Archive for the 'Housing' Category

Vesta Lofts Now Available for Pre-Leasing

Friday, August 9th, 2013

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.

Gold Coast Gets a Residential High-Rise

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Chicago’s Gold Coast is synonymous with luxury living. From million dollar walk-ups to awe-inspiring high-rises the area is bursting with top-of-the-line real estate and known as one of the best Chicago neighborhoods.

This is exactly why Don Wilson, a local trader, founder, and CEO of DRW Holdings LLC wants in on the action. According to a zoning application filed on July 24, Mr. Wilson is leading a venture to build a residential high rise at State and Elm Streets. Along with Wilson, the project will also include developers Fred Latsko and Mark Hunt.

Preliminary plans include building a forty-unit luxury residential tower at 1149-67 North State Street featuring 4,200 square feet of ground-floor retail and 80 available parking spaces. The developers plan to keep the existing two-story retail space that currently is located within the drafted plans at 1163-67 N. State. However, a few smaller retail structures are headed for demolition that includes a three-story building at 1149 N. State.

The plans proposed in the zoning application highlight a tower that will rise 335 feet, which is twice the currently permitted height of 155 feet, according to city documentation. Consequently, a zoning reclassification must be approved for Wilson and his development team to move forward with the new construction. Reclassification of the zoning parameters requires both support from the residing neighborhood and backing of Alderman Robert Fioretti (2nd).

Yet, when asked about the new plans by Crain’s, Alderman Fioretti stated, “They have yet to reach out to my office. They haven’t reached out to anyone in the community. To sneak this in is unacceptable.”

Aldermen in Chicago have controlled most zoning decisions in the past, which gives them a significant influence over the shape and evolution of neighborhoods. Thus, with Fioretti’s recent statement it is uncertain if the plan will pass.

South Bend Gets Luxury Condominium

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

When someone tells you they live in a mid or high-rise luxury condo, you probably assume they live in New York, Chicago or another major metropolitan market.

Well add South Bend, Indiana to your list of choices.  If all goes to plan, the Panzica Building Corporation and Frank Perri will be developing part of the city to include a new, urban lifestyle option with their Cascade Condominiums.

It’s not the Notre Dame Irish fans that drove the developers to choose the South Bend site; rather the motive was the St. Joseph River.  The development team says the luxury condos will provide remarkable views and draw attention back to the clean environment and the peaceful riverfront.

The Cascade Condominiums is projected to include two seven-story towers incorporating a sustainable design and green concepts built upon a parking garage.  Each tower will include 12 units varying in size from 2,500 -3,100 square feet.

Communal features include a landscaped enclosed courtyard, roof terrace, entertainment penthouse featuring a wet bar, decorative rooftop lighting, and various outdoor eating areas.  In addition, second floor units will offer residents private green roof patios and optional solarium extensions.  Developers are also planning to build a third building onsite to house studio apartments and retail space.

Condos are currently priced at $500,000-$700,000 – a competitive asking-price for the current market.  Developers hope to pre-sell more than half the units before construction begins and requested the city of South Bend to offer financial support.    However, no offer has been extended yet.  With or without financial assistance the Panzica Building Corporation and Frank Perri plan to move forward with construction of the mid-rise condo complex.

How will the new construction impact your real estate search?  Will you be tempted to move from your Chicago home to the suburbs?

Presidential Towers Interest on Sale

Monday, July 29th, 2013

According to Yo Chicago, nearly half of the interest of the Presidential Towers is now on the market. The Presidential Towers – the largest apartment complex in the city with 2,346 units – is located Chicago’s West Loop.

According to Crain’s, Waterton Associates LLC, the owners of the Presidential Towers, want to sell a 49 percent stake in the building through Eastdil Secure brokerage. The building was purchased for $475 million in 2007, as the Chicago real estate market was at its peak, and this move will test the notion held among real estate experts that the downtown market is in good shape once again.

