Archive for the 'News' Category

Construction Begins on New Shelter and Cat Café in Rogers Park

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

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.

Enormous “Double-Wide” Lincoln Park Home on Market

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

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.

Highest Priced Home in Hyde Park Has Quite the History

Friday, May 8th, 2015

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

Friday, May 8th, 2015

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

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

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.

Historic Changes Approved for Realtor.com

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Realtor.com operator Move Inc. is now free to publish listings that not only include those provided by Realtors®, but also other sources. The board of directors of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) approved this measure that will add more new homes and rental properties to the website’s database.

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 Realtor.com. “We wanted to make sure they found everything they needed in order to fulfill their American dream of homeownership,” Thomas said.

Realtor.com 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. Realtor.com 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 Realtor.com 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. Realtor.com 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.

Tribune Company Turns to Real Estate

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

The Tribune Company is well known for its various publications and broadcast media companies. Among the papers they run are the Baltimore Sun, the Los Angeles Times, and, of course, the Chicago Tribune.

The Company is an extremely important presence locally, with one of the most impressive pieces of Chicago real estate downtown— the historic Tribune Tower, designed in the 1920’s by John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood.

According to an article in the LA Times, the Tribune Company will soon be shifting its attention from newspapers to real estate. Currently, they own more than seven million square feet of real estate total. That accounts for printing plants, buildings, and other facilities.

Murray McQueen has been recruited to fill the company’s newly created president of real estate position. His job will be to determine whether or not the company is making as much money as it possibly can from all of its holdings. McQueen was the co-founder of the Channel West Group, a real estate investment firm based in Los Angeles. He has also served as an executive at Cerberus Capital, a private equity firm.

Tribune announced recently that it would be establishing a separate, spin-off company to oversee publishing of their various daily papers, and that the Tribune Company itself would now be focusing chiefly on the company’s other assets. The idea is to make sure that money is generated for shareholders, even though ad revenues have declined sharply because of the state of the economy.

The Tribune is not the only publisher to resort to such a measure. As the article from the LA Times explains, “real estate has constituted about half of the value of all newspaper companies sold in the last three years. And property remains a crucial insurance policy for hard-hit newspapers.”

The article goes on to talk about how the Washington Post has thought of selling its building, and how the New York Times raised $225 million in 2009 by selling its property and renting back office space from the firm who purchased it.

This may be a smart way for publications who own prime real estate to stay afloat during what has been an extremely difficult time for print media.

Chicago’s Luxury Condominium The Grant Gets Redesigned

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

At some point you may think it’s time for a change.  Related Midwest hit that point.  The Grant, a luxury Chicago condo community, owned by Related Midwest announced their renovations plans of the 1201 South Prairie Avenue South Loop real estate.

Renovations (which are now complete) include a fresh design-aesthetic in both units and communal areas and “an unrivaled resident experience,” said President Curt Bailey, through a suite of new amenities and services.

Renovations were made in an effort to help residents grow with rather than out of the property.  Bailey stated, “The residences at The Grant are so large, buyers won’t grow out of them.  They can remain in the city and enjoy everything the South Loop has to offer.”

The complex now includes 54 stories of 2 and 3 bedroom units, ranging in square footage from 1,207 to 3,000.  Each home features a private balcony and 9 foot ceilings that show off views of Lake Michigan, Grant Park, Solider Field and the Chicago skyline.

The new and improved Grant will offer first of its kind amenities for a downtown Chicago building, including most notably access to a Related Personal Assistant.  The Related Personal Assistant will be ready to help residents with moving and other varying concierge services.

The building will be stocked with other opulent amenities such as a children’s playroom, fitness center and locker room, indoor pool with a hot tub, sun deck and grilling area, a screening room and lounge , bike maintenance and a pet grooming area and outdoor dog park.

What’s more, Related is on trend with entertainment facilities that includes a suite with a catering kitchen available to residents for reservation.

If The Grant sounds like home, call your local Chicago real estate agent and get your checkbook ready as the price ranges between $300,000 to more than $2 million, dependent on unit.

After More Than Three Years, Pinnacle’s Penthouse Sells

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

After sitting on the market for three years, the 45th floor Pinnacle Penthouse has sold for $6.5 million. That’s lower than its original asking price 0f $8.9 million and “well below replacement cost” according to the listing agent.

Curbed National says that the Chicago luxury rental offers 6,000-square-feet of floor space with four balconies and twin 1,000-square-foot terraces. Among the many luxurious features of the room are “exotic woods, rare textiles, 1,500-bottle wine cellar, and state-of-the-art electronics/automation.”

But the nicest feature of all could be the view, which Curbed said is completely unobstructed by virtue of the height of the room. It’s also said to extend in virtually all directions because of the terraces and balconies.

The building’s in-demand amenities include: a bike room and bike trails, an on-site door person, coin-operated laundry, an exercise room, spacious storage, an on-site manager/engineer to tend to whatever problems may arise in the unit, a “party room,” a sundeck, an indoor pool, a receiving room, a sauna and steam room, and a whirlpool. The property also houses its own auto-repair shop and a wine tasting room.

The building was lavishly designed by the Lucien Lagrange Studio and developed by the Fordham Company.

Curbed National attributes the penthouse’s long period on the market to the $5,200 that the owner will be contractually required to pay for monthly assessments. Whoever owns this luxury property in the Near North Side, however, is almost certain to enjoy it with those amenities, that view, and the superb location.

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.