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U.S. Marine Matt McCarthy had been back from the war in Iraq less than two weeks last October when he bought his first home—a one-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath “Buckley” design on the second floor at Prairie Town Center.

“The opportunity just fell into my lap,” says 24-year-old McCarthy, a corporal who had just completed a seven-month tour providing security for major U.S. bases in Iraq, before returning to his hometown of Oak Lawn last fall. “My parents still live here, and I knew this was the neighborhood I wanted to live in. Sales had just started at Prairie Town Center, and it was a great opportunity to buy at pre-construction prices. Being in Iraq was like having a forced savings plan, because you can’t spend dollars over there. I’m living with my parents until my new place is ready, so I’ll save even more between now and then.”

McCarthy is working as a paramedic while he trains to become a firefighter. Like the DeSousas, who will be his neighbors next year, Matt says he’s looking forward to living in a new-construction home in a convenient location. “I’m attracted to it because it’s brand new. And everything is close—the bank, the train, the stores. I won’t have to drive.”

He says he felt confident buying a home at Prairie Town Center, even though construction had yet to begin, because he had seen another condominium building developed by the same company in Oak Lawn. “When I saw the Arbor Court building a few blocks away, I could tell that the company had done a really good job with the design and construction.”

Prairie Town Center and the Arbor Court condominiums at 96th Street and 51st Avenue are joint ventures of Chicago-based builder and developer Morningside Group and Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based Mid-America Development Partners.

Morningside Group also served as program manager for the Village of Oak Lawn in building a new Metra station just north of Arbor Court and an adjacent municipal parking structure with more than 800 spaces.

Since starting sales in September of 2006, Prairie Town Center is already more than 70 percent sold. The building will feature a brick-and-stone façade, and all residences will have private balconies. Homes range in size from 1,007 square feet to 1,461 square feet and have either one bedroom and one-and-a-half baths, or two bedrooms and two baths. Base prices for remaining residences at Prairie Town Center are from $208,900 to $319,900. One heated, indoor parking space and individual storage lockers are included. Exterior parking is also available.

Standard features at Prairie Town Center include kitchens with furniture-quality, 42-inch upper cabinets. Baths have cultured-marble tops in a variety of colors, and buyers can choose from a selection of vanity styles and finishes.

Residences have nine-foot ceilings in all living spaces, per plan; and walk-in closets or dressing rooms in master bedrooms, per plan.

“It’s going to be great living in a brand new place,” McCarthy says. “I’m really excited about it.”

Click here to visit the Prairie Town Center website!

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