The Crain’s article states that apartment values in downtown Chicago have increased sharply over the course of the past few years. This is attributed to the fact that high occupancies and rents have increased property incomes and near record low interest rates have boosted the buying power of investors.

The towers are situated in one of the most booming areas in the Chicago real estate market, and, as the Crain’s article illustrates, they have a colorful history.

Presidential Towers consists of four 50-story buildings situated across two city blocks bounded by Clinton, Monroe, Madison, and Desplaines streets. The towers were constructed in the 1980s with federal subsidies made available by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski. That was only five years before the developers had defaulted on their sizeable loan — $159 million. In 1995, the Pritzker family purchased the property, and thus saved it from foreclosure.

In 2007, Waterton seized ownership of the Presidential Towers from the Pritzker family and financed their acquisition with a $325 million mortgage. They’ve seen a return on their investment. In 2012, the property generated a net operating income of $27.9 million, a dramatic 49 percent improvement from the $18.8 million it generated in 2007. And even though it’s the largest complex in the city, it is nearly filled to capacity – 93 percent of the property is occupied.

With that said, it looks like a sound investment for anyone who wants the share. It’s the largest property in Chicago, located in one of Chicago’s best neighborhoods in the current housing market, and it generates millions every year.

Ukraninan Village Condos Sold Out Pre-Construction

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

An 18-unit development in Ukrainian Village was entirely sold — and what’s more — most of them haven’t even been built yet!

According to Chicago Magazine, all of the 28 homes from developer Noah Properties in the two single-family home groupings and single condos were under contract before construction was completed. And not only has everything sold — everything has sold at the asking price or even higher.

Izabela Sloma of Sergio & Banks, who serves as Noah’s listing agent on most of the recently sold properties, said that price had a lot to do with it. “There’s a ton of buyers who want these [homes] because the prices are lower there than on the other side of Chicago Avenue,” Sloma told Chicago Magazine.

She guesses that if the same properties were north of Chicago, they would cost at least $50,000 more, and if they were even just the slightest bit farther north in Bucktown, that they would be worth $1 million.

Every property includes: a garage space, private outdoor space, access to communal roof decks, custom kitchens with luxurious appliances, distinguished lighting, complex and ornate woodwork, and spacious master suites with luxurious baths. All of these amenities were included in the base price.

One group of houses in the Ukrainian Village on Erie street sold recently in the $799,000 range. The other group of houses located on Ohio that just sold, and are in the process of being constructed, were initially priced in that same price range. But the prices were re-listed earlier this year at $849,000.

Sloma attributes this to the Chicago housing market improving. The finishes at the Ohio properties could be another variable to consider, as they are are more expensive and modern than the homes on Erie. This could be another reason for increased prices.

Developers in the Ukrainian Village should be inspired because this hot list of properties could point to promising trends for sellers as the Chicago housing market recovers.

Interns Need a Home, Too

Friday, July 12th, 2013

When Equus Capital Partners bought the apartment building at 2 East 8th Street in 2003, they quickly converted it into an 882-bed student housing facility, which involved extensive upgrades throughout the building. Now, the building has been sold for $59 million to a three-party venture intent on remodeling the building once again, this time for use as intern housing.

Chicago rentals have long been a popular option for area college students, but these properties are also popular amongst interns working short-term for area businesses. The new 8th Street project is targeting just that; the remodel, which is a joint venture between Marc Realty Residential LLC, Atlas Real Estate Partners and Angelo Gordon & Co., will consist of 330 units.

According to a recent report from Chicago Real Estate Daily, the three-party venture now plans to spend “a few million dollars” on various renovations. These updates are likely to include installation of new stainless steel appliances, new countertops and building new floors throughout the building.

But the 28-story apartment complex will boast more than interior updates. A retail space of approximately 20,000 square feet is planned for the building’s first floor. Residents will also have access to an all-new four-story parking garage; and for those who don’t have a car, the complex is within easy walking distance of area businesses and schools.

