bauhaus movement, as McCormick House architect Mies van der Rohe was the last director of the school before it closed, leaving its ideals spread across the world. The McCormick House, adjacent to the movement, is one of only three van der Rohe-designed homes in the U.S.

The exhibit explores the influence of Bauhaus through photographs, design pieces, and documents and encourages people to rethink and reimagine the objects around them. There will be events throughout March and April exploring the influence of Bauhaus, such as tours of the McCormick House outlining the Bauhaus influence in the design, as well as lectures and workshops.

This year’s annual museum annual fundraiser is themed after the exhibition. “Soiree 2019: Bauhaus 100” will be held on Sat. April 27 at the museum. The event will include cocktails, a multi-course dinner, entertainment, and live and silent auctions, including Bauhaus artwork by new and established artists. During the evening, the museum will unveil “Parallel Perspectives,”,a light and color installation in the McCormick House.

The exhibit is open through April 20. More information about the exhibition and the soiree can be found at the museum’s website, www. Elmhurstartmuseum.org.

Having a world-class museum in our city is one of the many ways that Elmhurst is a unique and vibrant place to live. To find out more, call us at (630) 441-5570 or reach out through our website, www.gmregroup.com.

 

School boundary changes begin to take shape

by Thomas Makinney


Hawthorne Elementary School


Jackson Elementary School

With the passage of November’s bond referendum, plans are now getting underway for upcoming changes in District 205. First up is the redrawing of three school boundaries.

Under the proposed new boundary changes, some students from areas now districted to Hawthorne and Jackson Elementary Schools will be attending Edison School. The district is trying to equalize student populations among all the schools, particularly as plans get underway for an all-day kindergarten option.

Current plans call for Jackson School to house a district-wide all-day kindergarten program; however, planning for that program can’t begin until space gets freed up. Superintendent David Moyer alluded to a potential rollout plan for the kindergarten program with the possibility of a lottery system if the demand exceeds space availability.

The proposed boundaries would affect Hawthorne students east of Kenmore Ave. who would be transferred to Edison, while families living east of York Rd. and west of Kenmore Ave. would have the option of sending their children to either Hawthorne or Edison.

Students living south of Butterfield Road on either side of Harrison St. would no longer be bussed to Jackson but would transfer to Edison. Those students would be able to choose between Bryan and Sandburg Middle Schools.

It’s important to note that anyone currently living in these impacted areas would have the choice between existing boundaries or the new ones. The new boundaries would only be mandated for people purchasing a home after June 1, 2022.

The district hopes to have a complete proposal to present to the school board before the March 18 meeting.

Other referendum developments in progress include the complete rebuilding of Field and Lincoln Elementary Schools, the two oldest schools in the district.

The $168.5 million bond issue passed last November after a three-year process of research, community input, and investigation. All changes are being made as part of the district’s master facilities plan.

Elmhurst schools are among the best in the state and the country, and they are a major reason why people move to and stay in our city. We’re proud of the loyalty and commitment residents give to improving education. For more information on living in Elmhurst, give us a call at (630) 441-5570 or reach out through our website, www.gmregroup.com.

 

Edison Elementary School

Elmhurst Continues to Attract New Developments, Retailers

by Thomas Makinney


The booming real estate trend in Elmhurst is showing no signs of slowing down, and that is partly due to the vibrant and bustling downtown, which is seeing a virtual renaissance of multi-resident units close to the action.

Mayor Steve Morley made his annual State of the City address recently and addressed the number of residential units that are popping up in the downtown area as well as the planned replacement of the Metra train station.

The downtown will see three large development projects in the next two years—a six-story high-end apartment complex at Addison and First Streets, a luxury apartment complex at Addison and Second Streets, and a 23-unit condo development at the long-vacant site at Cottage Hill and Park Avenues.

Morley was quick to point out that the city has been working with consultants to ensure that the growth isn’t too fast or large for the city’s infrastructure to handle. Experts believe that the city can actually accommodate double the amount of what is being built. Given the two-year timeframe for the three large developments, the city is confident that the absorption will be more gradual than it might appear.

The developments are likely to appeal to young professionals who commute to Chicago and retirees/empty nesters who want to downsize but stay in Elmhurst.

In other good news for the city’s real estate, the building department issued 97 new home permits in 2018, which is four times more than last year, and more than 3,000 overall permits.

