Archive for 2007

Eco18 Turning Green Into Gold

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

July 26, 2007 – Eco18, in its pursuit of LEED Gold certification, has received Tier Three qualification in the Chicago Permit system. It is the very first building to do so and achieving this allows Eco18 developers to be exempt from fees and paperwork associated with the lengthy permit process involved with building projects.

The two towers on 1818 South Wabash will consist of 12 floors and a total of 93 living units. The ground floor will contain retail space and the second and third floors will be reserved for resident parking.

During every phase of construction, Eco18 has worked towards green certification. Materials, building supplies and even water usage were monitored to obtain maximum efficiency and be environmentally friendly. To conserve energy, Eco18 will have a complex series of solar panels on the roof tops that will supply enough power to heat almost 50 percent of the resident's hot water usage needs. To offset the normally high energy drain of heating and cooling costs, an underground geo-thermal hot water system will be installed and able to provide almost 75 percent of the power.

Other green features include a fourth floor roof top garden that spans 12,000 feet and energy efficient devices such as water saving shower heads and faucets, toilets and washing machines. Eco18 developers are going the extra distance and their dedication to green construction will also translate to green savings for the environment and residents.

You can find more information about other green developments or new condo construction in general by visiting The Best Condos in Chicago

[tags]Eco18, Chicago Illinois, Chicago Condos for sale[/tags]

340 On The Park Gets A Green Light

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

July 25, 2007 – With the honor of being the very first condominium in Chicago to be given LEED certification for green construction and building features, the final touches were put on 340 On The Park and developers called the project complete this month. With so much recent focus on global warming and environmental issues, 340 On The Park is right in vogue with the concerns of many buyers and satisfies the desire to be a part of something positive.

340 rises up to a towering 64 floors and the condos there have a stunning view of Millennium and Grant Parks and Lake Michigan. All of that fresh green landscape and sky blue water adds to the “green” feel of the building. Developers took the green down to sidewalk level with landscaped planters along Randolph as well as on the roof top. The building also features a beautiful garden on the 25th floor, rain water collection system for the plants installed, and the outside of the building is sheathed in a type of insulated glass to help with temperature control.

340 On The Park shows that developers can successfully combine luxury condo construction with respect to the environment and offer quality homes to buyers in the process. The green building trend is much more popular on the East and West coasts, where trends usually start, but it is gaining momentum here in Chicago as well.

For more information about 340 On The Park or other condo developments, check out Chicago New Construction Condos

[tags]340 On The Park, Chicago Illinois, Chicago Condos for Sale[/tags]

New Chicago Condo Builders Section

Monday, December 24th, 2007

American Invsco and The Belgravia Group are our first featured condo builders in our new Condo Developers section, to be updated daily. Get the lowdown on these companies, and learn more about their Chicago luxury and new construction condominiums, like Ontario Place, 565 Quincy, Union Row townhomes, Millennium Centre, and The River City Private Residences. Stay tuned for more featured builders daily.

[tags]Chicago condos, Chicago condo developers, American Invsco, Belgravia Group[/tags]

Chicago Spire Gains A Foothold

Monday, December 24th, 2007

July 24, 2007 – From all reports, it looks as though the Chicago Spire may actually begin its twisting ascent into the skyline soon. Since the first announcement of the project in 2005, the Spire has undergone several major changes both in name, design and developer. The fact that foundation work is imminent means that architect Santiago Calatrava's dream building is more than the plume of smoke that was said to be the design inspiration.

The Chicago Tribune reported in late June that Irish developer Shelbourne Development had made a decision on which company would be granted the contract for the building's foundation work. Case Foundation Company is now in charge of that extensive work, and Shelbourne Development released a statement saying that permits had been acquired, equipment necessary is present and the estimated completion of the foundation would be early 2008 with total project completion sometime in 2010.

Garrett Kelleher, who is the executive director of the development company, was quoted in the Chicago Real Estate Daily as saying, “This marks a significant milestone, as it was the last step before officially beginning construction.” He also said that they expect to begin a marketing campaign as early as this fall for the 1,200 luxury condominium units the Spire will house.

For more information on the Spire or any of the other new and pre-construction condos in Chicago and the surrounding area, be sure to visit Chicago Illinois Condominiums for Sale

[tags]Chicago Spire, Chicago Illinois, Chicago Condos for Sale[/tags]

Chicago Townhouses

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Townhouses started gaining popularity more than a century ago in urban areas, where open land was still largely available. But today, modern variations are sprouting in cities and suburbs to prove that townhouses have a future in the real estate market and provide a great way of life.

Townhouses are built side by side and connected by common walls, typically two or more stories tall. Usually owners share the cost of maintaining common areas, but hold the title to their unit.