Because Chicago’s summertime housing market is driven largely by interns seeking short-term living solutions, and because the 8th Street project targets this demographic, MRR Principal David L. Ruttenberg is marketing the updated property specifically to local Chicago businesses.

While interns are the target demographic for current marketing efforts, they will not be the only residents to occupy the renovated property. Anyone seeking short-term housing will be able to apply, meaning there will likely be several college students expressing interest.

Is little the new big in Chicago?

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Forget massive skyscrapers with hundreds of apartments and condos—scale it down to newer residential buildings with 14-20 units. Recently, there have been several instances of local Chicago home builders capitalizing on this niche by focusing on small-knit communities.

Noah Properties LLC, a local development company, has experienced considerable success by this scaled down approach. In fact, their latest condominium project in Lakeview only plans to house 14 units. Focusing on more modest residential projects has been the company’s recipe for success.

On the corner of Ashland and Grace sits the abandoned Cy’s Crab House, an empty shell of a business, a rarity for the prosperous Lakeview neighborhood. Well, this highly visible location won’t be an eyesore for much longer as Noah Properties LLC has broken ground on a new 14-unit building on the once bank-owned parking lot.

The parking lot was purchased for $1.3 million dollars and the plan is to erect a mix of three-and four-bedroom condos starting at $430,000. This acquisition represents yet another example of local homebuilders investing in lower-risk condo constructions in highly desirable neighborhoods.

This strategy has become Noah’s bread and butter over the years; they’ve recently sold out a 24-unit West Town project in addition to single-family homes throughout Lincoln Park. The company remains active on the north side and also works in the Northcenter and Bucktown neighborhoods. As Chicagoans demand newer constructions, Noah has been leading the charge in bringing inventory to the market.

Due to an increase in sales and stabilized home prices, condo development in the city has picked up exponentially. In fact, Chicago home sales have increased 20% in February from the previous year. This represents the highest performing February in seven years.

The construction on Ashland will have eight single floor three-bedrooms priced at $430,000; two three-bedroom duplexes starting at $550,000; and two four-bedroom penthouses listed at $700,000. This building is located in the exceptional Blaine Elementary School District and residents are slated to begin moving in around the beginning of the upcoming school year.

Old Town Apartment Building Sold for Record-Breaking $158 Million

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Heitman LLC broke records with its acquisition of 1225 Old Town. The 250-unit apartment building sold for the highest price ever paid for an apartment building in downtown Chicago.

According to an article in Crain’s, the Chicago real estate investment firm has committed to paying $158 million, which translates to roughly $632,000 per unit — remarkably high for Chicago. This indicates that investors are looking to capitalize on low interest rate deals for properties that will be used for Chicago luxury rentals in the best Chicago neighborhoods.

It does look, however, like residents will be getting what they pay for. The building has several desirable amenities, including: parking for residents, a private dog run, indoor bicycle storage, outdoor heated pool and hot tub, fire pit and stainless steel bbq grills, a fully-equipped fitness center, private movie theater, a demonstration kitchen, and a cyber social lounge.

According to Chicago Real Estate Daily, this piece of Old Town property consists of about 33,000 square feet of retail space, and most of it is leased to the Plum Market grocery store.

It’s been said that the retail space boosts the property’s value — by $25 million to $28 million — complicating per-unit price comparison with other recent sales (and it’s perhaps worth noting also that  other Chicago luxury spaces, like the Grand Plaza, factor retail space into their price as well. And, value of retail space left out of the equation, it’s likely the Old Town apartments are selling at a record price.

Crain’s discussed this recent transaction as being just one example of what they’re calling a “golden era” for apartment landlords, in that those seeking Chicago real estate downtown have been favoring apartments over Chicago condominiums, pushing rent to record high levels.

Part of what makes these Chicago luxury rentals unique is that the building prides itself on being eco-friendly. They boast of a cooling and heating system which they claim will reduce the building’s energy consumption by 16%. Another green technology they use involves regional and recycled construction materials that are used to minimize the carbon footprint of construction.