Morley also announced that Metra station has obtained $16.4 million for improvements, and he said he was confident they would reach the $18 million mark. The train station is the busiest stop on the Union Pacific West Line, however, having been built in the 1960s, it has become outdated in terms of services it can offer. It also has accessibility issues, a crumbling infrastructure, and heavy congestion in the drop-off lanes.

Here at Gracik-Makinney, we’re thrilled to see the market continue to boom with people who recognize what we’ve always known: Elmhurst truly has something for everyone. It’s the best of big city living in a small town. Reach out to us to find out more. Call (630) 441-5570 or visit our website, www.gmregroup.com.

 

 

 

 

Chicago Ranks at Top of List of Best Cities in the World and the U.S.

by Thomas Makinney

Congratulations to our eastern neighbor Chicago, the city of big shoulders, which was recently recognized as the seventh best city in the world and the second best city in the U.S.!

Resonance Consultancy, a global advisor for tourism, real estate, and economic development, ranked cities across the world and the U.S. as a way to help cities understand their strengths and gaps. The U.S. survey looked at housing affordability, job opportunities, diversity, economic prosperity, art scene, culture, restaurants, and nightlife.

Chicago has an impressive amount of museums, national teams in every major sport, vibrant neighborhoods, two airports, and a variety of public transportation. It also boasts impressive higher education institutions, an enormous convention center, and world-renown architecture.

The city came in second (to New York) in U.S. cities for programming (shopping, nightlife, culinary, and culture). In global rankings, it finished sixth in the product category (infrastructure) and ranked #22 in the world for its food scene.

The top 10 U.S. cities are ranked as: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, San Diego, Houston, Miami, Seattle, and Boston.

The top cities in the world are listed as: London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Barcelona, Moscow, Chicago, Singapore, Dubai, and San Francisco.

 

Elmhurst’s proximity to Chicago (15 miles as the crow flies and a variety of highways and public transit options, including a direct Metra train line) makes it the perfect community for people attracted to the vibrant culture and job opportunities of the city but who also want a more suburban lifestyle with good schools, parks, and amenities.

 

Living in Elmhurst means easy access to the vibrant city scene of Chicago. We’re proud of both cities. To find out more about what makes living in our area so remarkable, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit us at www.gmregroup.com.

Portillo’s Awarded Best Fast-Casual Restaurant in the U.S.

by Thomas Makinney

What started with a little hot dog stand in Villa Park is now recognized as THE best fast-casual dining spot in the U.S.

TripAdvisor.com just awarded their annual Travelers’ Choice awards for restaurants, and Portillo’s came out on top. The awards honored 75 eateries across the country in the categories of fine dining, everyday dining (great meals for any occasion), and fast casual (high-quality meals at great value served quickly).

Whether it’s the Italian beef, the chocolate shakes, or the classic hot dog (all-beef Vienna hot dog on a poppy seed bun, topped with mustard, relish, freshly chopped onions, sliced red tomatoes, kosher pickle slice, celery salt, and slightly spicy sport peppers, and NO ketchup), Portillo’s fans are devoted and legendary.

Started in 1963 by Dick Portillo, the first Portillo’s was a trailer parked in the parking lot of a Villa Park discount store. It now boasts 57 restaurants in seven states in the U.S. It offers catering and ships nationwide.

TripAdvisor ranked restaurants based on quantity and quality of reviews over a one-year timeframe.

Three other Chicago restaurants were recognized in the list. In the everyday dining category, The Purple Pig came in 15th place; while in fine dining, Alinea placed 19th and Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf rounded out that category in 25th place.

Portillos is followed on the top 10 fast-casual dining list by Earl of Sandwich, Shake Shack, Blaze Pizza, In-N-Out Burger, The Taco Stand, Five Guys, Super Duper Burgers, Tacos el Gordo, and Torchy’s Tacos.

You can see the full list here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-Restaurants-cFastCasual

Here at Gracik Makinney, we’ll be celebrating with a classic hot dog, a side of crinkle fries, and a chocolate cake shake. To find out more about living in our area, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit www.gmregroup.com.

 

Elmhurst Public Library Receives National Five Star Rating

by Thomas Makinney

Elmhurst residents know just how amazing and special our library is—with its vibrant atmosphere, depth of materials, stunning views, and friendly staff, it’s consistently ranked among the best in the area. But it has officially been once again recognized as one of the best in the entire country.
 
For the second year in a row, the Elmhurst Public Library received a five-star rating from Library Journal’s prestigious national review of public libraries. Out of 7,361 public libraries rated across the country, only 257 qualified as star libraries. In Illinois, 21 libraries were given star ratings, but Elmhurst is one of only three that received the top-tier five-star rating, joining Skokie Public Library and Oak Park Public Library.
 
