Construction Begins on New Shelter and Cat Café in Rogers Park

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Cat lovers, rejoice! Construction has finally begun on the new headquarters of the Tree House Humane Society at 7225 Western Ave. in Rogers Park. The 15,000 square-foot facility will feature an adoption center, veterinarian clinic, plenty of playrooms for the cats, and of course, Chicago’s much anticipated, first-ever cat café.

Tree House Humane Society is the largest cage-less, no-kill shelter for cats in the Chicagoland area. First founded as a grassroots project by a group of families in 1971, Tree House acquired non-profit status in 1975. After a number of relocations, they currently operate out of their facility in Bucktown, which features a state-of-the-art, low-cost high-volume spay and neuter clinic. The organization estimates that in 2010 alone, they were able to perform 4,000 spay/neuter surgeries, dramatically impacting future stray populations.

Their new facility in Rogers Park will be a $7 million project, and the organization still needs to raise $2 million to complete the project. The building itself was designed by the Dobbins Group, and will be constructed using natural materials and will also feature an outdoor space for the neighborhood to enjoy.

While there aren’t too many details of the future cat café out yet, it was recently announced that Tree House found the perfect partner for their caffeine-related endeavors—Grounds and Hounds, a small-batch coffee company out of Minnesota that splits part of its profits with animal shelters. While the final details of the partnership are still being worked out, right now it looks like in exchange for only selling their coffee, Grounds and Hounds will provide barista equipment and training to Tree House, and let them keep 20% of all sales for the shelter. For two animal-loving organizations, the partnership couldn’t make any more sense, and it gives Chicago-area feline fanatics yet another reason to get excited about the new café.

Ultra Modern Penthouse in River North

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River North is one of the most sought after residential and commercial areas in Chicago. Known for its extravagance and easy access to the beating heart of the city, the River North neighborhood continues its tradition of producing fabulous listings. Now it introduces a brand new, luxurious Chicago condo, listed at $1.85 million.

The 3,000 square-foot unit has high-gloss concrete flooring, two terraces; floor-to-ceiling windows a fireplace and sliding glass doors that also act to hide extra storage space. As if that weren’t enough, the previous owners have added their own upgrades, increasing the charm and warmth of this beautiful penthouse.

New stainless steel appliances and counters, a 200-bottle wine rack and leather Italian tile in the powder room compliment the numerous features that were already included by the architect himself, David Miller of the Miller Hull Partnership.

But one of the most impressive changes was the removal of two kitchen islands and replaced with a 14-foot Arclinea chef’s island lifted in by crane through the back windows. This change adds more space, creating a more welcoming environment for hosting large gatherings.
And it works! The open feeling of the living room, kitchen and dining area are complimented by the south facing window wall that provides an abundance of natural light and a gorgeous view of the city.

Two of the three bedrooms feature en suite baths, with the master bedroom sporting a roomy walk-in closet and indulgent soaking tub. There is also a private den area.

The back balcony follows suit as a standard and basic balcony, but the front balcony truly stands out with its wiry rails, permeable steel screen, painted beams and partial shelter provided by the terrace.

The massive Chicago penthouse occupies the entire eighth floor of its nine-story building.

The beautiful boutique building is located at 156 West Superior Street and is the laborious fruit of the Ranquist Development Group from 2006.

Enormous “Double-Wide” Lincoln Park Home on Market

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If you love living in Chicago but keep thinking to yourself that you just don’t have enough home nor enough lot space, you may be in luck. An enormous Lincoln Park home that sits on an extra-wide and comes with six bedrooms and five and a half bathrooms is on the market, and for the (not so) low, low price of $2,695,000.

The home, which resides at 1841 N. Maud Ave also comes with an attached garage, third-floor rec room, and expansive rooftop deck which you can access from the rec room.

The home was developed by LG Development and has incorporated some awesome features and furnishes to really bring this home together. The property has expansive 13-foot ceilings with oversized Marvin windows that usher in plenty of natural light. There is also custom millwork and trim peppered throughout.

