The other day on the El, I noticed an advertisement prominently promoting the web site LivebyTransit.com. Like a bee to honey, I typed the address into my Blackberry to check it out. Turns out New Urban Property Services, which bills itself as “Chicago’s only Transit-Oriented Real Estate Brokerage Company,” assists prospective renters and buyers in their search for apartments and homes near specific El stops and Metra stations – even allowing people to select how close to a station they want to be, from a quarter-mile to three miles. The company also has a partnership with I-GO car sharing service; when people rent or buy through New Urban, they receive a free, one-year I-GO membership and $25 in driving credit.
Clever marketing – but it’s more than that. New Urban owner Tom Brown started the company because he recognized the growing demand for homes and apartments near transit, as well as an opportunity to develop a property search that valued proximity to transit.
People want to live near transit for a variety of reasons – having convenient access to jobs, living within walking distance of shops and restaurants that tend to be located near stations, being good environmental stewards by driving less.