An on-site recycling program is also offered as well as plumbing fixtures which save water, energy-efficient appliances, and windows which yield extensive daylight exposure into the unit, thus decreasing the need for artificial light.

Which goes to show you — you can live luxuriously in a piece of prime Chicago real estate and still be environmentally conscious.

Pet-Friendly Amenities

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Pet-friendly housing in Chicago is increasingly becoming more common throughout the city. The fact that our furry friends are becoming less of an issue, makes buying a home in Chicago more appealing to pet owners and those who have thought about becoming one.

Gone are the days of city dwellers living in less desirable places that have pet-friendly policies or a landlord who doesn’t care enough if you sneak them in.  And it’s no surprise that this change is taking place, with an estimated 164 million pets sharing a home with humans in the U.S. today. According to KC Theisen, director of pet care issues for the Humane Society, in a Chicago Tribune article, landlords would eliminate nearly 50 percent of America from the tenant pool if they didn’t allow pets into their properties.

A great example of this growing trend in real estate is a recent listing for a 2-bedroom apartment at 652 W. Aldine Avenue that grabbed national attention when each photo featured a cute, brown dog gazing at the camera while depicting features of the property. The pictures were picked up by pop culture website BuzzFeed.com and even appeared on Good Morning America. Tenants John and Sara Kanive, overwhelmed by the surge of responses, rented their apartment in less than 24 hours.

Of course, pet-friendly amenities come with strings attached. Pets increase the chance of damage to the property and landlords need to figure out a way to deal with noise, outdoor waste, and interactions with those other tenants who don’t like dogs. One solution for property-owners is to “interview” prospective tenants’ pets and outline rules and regulations throughout the lease. Renters can provide evidence of shots, training, veterinary reports, and proof of proper care.

Two Chicago condos that are pet friendly include 925 W. Darkin, a rehabbed vintage building in Wrigleyville, and the Echelon at K Station, a luxury apartment tower with a nearby dog park and occasional activities designed especially for your pooch.

These are just two of the many properties in Chicago welcoming your cute companion. There’s no doubt that pet-friendly homes in Chicago will continue to increase and be welcomed by the growing pet lovers throughout the city.

Failed South Loop Condo Project Loses Appeal

Monday, July 1st, 2013

The site of the Columbian at 1160 South Michigan used to be sacred ground in Chicago.  The South Loop real estate was home to the Avenue Motel for decades, where it was a great example of ‘50s Americana style. There were high hopes for its restoration and potential landmark status, which didn’t follow through.

Then came the rumors that the site was to host a colossal jazz museum with the proximity to the Museum campus.  Yet, with undisclosed details the property was transferred to its current developer, Allison Davis and took off in a different direction.

The site became a 46-story, 220 unit high-rise of Chicago condos on the southwest corner of Michigan and Roosevelt.  Records show that the new construction launched by Mr. Davis in 2005, was financed with a $92 million senior loan from Chicago-based Corus Bank and an $18 million junior loan from Fidelity.

At the beginning of March 2009, the Columbian condo projected went south for Davis.  When the real estate market plummeted, his investment in the South Loop was no exception.

Defaulting on both loans, he eventually paid off the Corus loan and reached a forbearance agreement with Fidelity in July to avert full foreclose.  Reports disclose the agreement allowed Fidelity to repossess unsold units in the building in the case of any further defaults.

Less than six months after entering the agreement, Davis defaulted on numerous accounts and a Fidelity subsidiary promptly took over the unsold units that February.

As many troubled developers, owners, and investors did at the time, Davis took action and prompted suit.  Recently, the Illinois Appellate Court ruled against the Davis’ lawsuit for the defaulted $18 million loan.

The market is now in Fidelity’s favor.  When the Columbian was originally developed, Roosevelt Road lacked the retail development the area has today.

Appraisal Research Vice President Gail Lissner told Crain’s that “although the tower faces competition from buildings in the Central Station development nearby, it also stands to benefit from the prospective buyers those buildings will bring into the market.”