In fact, Elmhurst Public Library had the honor of being ranked in the top ten libraries ten nationwide and was ranked first in Illinois in the $5-9.9M category.
 
The ratings system looked at five measures: overall circulation, circulation of electronic materials, library visits, program attendance, and public computer use. Circulation and visits were the two strongest indicators, but Library Journal also reports that the best libraries need to have welcoming facilities (yes!), a variety of well-attended community programs (yes!), and a wide range of collections (yes! yes!). Technology use and access were also factored in.
 
Libraries were compared to other libraries with similar funding, meaning that a star rating is given on an apples-to-apples comparison basis and small libraries are not at a disadvantage.
 
The five states with the most Star Libraries are New York (31), Ohio (23), Illinois (21), Massachusetts (13), and Kansas (12). 
 
The breadth of offerings of our library—from the coffee shop to the makerspace, the story time room to the teen room, the senior programming to the business center—makes the library one of the consistently most popular places in town. When you tie in the expansive view of windows overlooking Wilder Park, the fresh coffee and pastries, and the welcoming fireplace, the magic of our library is particularly evident.
 
Congratulations to one of Elmhurst’s crown jewels! To find out more about offerings at the library and other aspects of life in Elmhurst, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit www.gmregroup.com.

Elmhurst tree will be star of Chicago’s Christmas scene

by Thomas Makinney

Chicago’s official Christmas tree will actually be an Elmhurst tree. Longtime resident Deborah Orth’s 60-foot Norway Spruce will be aglow all season in Millennium Park.

The 48-year-old tree has graced the yard of the Orth’s home since it was built in 1949.  It weighs a whopping 8,200 pounds. Workers came last Thur., Nov. 1, to cut it down and bring it to Millennium Park.

It will be adorned with approximately 30,000 glowing lights, and the Orths will have the honor of flipping the switch at the official tree lighting ceremony on Fri., Nov. 16.

The city put out the call for a tree in mid-September, and the Orth’s tree was chosen by out of 79 submissions. 

To qualify trees must be at least 55 feet tall, be less than 100 miles from Chicago’s Loop, and be a Spruce or Fir (pine trees aren’t sturdy enough). Applicants must send in two photos and a brief description of why their tree deserves to be the city’s official tree.

The tree will get it’s chance to shine next week. Festivities kick off at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16. The star of Chicago’s production of Hamilton, Miguel Cervantes, will be the host of the evening. In addition to the tree lighting and appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus, there will also be performances by the cast of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and musicians from the Grant Park Music Festival.

Congratulations to the Orth family! We’re proud that a local tree will be enjoyed through Jan. 6 at Millennium Park. To find out more about the houses (and trees) in Elmhurst, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit gmregroup.com.

Elmhurst Centre for the Performing Arts’ Spotlight Gala

by Thomas Makinney

There’s still time to get tickets for one of the most exciting events in town! Elmhurst Centre for the Performing Arts will host its third annual Spotlight Gala on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Elmhurst Art Museum.

The nonprofit group is working to raise funds for a downtown state-of-the-art performing arts center, which would comprise a 50,000 square foot facility with two theaters of different sizes, a vibrant lobby, and rooftop green space that would be available for smaller groups. During the gala, the group plans to announce the latest updates in its search for a permanent location.

Approximately 30 local performing arts groups in and around Elmhurst have expressed interest in using the center.

The evening will include performances by Evolution Dance and Extensions Lyrical Dance performers as well as musicians from York High School.  Attendees can dance to music by the talented Elmhurst resident Brian Patti's seven-piece orchestra.

There will also be plenty of food, live and silent auctions, and wine and beer pull. Tim Soszko from Elmhurst Children's Theatre will serve as the evening’s emcee.

The Elmhurst Centre for the Performing Arts (ECPA) was established as a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization in 2016. Once the group has landed on a location, they will begin a capital fundraising campaign. Earlier this year, a study conducted by a Chicago-based consulting group confirmed that the city and surrounding area could support a performing arts center.

Tickets to the gala are $150. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.ecpa-elmhurst.org.

Here at Gracik Makinney Group, we’re thrilled to watch the vision of ECPA come to life. The city has a well-known, vibrant arts scene, and there is no doubt a center would be a jewel in the crown. To find out more about living here, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit us at www.gmregroup.com.

Image rendition courtesy of Elmhurst Centre for the Performing Arts.

 

 

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