Lots of outdoor space and good schools — two reasons many head to the suburbs — have long attracted young families and young professionals to the Arbors of Brookdale in Naperville.
The lushly landscaped development of 280 apartments is a short walk from an elementary school and adjacent to a park-and-ride service to a Metra station.
Those and other amenities attract "the whole gamut of ages, from professionals to young families and downsizing seniors," said Brad Zaransky, one of the property managers.
Manager Rachel Gaffen-Eisenberg estimates 25 percent of the units have children.
The size and style of the units, similar to a once-popular plan for suburban condominiums, may also contribute to the Arbors' diversity.
Built in the 1990s, the 26-acre property has recently undergone renovation. All units have new flooring, including wood-look floors in the kitchens, custom paint and trim inside and out, and new architectural shingles on the roofs. A large pond with a fountain borders the community, which has mature landscaping and blends with the surrounding single-family homes.
Each of the 35 low-rise buildings has eight rentals, all corner units for maximum sun and light and a minimum of shared walls. Every unit has an individual entrance that gives the feeling of entering a private home. A utility room big enough for a full-size washer and dryer is standard.
All units have a patio or large covered balcony, most shielded with mature foliage. Most apartments have a working fireplace.
Five floor plans are available, most with one or two bedrooms and one or two baths. The apartments range from a one-bedroom, one-bath of 790 square feet to the three-bedroom, two-bath Forestwood duplex which has more than 1,200 square feet. There is a limited number (16) of the largest plan, which often has a waiting list, Zaransky said.
For those who like an upstairs open loft, there is a 1,100-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bath duplex option.
More typical is the 1,130-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bath Cedarwood, which has a 19 1/2-by-14 1/2-foot living room open to a 9 1/2-by-8-foot dining area and galley kitchen. The apartment has a corner fireplace in the living room.
Sliding doors in the living room open to a patio or covered balcony with outside storage. A bedroom and bath, each with a walk-in closet, are on opposite sides of the living area for added privacy.
Renters have the option of choosing an existing unit or a renovated one, part of the ongoing upgrade program.
The renovated units have a rent premium of $200 a month, Zaransky said, noting that the kitchen upgrades have been well-received. The baths and kitchens have been gutted and renovated. The kitchens, in some cases, have been slightly reconfigured so they are more open to the living area. They have granite countertops, double drop-in sinks, stainless steel appliances, new tile and wood cabinetry.
A number of residents work for corporations with offices along the busy Interstate Highway 88 (Reagan Memorial Tollway) just a couple of miles north of the property, Zaransky said. Others work in the city and leave their cars at home since they can walk to a park-and-ride stop at a church parking lot across the street.
Residential outdoor parking is free and steps from the front door for most tenants. Those who prefer indoor parking have the option of renting one of 138 detached garages for $95 a month.
The Arbors is minutes by car from grocery stores and shopping centers and is across from McDowell Grove, 439 acres of mature woodlands and open fields on the west branch of the DuPage River. It is part of the Forest Preserve of DuPage County and has 6 miles of trails for hikers, bicyclists, cross-country skiers and bird-watchers.
Those recreational opportunities are in addition to the playground and two tennis courts on the Arbors property.
In addition, the Arbors has a 24-hour fitness center, sauna, whirlpool, and a business center in the community center, which houses the leasing and management offices.
The outdoor pool has a sun deck with grill, and the heated indoor pool has a seating area and a number of large plants to create a tropical ambience that swimmers can enjoy year-round.