Archive for 2007

Solstice on the Park Approved by Plan Commission

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

December 15, 2007 – Solstice on the Park is one step closer to becoming a reality. This past Thursday it was approved by the Chicago Plan Commission, and it will next need to be given the go ahead by the City Council Zoning Committee. Antheus Capital is the developer behind this unique building and Jeanne Gang of Gang Studios and Aqua fame is the architect.

Environmental diagrams showing the science behind the unusual design and balcony angles were presented, giving a better idea how the 26 story, 142 unit building’s shape will have a big impact on the heating and cooling aspects of the condo. Other features of the development include a roof top garden and pool, health club, lower level retail space and ivy covered section.

The main issues to be overcome with this project are associated with the close proximity of the Bret Harte school. Antheus offered to address the potential traffic conflicts by constructing a new alley, drop-off point for children, new playground with equipment and school improvements like air conditioning and entryway work.

Other questions were raised about shadows. Solstice will be set back from its East 56 Street location to reduce shading on the Windmere House apartment building and some neighboring houses. Eli Unger of Antheus Capital and MAC Apartments owns a number of rental properties in Hyde Park and has promised to lock in the rental rates of the building directly north of Solstice.

Construction on Solstice could start as soon as summer 2008 and be completed in 2010. This would be the biggest condo project for Hyde Park in 15 years. With the sculpted, saw tooth design it may make Hyde Park stand out among Chicago Neighborhoods.

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

Head of Spire Marketing Team Gearing Up

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

December 14, 2007 – The January 14th sales launch date is fast approaching for the Chicago Spire and Garrett Kelleher had the foresight to hire a highly respected and experienced manager to head up the sales team. Laura Davis Sherman, former senior vice president of sales at Related Midwest, joined the Spire team nearly a year ago after a short-lived early retirement of sorts.

Sherman had spent 16 years in the marketing business in Chicago and intended to take some time off to focus on family and personal pursuits. But the chance to be a part of what some are calling a future landmark skyscraper was enough to convince her to delay her plans. She has a solid reputation as a sales leader and her law degree would have to be a major asset where contracts are concerned. Sherman will be in charge of sales both nationally and abroad, with Savillis handling the 15 city international sales tour.

Selling out a high percentage of the 1,193 condos in the 150 story tower would be an incredible accomplishment for Sherman. The studios start at $750,000 and the asking price for the uppermost penthouse unit is $40 million. The Spire has a target completion date of 2011, and Sherman is banking on the building’s one-of-a-kind status to bolster sales and make the units marketable. There has not been another project of this size and scope before in the city. Like its design, the Spire may add a whole new twist to the way Chicago Luxury Condos are sold in the future.

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

Second Parking Space Offered at 550 North St Clair

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

December 13, 2007 – 550 North St. Clair has been advertising a “developer closeout” on the building website for the remaining few units available. A recent press release stated that if you close on a three bedroom or bigger condo before the end of December you’ll receive a second parking space for free. The condos of that size generally range from the lower $800,000 mark and up and the parking spaces are valued at an estimated $55,000 each. The building should be completed by late in the first quarter of 2008, but deliveries on the first units will start in January.

Sales at this building are above 80 percent, so there are only a limited number of units left. The combination of a nice Streeterville location and some posh interior details have probably served to push the numbers that high. Studios start in the low $300,000 range and penthouses can go as high as $1.8 million. For that price you get panoramic views from the expansive windows, 10 and 11 foot ceilings, Brazilian cherry or maple flooring, European kitchens with Bosch and Sub Zero appliances, baths detailed in marble with Grohe fixtures and a four pipe heating and cooling system.

550 St Clair is only a half a block from the Magnificent Mile, which puts its residents within strolling distance of not only some of the best entertainment in theater, art and museums, but also a seemingly endless supply of world class restaurants and retailers. Lake Michigan is only three blocks away as well. This excellent location had to be a big draw for sales. 550 St Clair can qualify as a success story for Chicago Condos in Streeterville.

[tags]550 St Clair, Chicago Condos for Sale, Chicago Condos, Chicago Real Estate[/tags]

Construction Lands on 10th Floor at 757 Orleans

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

December 11, 2007 – Since construction on the 22 story 757 Orleans began late this past summer it is already approaching the halfway mark. Work on the 10th floor started this week and first deliveries on the units are on schedule for sometime in July of 2008. According to the Gammonley Group, developer for the project, twenty-five percent of the 198 condos sold before they broke ground and sales now stand at more than fifty percent. Prices for the units range from the upper $200,000 to low $400,000 mark with square feet of living space running between 644 to 1,325.