Here's the layout of a typical Chicago townhouse: the alley is eliminated, reducing by half the paved space of the block. The car is moved out of a separate garage and into an open air car-port under the townhouse. Each townhouse is connected to a newly liberated green space; the salvaged area is developed as large scale recreational amenities for the residents. The structure is constructed of prefabricated and poured-in-place concrete, while the facades are different combinations of glass and prefabricated insulated panels. By combining open and contemporary floor plans with timeless Queenslander or Colonial facades, design projects create a seamless harmonious union of yesterday and tomorrow.

To maximize a small space, the town home design should feature light colors and proper proportions, height, angles and repetition of items throughout the room. Having a good time when putting a space together is a must, since then both you and your friends will be comfortable in it. Finally, give a room a quick makeover with fresh paint on the ceiling. A crisp white ceiling with crown molding will give the feeling of more volume, making up for lack of floor space.

When you are considering the design of your townhouse in Chicago, keep the following things in mind: security, building shape, public open space, building layout, landscaping, and parking. Parking is one of the most difficult issues to resolve in affordable housing development projects. It can overwhelm the best designed buildings and open spaces, so its overall impact must be considered very carefully. You should not let the parking space dominate the property or the streetscape. Security is another important consideration, and parking areas should allow easy access and surveillance from the housing units.

The overall shape of the new building has a huge impact on the surrounding neighborhood and on how a development is perceived by the community where it is located. The height of a new building is extremely important. If it is too high it can overwhelm its neighbors, if its too low it can create a gap in the physical “fabric” of a neighborhood. So you have to be extremely careful and consider the whole of the surrounding buildings. Creating a building whose size and shape generally complements the size and shape of surrounding buildings will make the new development more acceptable to its neighbors.

Sensitively designed public open space can turn a good development into a great one, providing a lasting amenity for residents and neighbors alike.

The whole layout of the building and they way it looks is critical to its acceptance within a community. The windows, facade, roof shape, size of openings, trim and details, and materials and color should be generally compatible with the surrounding neighborhood and should not vary widely from that of its neighbors or from that of good quality middle class housing nearby.

[tags]Chicago Townhouses, Chicago Condos, Chicago Real Estate[/tags]

Flair Tower Proposed for River North

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

December 22, 2007 – With rents on the rise, there has been more developer interest in apartment buildings lately. More than one condo project has been redesigned and converted to apartment units. According to a recent Sun Times article, an empty parking lot in River North is one of the latest sites where plans for an apartment high-rise are in the works. Developer Dan McCaffery wants to build on a site located on the northeast corner of Erie and Franklin Streets, near the three story Flair House. The new development would be called Flair Tower and consist of a 26 story tower plus a low-rise next to Flair House with a total of 201 units.

McCaffery hired architect Joseph Antunovich to work up the design. The historic Flair House originated in the late 1800s and gets its name from the Flair Communications Incorporated advertising agency that has called the building home for years. Flair executive Lee Flaherty also happens to have founded the Chicago Marathon. The development plans are designed to compliment the existing structure and sport a traditional brick facade on the lower levels. Almost 13,000 square feet of space on the bottom floors would be dedicated to retail.

It will prove interesting to see if the tightening condo market continues in 2008 and supports the construction of more Chicago Apartments.

[tags]Flair Tower, Chicago Condos, Chicago Real Estate[/tags]

Emerald Going Green With Incentives

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

December 21, 2007 – When you think of green this time of year it’s probably in the form of evergreen. But Emerald is offering up some green you can cash in on. If you visit their website, you’ll see a spiffy wrapped package with a big green bow. Click on the Holiday Offer and you’ll get a list of incentives available to buyers until December 31st.

There is one free eco-friendly electric scooter left worth about $2,000. New buyers also get $5,000 in upgrades they can use on flooring, cabinets, plumbing fixtures or a number of other finishes. Another $5,000 can be had if you refer another buyer to the project. Finally, if you use the development’s lender, Providence Funding Group, you can take $1,000 off closing costs on your condo. A low 5% down payment is required.

According to the construction update, the south tower is vertical and the north tower moving up. First occupancy of the 212 units is expected in spring of 2008. Some true green features of the development include recycled construction materials, low VOC paint and recycled interior fabrics. Even the sales brochures were made from recycled paper and printed with soy ink.

The 8,000 foot lobby will showcase a private resident bar dubbed Club Emerald. There will also be a common area off the bar called the Green Room which will feature a flat screen television with surround sound and be fully furnished.

If you don’t want to stuff your stocking with Emerald green and would rather have your own mantle and chimney for the holidays, check out the selection of Townhouses in Chicago with cozy living room fireplaces.

