Is The Venetian in the Hottest Location in the City? 230 W. Division in Old Town


This 2-bedroom penthouse in The Venetian at 230 W. Division in Old Town came on the market in November 2017.

The Venetian was built in 2005 and has 88 units and a parking garage.

This penthouse is a southwest corner unit with a wrap around balcony.

It has 10 foot ceilings and the listing says “outstanding views from every room.”

The kitchen has white cabinets, what look like granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and a herringbone backsplash.

The master suite has two corner windows and a walk-in closet.

It has a den which doesn’t have a window.

This unit has the features buyers look for including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and parking is available for $25,000.

The listing says “Old Town is booming and now is the time to buy.”

In the listing pictures, you can see the new apartment high rise that is being built south of this building.

When this building was constructed 13 years ago, this was the very south end of Old Town and there wasn’t much else in this location.

But since then, new construction has moved south on Wells and there is now a new luxury apartment building, the Sinclair, on Division, a new Jewel as well as the new construction directly across the street.

Is this building now at the epicenter of the Old Town boom?

Brian Moon at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1501: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed, penthouse

  • Sold in March 2005 for $600,000 (two parking spaces included)
  • Sold in May 2009 for $500,000 (one parking space included)
  • Originally listed in November 2017 for $600,000 (with parking for $25,000 extra)
  • Currently still listed for $600,000 (with $25,000 for parking)
  • Assessments of $1,000 a month (includes doorman, cable, exercise room, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $9466
  • Central Air
  • Washer/dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 13×12
  • Bedroom #2: 12×10
  • Den: 12×10
  • Laundry room: 4×4


Get a 3-Story South Loop Townhouse for Under $440,000: 1529 S. State

1529 s state

This 2-bedroom townhouse at 1529 S. State in the South Loop originally came on the market in July 2017.

If you’re wondering why there’s a picture of a high rise with this post, it’s because this is one of the rare high rise buildings that also has townhouses.

This is one of just eight townhouses that have a courtyard entrance on the fourth floor.

You still get all the benefits of the high rise, including the exercise room and the doorman.

But this townhouse has 3-levels and 2 decks so you’re also getting the townhouse lifestyle.

The living/dining room are on the first floor with a terrace and a half bath.

The kitchen has 42 inch cabinets, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

The second floor has the two bedrooms and also two baths.

The master suite has a bathroom with a dual vanity sink.

The listing describes the third floor as “flex space” and says it can be used as a bedroom or a den/family room. There doesn’t appear to be a closet on this floor, however.

There is a deck off this flex space.

The townhouse has all the features buyers look for including central air, washer/dryer in the unit on the second floor with the bedrooms and 1 deeded parking space is included, with a second available for $30,000.

This townhouse has been on the market since July and has been reduced $30,000 to $439,000.

What’s the catch?

Because it’s in the high rise association, there are high rise assessments which are $1076 a month.

That includes gas, heat, A/C and cable, however.

What price will it take to sell this townhouse?

Lauren Bergiel at Dream Town has the listing. See the pictures here.

Or see it in person at the Open House on Sunday, January 14: 1 – 3 PM.

Unit #TH6: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1955 square feet

  • Sold in June 2006 for $550,000 (included parking)
  • Lis pendens filed in July 2007
  • Bank owned in March 2008
  • Sold in November 2008 for $260,000
  • Originally listed in July 2017 for $469,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $439,000 (parking included)
  • 2nd parking space available for $30,000
  • Assessments of $1076 a month (includes exterior maintenance, gas, heat, a/c, cable, doorman, exercise room, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $9356
  • Central Air
  • Washer/dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 15×12 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 11×9 (second floor)
  • Den/Family room: 19×12 (third floor)
  • Terrace: 16×6 (main floor)
  • Deck: 15×8 (third floor)

Market Conditions: $58.75 Million for a Massive 4-Story Gold Coast Condo in No. 9 Walton

9 w walton under construction

9 w walton almost built 2017

Crain’s and the Chicago Tribune both reported that Citadel founder Ken Griffin, who the Tribune also calls the richest man in state of Illinois, has bought the top four floors of the new condo building No. 9 Walton which is at 9 W. Walton in the Gold Coast.