The LG design of the home maximizes every square-inch of the property for premium efficiency here as well. In addition to the private theater room on the lower level are heated flooring throughout and the rooftop deck awards you with beautiful skyline views.

If you’re worried about privacy here, there’s no need to be. The house has a fully secured outdoor area which is perfect and safe for the whole family to gather in and play or enjoy a summer barbeque. And if one yard isn’t enough, there’s a second smaller lot available which has a myriad other uses. Furthermore there’s no neighbor to the south to ensure maximum privacy.

So if you’re looking for a home with a yard, and the privacy of the suburbs but aren’t ready to give up the city life just yet, take a look here, you may just have found your new home.

Apartment Plans for Former Edgewater Medical Center Gains Support

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New changes to the proposal of the former Edgewater Medical Center site have gained some support from members of the neighborhood who were concerned with how the new development would proceed.

New renderings for the development released last week showed a reduction in apartments from the originally proposed 213 units down to 141. This includes 9 studio apartments, 100 one-bedrooms and 32 two-bedroom units. Twenty-nine of the 141 units would be set aside for affordable housing.

Lisa Hand, president of the West Edgewater Area Residents association, noted that the new renderings were “well-received so far by residents living near the site at 5700 N. Ashland Ave.,” reports DNA Info Chicago.

MCZ Development, the developer who is in the midst of finalizing the purchase of the former site of the Edgewater Medical Center, recently applied for $10.7 million in tax increment financing money for the project.

MCZ, who already owns and demolished the parking garage of the former site, intends to build luxury homes on that portion of the land.

Instead of demolishing the existing structures and building from the ground up where the medical center stood, MCZ wants to adaptively re-use the buildings.

According to Alderman Pat O’Connor of the 40th Ward, MCZ is planning to close on the land by September and have the buildings ready to move into by March of 2018 reports DNA Info Chicago.

An issue that is still a concern for residents of Edgewater is the parking spaces planned for the apartment development. The recently released proposal of the site includes 141 parking spaces, which matches the number of units. However, this may be too sparse considering some residents may have more than one vehicle in addition to the lack of guest parking.

“The developer is doing the bare minimum of parking,” Hand said.

Another issue concerning residents is ensuring proper environmental safety procedures are utilized throughout any demolition and construction of the apartment buildings

However, Hand noted that the planned addition of park space at the rear of the building was an aspect of the plan that gained support.

Stay tuned for the latest news on this North Side development as it arrives.

Highest Priced Home in Hyde Park Has Quite the History

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The highest priced home in Hyde Park isn’t a modern glitzy abode, but a time capsule lovingly restored by designer and old home restorer Todd Schwebel. The five-bedroom home built in 1916 is priced at $2.495 million and has quite the history as Schwebel made it his mission to bring the property back to its elegant heyday status.

Back in 1996, Schwebel discovered the Moorish Revival row home at 1221 E. 56th Street in Hyde Park and immediately saw past the decaying structure and ill-fitted style instead envisioning what it could be: an authentic recreation of classic homes from days past.

“It was a 1950s time capsule. Edwardian details had been taken away or pushed back,” Schwebel says reports Chicago Magazine. “I’ve put them all back and more so that the home is much grander within a very strict paradigm of the original stylistic intent.”

Schwebel’s mission was to bring the 5,100 square foot home back to its Orientalism roots. The style, which made a brief appearance on the East Coast and in Europe, never really touched down in the Chicago area. Schwebel bought the home 20 years ago and has been restoring it back to its Orientalism past.

The Orientalism motifs that Schwebel used include exotic choices in art, wallpaper and furnishings including a mahogany sofa that once belonged to Secretary of State Daniel Webster, a rocking chair owned by Robert E. Lee and a maple chair from George Washington’s Woodlawn Plantation reports Chicago Magazine.

Always one to go for full authenticity, Schwebel also detailed strap work made from molds a hundred years old, re-framed a Klondike refrigerator in a wooden ice box appropriate for the period and utilized dining room wallpaper that illustrates scenes from the Far East.

