Five homes in the 900 block of Harlem Avenue are getting a new lease on life after they were all purchased by a developer in August last year.

The homes, which sit in a row from 923 to 933 Harlem Ave., were in poor shape after years of sitting vacant before they were purchased and rehabbed by Scianna Renovations. The homes will be marketed and sold by the Forest Park-based realty company AvenueOne, located at 7415 Madison St.

“We’re bringing them back to life,” said AvenueOne real estate agent Riley Mockler. “They’ve been beaten down and vacant for many years, but they still have good bones.”

When they go on the market — Mockler said he expects the first to be listed soon after the Super Bowl in February — they will be priced around $300,000. Mockler said he expects all the rehab construction to be completed by June.

He expects they will sell fast. The company has seen a lot of interest in the market for single family homes in Forest Park, he said.

“It’s the village’s feel,” Mockler said. “It’s a walkable village. One thing we’re really into about these [properties] is that they’re walking distance to the Blue Line [CTA station on Harlem Avenue], and they’re across from a park [Maple Park on the Oak Park side].”

The homes are currently undergoing a gut rehab. The plumbing and electrical will all be replaced and each home will have a brand new garage and backyard deck. Mockler said the company will also be adding new landscaping and fencing.

“We want to put some new trees in the front yard,” he said.

AvenueOne is also replacing the exterior stucco of some of the homes with “eco-siding.” Other sustainability-minded upgrades include high-efficiency furnaces, using environmentally-friendly building materials and putting Nest smart thermostats in each home.

“We’ve done additions on a couple, too,” Mockler said, referring to office spaces they’ve added.

The company believes the homes will be marketed for their proximity to commuters, he said, which is why they’re also making it a point to include space for an in-home office in each home.

Steve Glinke, director of the village’s building department, said he’s seen demand in Forest Park’s mid-range home market in recent years.

“In the last five years, there’s been a boom for full gut rehabs,” said Glinke, adding that the village is happy to see the five homes on Harlem Avenue getting the attention. 

The homes, which were commonly owned before they were sold to AvenueOne, had wracked up a number of small property maintenance violations, he said, such as the lawns never being mowed.

“Generally speaking, they have been ignored and not tended to for 15-20 years,” Glinke said. “There’s no record of having any improvements done.”

The unique opportunity to buy five homes in a row was another aspect that drew AvenueOne to purchase them, Mockler said.

“It’s a nice opportunity. It will be good to see them rejuvenated and restored.”

Plus, not only will a buyer be getting a newly renovated home, they can also look forward to seeing who moves in next door, he said.  

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