Total cost of all the units, which includes the top floor penthouse that will supposedly have a pool, totaled $58.75 million.

Crain’s said he took out a mortgage:

A few weeks after buying the units, Griffin took out a mortgage of $34.5 million, or about 59 percent of his purchase price, according to the recorder.

Here’s the breakdown of the units:

  • 38th floor penthouse: $21.7 million
  • Entire 37th floor: $12.95 million
  • Entire 36th floor: $12.13 million
  • Entire 35th floor: $12.5 million

This was sold as raw, unfinished space.

It has 12 to 18 foot ceilings and views of the entire city from four exposures.

Crain’s asked those in the industry how much it would cost to build it out.

Letchinger said the four floors combined have “greater than 25,000 feet” of living space, though he declined to give an exact figure. High-end finishing costs generally run about $1,000 per foot, Chezi Rafaeli, a Coldwell Banker agent who has sold several unfinished high-end condos including the top floor of the Trump International Hotel & Tower, told Crain’s after verifying with two of the city’s top designers. At $1,000 per foot, Griffin’s square footage could cost more than $25 million to finish.

According to the Tribune, Griffin already owns several other Chicago trophy properties:

One needs a scorecard to keep track of all of Griffin’s real estate around the U.S. He owns a full-floor unit on the 37th floor of the Waldorf Astoria, which he purchased in 2014 for $13.3 million, and he owns the top two floors in the Park Tower. He purchased the top-floor unit on the 67th floor in 2000 for $6.9 million, and he bought the 66th floor in 2012 for $15 million. He also paid $200 million in 2015 for three full floors of a luxury condo tower in midtown Manhattan. In addition, Griffin has owned properties elsewhere in the U.S., including in Aspen, Colo.; Palm Beach, Fla.; and Hawaii.

Is this sale a one off or a sign that Chicago’s downtown real estate is joining the league of the country’s elite cities?

And how happy are Chicago luxury developers that Ken Griffin continues to be loyal to Chicago?

JDL President Jim Letchinger confirmed that Griffin was the buyer to Crain’s.

“He’s proud to live in Chicago, and proud to live in this building,” Letchinger said.

Billionaire exec Ken Griffin pays $58.75 million in Chicago area’s priciest home sale ever [Chicago Tribune, by Bob Goldsborough, January 10, 2018]

This is the most expensive home sale ever [Crain’s Chicago Business, by Dennis Rodkin, January 10, 2018]

Is Schorsch Village Chicago’s Next Hot Neighborhood? 3220 N. New England in Dunning

This 4-bedroom single family home at 3220 N. New England in the Schorsch Village neighborhood of Dunning came on the market in November 2017.

Schorsch Village is a west side neighborhood of single family homes built from the late 1920s to the 1950s.

The homes built in the 1930s and 1940s were mostly English bungalows and tudors.

Here’s one of the houses we’ve chattered about in the neighborhood in the past to give you a flavor of what the houses look like.

3338 n rutherford

According to Wikipedia, its boundaries appear to be Harlem on the west, Narragansett on the east, Addison on the north and Belmont on the south.

In December, Redfin put out its annual list of the Nation’s 25 Neighborhoods to Watch for 2018 and 4 out of the top 5 were in the Chicagoland area, including Dunning, Ashburn and Jefferson Park in Chicago. Suburban Elmwood Park was the fourth neighborhood.

According to Crain’s:

Chicago’s dominance of the list is thanks in large part to its low home prices relative to those in many other cities, according to a press release from Redfin. Chicago, it says, is “the rare major metro area that has remained relatively affordable and has largely bucked the severe inventory shortage trend seen across much of the country over the past few years.”

Redfin rated places in 80 metropolitan areas on several factors, including the size of the inventory of homes for sale and homes that aren’t selling too fast for buyers to find one for them, short commutes, good schools and safety.