[tags]Emerald, Chicago Condos, Chicago Real Estate[/tags]

New Condominium to Rise in Chinatown

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Chicago-based developers Capri Capital Partners LLC and Judson Investment Co. plan to erect a new 1 million square-foot mixed-use condo/retail building in Bronzeville, which is slated to begin construction in early 2008. The building, called The Metropolis, will feature over 320,000 sq. ft. of retail space along with 102 luxury condominiums, 20 of which are reserved for lower-income buyers and priced very reasonably at around $160,000. A similar condo nearby would probably go for around $350,000. Other condominiums in the complex are planned to sell between $250,000 and $400,000.

[tags]Chicago Condos, The Metropolis, Bronzeville Condos[/tags]

Walton on the Park Sets Date to Break Ground

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

December 20, 2007 – Developers Mesirow Financial Real Estate and Enterprise Co. have announced the groundbreaking date of January 21, 2008 for Walton on the Park. This comes on the heels of closing a $135 million construction loan from Corus Bank to finance the first phase of the two tower project. Besides the loan from Corus, the developers and a group of investors have raised roughly $50 million themselves for the project.

The first tower is set to be 39 stories with 198 condos. Enterprise chairman Ron Shipka was quoted in Crain’s as saying they have sold about 43% of the units in the first building, which will be constructed on the south side. The north tower will house 187 condos and those won’t begin marketing until the south tower sales reach 75%, which is expected to be sometime late next year. The Walton website lists one bedroom units from $450,000, two bedroom from $540,000 and three bedrooms from $1.3 million.

Walton on the Park takes its name in part from Washington Square Park, which is located just across the street and is Chicago’s oldest park. Amenities at this Gold Coast development include a sun deck complete with outdoor fireplace, pool, grilling stations and landscaped garden. The Walton Club is slated to be a top notch fitness center and spa for residents. There will also be a concierge at the ready to handle reservations and all the little details in life.

Gold Coast Chicago Condos like Walton on the Park usually command higher prices, but as with most things, you get what you pay for.

[tags]Walton on the Park, Chicago Condos, Chicago Real Estate[/tags]

2006 Chicago Condo Sales Outperform Nation

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Condo sales in Chicago fell in 2006 compared with 2005, but proved to be one of strongest markets nationwide, compared to the many regions that saw far more extreme drops.

On January 16, The New York Times reported that:

Since the middle of 2006, the frenzied condominium market [in New York] and in several other big cities like Las Vegas, Miami and Boston has collapsed. Once roaring sales have slowed to a trickle, sparse inventory has mushroomed into a glut and soaring prices have flattened out and started falling.

Preliminary year-end figures from the Illinois Association of Realtors show that 2006 condo sales in metropolitan Chicago fell 8.2 percent—50,488 units sold, compared with 54,989 units in 2005. Meanwhile, across the nation, condo sales for 2006 fell 10.4 percent to 803,000 units, after 10 straight years of gains.

Chicago area brokers and real estate developers say that it has become harder to sell condo units, but still characterize the market as “normal”—despite the glut of new condo inventory.

“I think buyers are still cautious,” said Michael Maier, vice president of sales and marketing at Chicago-based MCL Companies, a developer. What was once a three to four-week conversion period on a condo or townhouse takes close to 17 weeks now, he added.

“There are still buyers; there just aren't so many investors,” said Maier. “We don't have investors … making the prices go up.”

A bright spot in the outlook for Chicago condos was that their median price actually went up 0.8 percent year over year—from $245,000 to $247,000. This was less than the increase seen nationally, which was 1.1 percent—from $219,600 to $222,000.

However, these price increases came nowhere near to matching the overall national inflation rate for last year, which was 3.4%.

The majority of sales reported by the Illinois Association of Realtors represent existing condos. The figures released recently are expected to be revised upward.

Dr. Lawrence Yun, senior economist at the National Association of Realtors, said at a January 19 conference of Realtors in Chicago that there was nothing for Illinois to worry about, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors.

“Those [other] markets that took off faster than others are struggling now more than others,” said Yun. “The Midwest is stable and mortgage debt ratio is healthy.”

Many local real estate brokers predict that sales are going to pick up after the glacially slow pace set in the last months of 2006. “I think the indication on the street is that the activity has increased. I had more activity in the first 30 days of the year than I did in the previous two months combined,” said Alex Chaparro, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors.

Chaparro said that sellers must be keenly aware of what customers want in order to attract qualified buyers.

“Where is the person going to eat? Where are they going to sit on the couch?” he said. “If there are properties that have sold out, someone has sat down and thought of these things.”