The oversized lot features vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors, two decorative fireplaces, deck, foyer and a sunroom to name just a few of the standout details of this classically restored Chicago home.

The home is the most expensive piece of Chicago real estate in the Hyde Park neighborhood. The home is $115,000 more than the Prairie School House at 1217 E. 56th Street and costs more than the Frank Lloyd Wright Heller House at 5132 S. Woodlawn Avenue.

Logan’s Crossing: Malls Aren’t Dead Yet

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In the Logan Square neighborhood residents met for the first public meeting to discuss the details of the mega mall and its developments.

The meeting which was held on May 7th at the Mega Mall, a long standing indoor flea market was packed to a full house. The current flea market is slated for demolition in preparation for the new structure.

In its place would be another mixed-use structure that has proven to be extremely popular among many new buildings in the city that houses 267 residential units, about 350 parking spots, a public green space, and obviously, a slew of new retail outlets. The structure is being developed by Terraco Inc. and if they get approved for the appropriate zoning change then construction could begin at the site located at 2500 N. Milwaukee Ave.

As was evident at the meeting the other night, this isn’t a mall like you think of. This is the mall of the future with a focus on residential units that are paired with 1:1 bike pairing, a bike tech room, rooftop herb garden and up to 45,000 square-feet dedicated to a grocery store. This is a green, healthy mall. Sorry, kids, you have to get your Sbarro’s and loiter somewhere else.

In addition to a slew of wonderful announcements came the talk of affordable housing for Logan’s Crossing. The current plan is to include large 2 – 3 bedroom units that would classify as affordable housing, meaning that the price would be between 30- 50 percent of Average Median Income.

If the plans go further there will obviously be more meetings to flesh out all of the details, but for the time being things are looking good.

Chicago Summer Construction Watch

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Construction is part of the ‘charm’ of living in a big city, and as Chicago heads into its coveted summer months; several sites in particular are drawing attention for their large additions.

First on the list of Chicago construction this summer is the new office tower on 150 North Riverside Dr. The new office front runs right alongside the Chicago River and the building’s concrete core is now above street level. When the building is finally completed it will surely impress with its idyllic riverside view.

Right across the street from that developing site is yet another development at 444 West Lake St. There, construction crews have made progress in developing the building’s steel framing all the way up to the 12 floor. As the building’s lobby begins to take shape, visions of a new public park grow closer to becoming a reality, making this site another beautiful addition to the area.

The third site is at 545 North McClurg where Golub & Company have claimed this site for their own. Four floors can be seen above street level and the jagged facade of the building is coming along quite nicely. The building is sure to add to the area’s aesthetic appeal. Another impressive show of human ingenuity, the Solomon Cordwell Buenz designed tower is becoming a real looker, with a glass facade climbing halfway up the structure.

When finished, it will stand at 45 stories tall with 490 apartment units. The site has history as well, as it was the former studios for CBS and the site of the first televised presidential debate. Though it looks nearly finished, there is much that needs to be done on the inside of the structure before it can be considered complete.

Plans are to open the building early 2017, so if everything goes according to schedule, you can expect that area to be seeing jackhammers and cranes for at least two more years.

500 North Milwaukee is next on the list, seeing an eager show of tools and steel ready to get started, the building is in its early stages of development. It will sport at least 14 stories. Also on Milwaukee is a 12 story, 227 unit apartment building. It’s a visually striking piece of Chicago real estate, expected to be erected this summer.

Latino Cultural Center Hopes to Build New Tower in River North

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The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago, located at 676 N. LaSalle St. in River North, has long been instrumental in raising awareness of Latino cultures in the Chicago area. Since 1985, this non-profit group has presented a myriad of cultural events to the greater Chicago area, celebrating Latino contributions to music, dance, film, and theater.

As Chicago’s Latino population has grown—there are now more than 775,000 people of Latino or Hispanic origin living in Chicago, according to the US Census Bureau—so too has the importance and vision of the Latino Cultural Center. With a total attendance of just 500 in its first year back in ’85, attendance has skyrocketed to over 700,000 people last year alone.