Dunning’s place atop the list did not surprise April Kibler, a Coldwell Banker agent who focuses on Dunning and in particular its Schorsch Village section.

“It’s affordable, family-oriented and safe,” said Kibler, who is the listing agent on a four-bedroom Tudor on Nottingham Avenue listed at $315,000.

Along with the attributes Redfin considered, she said, are the charms of the Tudors that line the streets in Schorsch Village, and two parks, Shabonna and Hiawatha. Outside Schorsch Village, the houses in Dunning are a mix of bungalows, ranch houses and other styles.

Redfin called the locations on its list “places to watch” in 2018, but Kibler said buyers priced out of other Northwest Side neighborhoods have already started checking Schorsch Village out in the past year. Another group, she said, is suburban empty-nesters who want to return to the city but prefer a single-family home to a condo, and who want a quiet location.

This 4-bedroom English bungalow has been renovated in the last year.

Built in 1939 on an oversized 33×143 lot, it has a 2.5 car garage.

According to the listing, it has a new roof, drywall, insulation, doors, EFF windows, LED & Halogen fixtures, HVAC, and a whole house air purifying system.

The house has 9 foot ceilings.

The listing describes the kitchen as a “chef’s dream kitchen” with 42″ white cabinets, quartz counter tops, an island, stainless steel appliances and a wine cooler.

2 of the bedrooms are on the main level and 2 are on the second floor.

There’s a master suite with his and her closets and a bathroom with a double vanity and separate shower.

The house has a finished basement with a family room, and office, a bar, a laundry room, a full bath and storage.

Are there going to be more renovations like this home in this neighborhood in 2018?

Yaryna Ivanichok at Chicagoland Brokers has the listing. See the pictures here.

3220 N. New England: 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, 1900 square feet, 2.5 car garage

  • I couldn’t find the PIN number on the cook county recorder of deeds site even though the PIN is correct.
  • Therefore, I could only find the last sale which was in June 2017 for $210,500 (per Zillow)
  • Listed in November 2017 for $429,000
  • Still listed at $429,000
  • Taxes of $4953
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 23×15 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 14×14 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 14×13 (main floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 13×13 (main floor)
  • Laundry room: 12×10 (basement)
  • Office: 13×13 (basement)
  • Family room: 26×23 (basement)



You Can Still Get a 2/2 With Parking in Southport for Under $400,000: 3500 N. Greenview

3506 n greenview

This 2-bedroom in 3500 N. Greenview in the Southport neighborhood of Lakeview recently came on the market.

It’s a high first floor unit in a vintage building which was converted into condos during the housing boom in 2005.

This is a corner unit with south and east exposures.

It has some “loft-like” features including exposed brick and exposed duct work.

There’s hardwood floors throughout and a separate formal dining room.

The kitchen has what looks to be maple cabinets, along with granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and a breakfast bar.

The master suite has an en suite bath.

There’s a private back deck measuring 11×8.

The unit has the features buyers look for including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and exterior deeded parking.

Listed at $394,500, is this the last year you’ll be able to get a 2/2 with parking for under $400,000 in a hot neighborhood like Southport?

Theodora Jordan at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed

  • Sold in February 2005 for $359,000
  • Sold in October 2008 for $391,000
  • Sold in May 2013 for $335,000
  • Currently listed for $394,500 (includes exterior deeded parking)
  • Assessments of $293 a month (includes parking, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger and snow removal)
  • Taxes of $4947
  • Central Air
  • Washer/dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 12×10
  • Bedroom #2: 10×10
  • Living room: 32×13
  • Kitchen: 15×11
  • Deck: 11×8


Buy a Brick and Timber Factory Loft in 2018: 5235 N. Ravenswood in Andersonville

5235 n ravenswood #1

This 2-bedroom corner loft in the Map Factory Lofts at 5235 N. Ravenswood in Andersonville just came on the market.

The Map Factory Lofts is a brick and timber former factory built in 1887 with 40 lofts and secured parking.

This loft has 14-foot timber ceilings and exposed brick walls.