757 Orleans is located in the trendy River North neighborhood. The area is home to an eclectic assortment of art galleries, unique shops, fantastic restaurants and night spots. You can check out the sales model to see how the interior design of the units reflects the River North energy and character. The model is a 1,171 square foot two bedroom, two bath space that showcases some expected and some unexpected finishes. Stepping away from the traditional granite counter tops, 757 kitchens instead feature onyx with a Biazza glass mosaic backsplash as an upgrade option. The master bath has a large oval shaped tub and stainless steel vessel bowls. Of course floor to ceiling windows frame the picturesque views, hardwood floors are standard and either a large balcony or terrace comes with each floor plan.

When completed, building amenities at 757 Orleans will include a 24 hour doorman, terrace on both the sixth floor and top level, plus fitness and business centers.

If onyx and glass aren’t your style but exposed timbers and ductwork are, you can find plenty of great deals on Chicago Condo Lofts in the area as well.

[tags]757 Orleans, Chicago Illinois, Chicago Condos for Sale[/tags]

Spire Land Dispute Ends

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

December 10, 2007 – The latest chapter in the Shelbourne Development versus RiverView Condominium Association creates more questions than answers. A few posts ago we mentioned that Garrett Kelleher’s company was being sued by the condo association over the intended use of a narrow parcel of land for which the developer had obtained an easement. A reported sum of $500,000 had been paid to the RiverView group, who then returned the money and filed a lawsuit to stop the impending excavation beneath the disputed land adjoining the RiverView complex and the Chicago Spire construction site.

As of last Monday, the issue became moot because Shelbourne declared in court that they didn’t need the land any more. They did stipulate that there was never any wrong doing on their part and they had fully disclosed their intended use of the land before entering into the agreement with the condo association. Shelbourne said they had informed the RiverView group that digging for an underground garage would take place and possibly cause the existing townhomes to settle. Riverview insisted they were told the land would only be used for utility lines. Shelbourne also contends the land isn’t owned by the RiverView Association.

There are always two sides to every story, no matter how complicated. Why Shelbourne would pay a half million for a small piece of land they later claim isn’t crucial to the project is curious. So is the fact that if they believed RiverView didn’t own the rights to that land, then why bother to get an easement in the first place?

With marketing for the Spire set to begin next month, it will be interesting to see if this controversial development has any effect on All Condos for Sale in Chicago.

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

Full Floor Model Open at 50 East Chestnut

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

December 8, 2007 – For those of you who have been wanting to see what the full floor suites at 50 East Chestnut look like, a fully furnished model is open. Designed by Gary Lee Partners, it showcases what the standard plan for a nearly $2.8 million, 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath suite with 3,904 square feet of living space would look like.

In a compromise for privacy versus open space, the rooms are divided by folding millwork partitions instead of permanent walls. This allows the buyer to adjust the flow of the rooms according to their need. Color themes are also a bit of a contrast with what the designer calls “gallery white” in the common areas and darker, more subdued tones in the bedrooms. Earth tone hardwood floors and cabinets are accented by lighter colored furniture and natural stone.

Other model highlights include a private elevator, large terrace accessible from the family room and master bedroom and another terrace with electrical and gas hook-up off the kitchen. The kitchen comes with an island and Sub Zero, Bosch and Wolf appliances. The master bath is lavish with natural stone shower bench, soaker tub and separate area with recessed makeup counter, bench and dual vanities. The other two bedrooms located on opposite ends of the suite also have their own baths. Even the building lobby is a kind of showcase with mahogany paneling and marble fireplace.

Deliveries began in October and will continue through early 2008. There are still around half of the units available, so if the model is your dream home there is still time to buy at this development. Or you can shop around at some of the other Chicago Luxury Condos for sale.

[tags]50 East Chestnut, Chicago Illinois, Chicago Condos for Sale[/tags]

Eco18 More Than One Shade of Green

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

December 7, 2007 – Free parking seems to be the incentive most frequently offered lately and Dynaprop Development Corporation is joining the crowd with eco18. According to a recent housing newswire press release, right now buyers can receive a free space valued at $18,900 in the heated garage. If you combine that with monthly assessments of less than $300 due to a 40 to 45 percent savings in energy costs from solar and geothermal features, eco18 is green in more ways than one.

The 93 condos in the 12 story building that will take up residence on 1818 South Wabash are priced from about $249,900 to $649,900. The geothermal heating and cooling system will have piping drilled down 450 feet into bedrock. Hot water will be provided by a solar thermal system and the toilets are Toto models that conserve water. The entire construction process incorporated recycled materials and is attempting to gain Gold LEED certification.