Now, with the announcement of a planned 150,000 square foot tower to be built somewhere downtown, the Center may finally have a facility to match its vision.

First revealed at the Chicago Latino Film Festival earlier this month, the planned Ibero-American Tower would cost an estimated $50 million and would include a new home for the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago, as well as space for a museum, classrooms, retail, theaters, and even a hotel. Fittingly, the announcement of the Juan Gabriel Moreno architects-designed tower coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Center.

Of course, there’s still a long way to go to make this dream a reality. Pepe Vargas, the Executive Director of the Latino Cultural Center, said that the Center still needs to choose a development site before beginning to fundraise for the project. They hope to build near their current location, making the tower yet another project in the long line of River North developments that seem to spring up every day.

Vargas has not yet said whether or not the Latino Cultural Center will be seeking funding from the city, state, or federal government. Regardless, the project will require city approval before moving forward.

Vesta Lofts Now Available for Pre-Leasing

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Trends in South Loop real estate and design come and go. But the Vesta Lofts’ location has been a part of the community since 1913.

The building was originally used to house the Vesta Accumulator – a batter company – but has been revitalized by JK Equities into a 59-unit luxury apartment building. It’s located on 125 East 21st Street – conveniently three blocks from the Lakefront, two blocks west of McCormick and the heart of Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood.

The building was recently named to the National Register of Historic Places and features mostly one bedroom/one bath and two bedroom/two bath units with a few studios and one three-bedroom apartment available for rent.

Average one bedroom units are priced between $1,400 to $1,700 and range from 671 to 796 square feet. Additionally, two-bedroom units are listed from $2,000 to $2,500 for 987 to 1,175 square feet.

Aaron Galvin, owner and managing broker of Luxury Living Chicago Realty – the exclusive leasing brokerage for Vesta Loft – stated on the company’s press release that the essence of Vesta Lofts, “was on the living space inside the apartments, delivering high-end comfort while retaining the building’s historical character.”

The high-end comforts Galvin alludes to include a bounty of luxury amenities such as in-unit washer and dryer, massive oversized closets, high-end kitchens featuring stone countertops with preparation islands, stainless steel appliances throughout, rooftop deck, internet, fitness room and bike storage.

What’s more, Vesta Lofts stays true to the loft definition boasting 14′ to 17′ ceilings, exposed timber posts and beams, and the original exposed brick that one would come to expect of luxury loft living.

If this Chicago luxury rental sounds like your ideal, apply for pre-leasing fast. Loft style living is in hot demand, and coupled with the value and history, the 59 units of Vesta Lofts are expected to move quickly.

Historic Changes Approved for

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This has fascinating implications for Chicago real estate agents and national brokers alike.

NAR president Gary Thomas told Inman that the consumers stand to benefit tremendously from this as they will be able to access information about properties through one site that they would not have been able to find previously on “We wanted to make sure they found everything they needed in order to fulfill their American dream of homeownership,” Thomas said. is a site maintained by NAR, which has existed in some form since 1908. The organization is comprised of some 720,000 members throughout the country and its members are property managers, brokers, appraisers, sales personnel, and other professionals within the real estate industry.

Real estate agents who are affiliates of NAR stand to benefit from this measure since the site is becoming more competitive. will now be able source listings from areas which it historically has not been able to, including multiple listing services that have no affiliation with NAR.

The ultimate goal, experts are saying, is to make as accurate and comprehensive a source of information about realty as possible. Whether the information is being accessed by renters, sellers, or anyone who wishes to get an overview of the entire market, this should make the real estate search process easier for everyone.

The new amendments also do away with a previous requirement that the site had to first obtain consent from a broker managing a listing under foreclosure. can now freely identify properties that have a notice of default, short sales, foreclosures, and auctions of distressed properties — unless the broker who made the listing takes issue with this.

The service will also provide users tools to differentiate Realtors® from real estate agents, while also promoting the idea of being a Realtor®. While this practice might seem unfair in a competitor’s eyes, the online portal should make up for it in its comprehensiveness and ease of use.