The building has large industrial windows and this unit, because it’s on the corner, has two walls of windows with south and east exposures.

The kitchen has 42″ cherry cabinets, upgraded stainless steel appliances, honed granite counter tops and a breakfast bar.

The living room has a built-in desk and a wood burning fireplace.

The bedrooms are fully enclosed and both have windows.

The loft has the features buyers look for including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and a secured parking space is included.

Listed at $324,900, are lofts still a good way for first time buyers to get into the market?

Nathan Brecht at Redfin has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #35: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, no square footage listed

  • Sold in May 1995 for $120,500
  • Sold in May 2009 for $314,000
  • Sold in October 2015 for $322,500
  • Currently listed for $324,900 (includes secured parking)
  • Assessments of $450 a month (includes parking, security system, scavenger and snow removal)
  • Taxes of $4276
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Wood burning fireplace
  • Bedroom #1: 13×13
  • Bedroom #2: 13×11
  • Living room: 24×15
  • Kitchen: 13×10
  • Dining room: 12×11



Buy a Penthouse With Lake Views in Chicago’s First Condo Tower: 339 W. Barry in Lakeview

339 w barry

This 3-bedroom penthouse at 339 W. Barry in East Lakeview came on the market in October 2016.

This building has a prestigious pedigree.

Built in 1963/1964, and designed by Fridstein & Fitch, the building was Chicago’s first condominium tower. Prior to this time, co-ops or rentals were the preferred high rise living arrangements.

“Built on the site of an earlier symbol of luxury—a greystone mansion-like home—on a side street east of Sheridan Road two blocks south of Belmont Avenue, the 26-story tower was designed in the style of Mies van der Rohe. This minimalist architect was best known for his iconic unadorned skyscrapers on Lake Shore Drive north of Michigan Avenue’s “Magnificent Mile” that translated modern office buildings into residential towers. 339 Barry could be thought of as either a tribute or a knock-off, depending on your level of purist admiration.

Perhaps more significant were the construction details. The foundation was said to be substantial enough to support a much taller building and the original central heating-air conditioning system was identical to some of those in downtown office buildings. Window walls in all four directions (although most of the west-facing glass covered solid walls) brought the outside in, so to speak, augmented by open-air balconies. A higher level of sound-proofing than found in similar-size rental buildings also supported the claim for quality features that would appeal to prospective buyers.”

I saw one listing say there are just 2 units per floor but there are also 67 units in the building so that can’t be correct.

There’s no parking and most units don’t have in-unit washer/dryer but some of the big units have it, including this one.

This top floor unit also has floor-to-ceiling windows facing east and north.

There are wood laminate floors in the main living areas.

The listing says it has 2 large master suites.

There’s a walk-in closet and a 19×5 gallery.

The kitchen has white cabinets, stone counter tops and a mix of stainless steel and white appliances.

The strange thing about this unit is that it last sold on September 30, 2016. But it was relisted not even a month later, on October 27, 2016.

A lis pendens foreclosure was recently filed in November 2017.

The unit is now listed for $30,100 under the 2016 purchase price.

Will someone be able to get a deal on this penthouse?

Benjamin Martin at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

But you should really look at the prior listing pictures instead because they have furniture in them and really show how the property will live. If you have a Redfin account, you can see those pictures here.

Unit #25A: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2152 square feet

  • Sold in May 2001 for $355,000
  • Sold in September 2016 for $600,000
  • Listed in October 2017 (I don’t have the exact price- but it was over $600,000)
  • Reduced
  • Listed in September 2017 for $589,900
  • Reduced
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in November 2017
  • Currently listed at $569,900
  • Assessments of $1406 a month (includes heat, a/c, doorman, cable, exterior maintenance, scavenger)
  • Taxes of $7861
  • Central Air
  • Washer/dryer in the unit
  • No parking with the building
  • Bedroom #1: 20×12
  • Bedroom #2: 19×12
  • Bedroom #3: 12×14
  • Gallery: 19×5
  • Laundry room: 5×6
  • Walk-in closet: 7×8
  • 2 east facing balconies: 13×6 and 8×6

The Biggest Story of 2018: Will the Apartment Bubble Burst?