Some other nifty features include a fourth floor roof top garden with dog run and adjoining fitness center, elegant two story lobby with keyless entry, choice of granite or limestone counter tops in the kitchen and baths, either white, black or stainless steel appliances, indoor air purification system and white soaker tub plus rectangular china sink in the master baths.

Eco18 is 25 percent sold, according to Jameson Realty Group, so there’s time to get in on this development. But if green isn’t your color, there are several Gold Coast Chicago Condos that might be more your style.

[tags]eco18, Chicago Illinois, Chicago Condos for Sale[/tags]

Financing Secured for First Phase of Mod

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

December 6, 2007 – At least one development seems to have had no difficulty obtaining financing for construction. Public records show that in October, developers Pickus Company, Castlebar Enterprises and Stillpoint Development closed a $3.25 million mezzanine loan from First Chicago Bank and Trust along with a $22 million mortgage from MB Financial for Mod. The West Loop development will occupy 1222-1224 West Madison.

This capital will fund the first phase of the project, which will be a five story building with 56 condos that have from one to two bedrooms and contain 800 to 1,400 square feet. Delivery is expected for the last quarter of 2009. According to Pickus, some 24 of those 56 units have been pre-sold. That is just over 40 percent, which wouldn’t be enough to satisfy some lenders. The condos, which run between the $200,000 and $400,000 range, are priced lower than a lot of the other developments in the neighborhood. That may have contributed to lender confidence that the project would fare well.

The second phase of Mod will be 36 condos in another building, bringing the total units to 96 for the entire complex. The homes at Mod will feature 10 foot ceilings, private balconies, polished concrete floors, washer and dryer hook-ups, European teak wood veneer cabinets and vanities and a Frigidaire stainless steel Energy Star appliance package.

If 50 percent sales wasn’t the magic number for Mod to gain financing, then maybe $350 per square foot was. You just have to find the right combination if you want to Sell your Chicago Condo.

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

Fire Department Has Reservations About Trump Hotel

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

December 5, 2007 – The December 3rd soft opening of the hotel suites at the Trump International Hotel and Tower did end up being delayed due to a lack of necessary permits. The building still needed to complete a number of safety features and the Chicago Fire Department planned to inspect the development again later this week to see if those features have been finished. Until they are satisfied, no permits will be issued.

Some of the safety features that the CFD specified include an emergency evacuation plan put on file with the city, elevator operation safety elements in case of fire, testing the alarm system and the apron on the Wabash side must be completed so that fire engines will be able to pull up close to the tower in case of an emergency. Donald Trump’s son and namesake claims the necessary conditions have been met and they are now just waiting for the inspection to take place.

A partial certificate of occupancy is being sought by Trump so that three floors of the hotel can open, with the other floors opening in stages until the entire tower is completed in April of 2009. Floors 14 through 27 of the 92 story tower are designated to contain hotel suites. All of the units at the building will be privy to luxury hotel services including a health club, spa, dry cleaning and laundry service, concierge, in-home catering and housekeeping services.

When construction on this tower is finally finished, the residences there will likely be some of the most luxurious Chicago Condos on the market.

[tags]Trump International Hotel and Tower, Chicago Illinois, Chicago Condos for Sale[/tags]

Crunching Numbers at the Spire

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

December 4, 2007 – With lenders getting tough about collecting on construction loans and even tougher about lending in the first place, we can’t help but wonder about the fate of some pre-construction projects currently marketing units. As in yesterday’s post about the Mandarin Oriental, it’s obvious that 50% sales won’t guarantee a developer a loan. That being said, the Chicago Spire may have a long hard climb ahead to sell enough units to actually get built.

As a rule of thumb, in a healthy market a well designed, high quality development would normally close contracts on about 10% of the people who schedule appointments and visit the sales center. According to a sales consultant from Savills (L&P) Inc., starting January 14, 2008 they will begin private showings at the sales model that occupies one whole floor of the NBC Tower. To quote, they say that “to date we have nearly 500 appointments scheduled.” If you use the 10% formula, that translates into only 50 hard sales so far. With an estimated 1,193 condos in the building that’s a sobering number.

Despite all of the hype and controversy attached to this development, the prices just may not be supported by today’s market. Suites start at $750,000 with one bedrooms from $1.35 million on up to 4 bedrooms at $5.8 million. Only time will tell if Garrett Kelleher’s dream project will be able to sell enough units to actually reach 150 stories. It’s a scenario that may be played over again by more than one Condo Builder in Chicago.

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