Why row houses new real estate trend in downtown Naperville

  • Charleston Row is inspired by a design from London that builder Larry Van Someren saw at a convention in Chicago. The string of six row houses along Aurora Avenue at Webster Street in downtown Naperville is expected to be complete by spring or summer 2018.

    Charleston Row is inspired by a design from London that builder Larry Van Someren saw at a convention in Chicago. The string of six row houses along Aurora Avenue at Webster Street in downtown Naperville is expected to be complete by spring or summer 2018. Courtesy of Charleston Building & Development

  • Erik Van Someren of Charleston Building & Development points out amenities at Charleston Row, a six-unit row house development the company is planning for Aurora Avenue at Webster Street in downtown Naperville.

      Erik Van Someren of Charleston Building & Development points out amenities at Charleston Row, a six-unit row house development the company is planning for Aurora Avenue at Webster Street in downtown Naperville. Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer

  • The back of a downtown Naperville row house development called Charleston Row will include second-story and fourth-story rooftop terraces for each of the six units, which are priced between $1.1 million and $1.3 million.

    The back of a downtown Naperville row house development called Charleston Row will include second-story and fourth-story rooftop terraces for each of the six units, which are priced between $1.1 million and $1.3 million. Courtesy of Charleston Building & Development

 
 
Updated 12/9/2016 9:06 AM

Listen to builders planning new developments in Naperville and it sounds like the four-bedroom house has gone out of style.

What's in vogue now, at least in upscale living, might just be the row house, say developers of a six-unit project called Charleston Row.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

These $1.1 million to $1.3 million row houses will have two or three bedrooms, two- or three-car garages, 3½ or 4½ bathrooms, a basement, a large mudroom, not one but two rooftop terraces and even their own private elevator.

"We're treating each one as a custom single-family home," said Erik Van Someren of Charleston Building & Development in Naperville, which plans to break ground on the row houses in the spring.

After years of building new homes on the sites of teardowns in Wheaton, Glen Ellyn and Naperville, Charleston leaders said they started hearing a new trend. They noticed a desire for something other than the 5,000-square-foot luxury house, standing on its own with a good-sized yard in a subdivision on the outskirts of suburbia.

What these buyers want instead, Van Someren said, is what Charleston Row offers: convenience to a downtown with dining, night life and shops, a low-maintenance lifestyle without a massive lawn to mow, and luxury features such as custom staircases and tile work, hardwood floors, a butler's station, a breakfast nook and countertops made of granite, marble or quartz. The fancy stuff.

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Van Someren and his father and business partner, Larry Van Someren, said they thought empty nesters looking to downsize from large suburban estates would be their main buyers for Charleston Row.

Along Aurora Avenue at Webster Street, the row houses are steps from Naper Settlement, the Naperville municipal center and the new Water Street District with its hotel, shops and restaurants. At 4,110 square feet to 4,350 square feet, they're not quite as large as the typical luxury stand-alone house, which the Van Somerens said could help people ready for less space and an active lifestyle.

But the builders are hearing early interest from young families, too, especially those ready to move out of Chicago but not excited about mowing the lawn all weekend.

While there is at least one string of row houses near downtown Naperville -- just west of the DuPage Children's Museum -- property owner Ruth Yackley of BBM Incorporated said Charleston Row will differ because each unit is wider.

"Most people want to have larger main rooms," Van Someren said. "More width makes it feel like a home."

Charleston Building & Development expects to begin construction this spring so residents can begin moving in by spring or summer 2018.

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