During 2017, we chattered extensively about the number of new rental high rises going up downtown.

But new apartments were also being built in mid-rise buildings throughout the city. Some neighborhoods welcomed the investments, but others, like Logan Square, actually protested the construction of these expensive, luxury apartments.

And now, despite reassurance from developers that there is plenty of demand, there appears to be an apartment glut, with several new mega-buildings yet to be completed.

Over the next 3 years, over 13,000 apartments are expected to come on the market downtown, 46% over the absorption rate.

We’ve chattered before as to what this will mean for tenants.

Already, landlords are offering at least 2 months free plus other “perks” such as free parking, free cable packages and even gift cards to furniture stores.

Yet, construction isn’t slowing down, as Crain’s reported in December.

Another construction crane is about to rise in the Fulton Market District after a local developer secured financing for a 263-unit apartment project on the neighborhood’s west end.

Marquette plans to break ground Jan. 8 on the 14-story building at the southwest corner of Lake and Ada streets, said Marquette President Darren Sloniger. It’s one of several residential projects in the works in the Fulton Market area, one of the hottest neighborhoods in Chicago, punctuated by the arrival of McDonald’s headquarters there next year.

Apartment developers like Naperville-based Marquette are counting on job growth—McDonald’s is moving about 2,000 employees there next year—to drive demand for housing. Unlike other parts of downtown Chicago, which are overbuilt, Sloniger said Fulton Market doesn’t have enough apartments to satisfy the strong demand there, one reason he’s confident Marquette will be able to fill up its new apartment building.

“It’s more supply constrained,” he said of the neighborhood.

But several other developers have the same idea, meaning that supply could catch up with demand in the next few years. Developers have rolled out plans for more than 2,000 apartments in the broader Fulton Market neighborhood, including a 300-unit tower at Peoria and Randolph streets. Of course, there’s no guarantee that all the developers will obtain construction financing, a task that has grown more difficult as construction costs have risen and the downtown market has swelled with thousands of new apartments.

“It’s tough to get deals done,” Sloniger said.

Will the building spree finally halt in 2018?

And will we ever see some of these apartment buildings convert into condos?


Second Biggest Story of 2018: Will There Be a Luxury Condominium Glut?

Construction continues on luxury housing in Chicago, with several new luxury condominium buildings announced last year.

There are so many, I can’t even keep up with them while they are under construction.

Curbed recently put together a nice list of 47 buildings over 100 feet that are under construction in Chicago (these are not all condo buildings). But it shows you the extent of the building.

They range from a 14 story luxury tower at Huron and Dearborn to the 94 story Vista Tower on Wacker Drive in Lakeshore East.

Here are a few of the developments:

  1. One Bennett Place at 451 E. Grand: 69 stories with 400 apartments and 100 luxury condominiums currently under construction. I haven’t found any recent update on condo sales.
  2. Vista Tower at 363 E. Wacker Drive: tallest of the three towers is 94 stories. According to Curbed, as of November 21, 2017, the developer said 40% of the 406 condominiums were under contract. These are priced from $1 to $18 million. It will also have a 200 room hotel.
  3. 56 W. Huron: 10 full floor residences and one duplex penthouse priced from $1.375 million to $3.99 million for the penthouse. This building is now under construction. The building’s website indicates that 2 of the units have been sold. You can see all the details here.

There are plenty more.

Most of these condo units aren’t listed on the MLS so they’re not showing up as inventory even though the buildings are under construction.

Luxury housing has always done well when the stock market is hitting new all time highs.

Is there truly demand to meet all this supply?

Or will buyers be able to pick up some bargains later in 2018?

Third Biggest Story of 2018: Will Chicago Win Amazon HQ2?

Decision day is fast approaching as to where Amazon will build its second headquarters.

If you recall, 238 cities sent in proposals.

The decision is expected in early 2018 as Amazon’s Seattle headquarters is bursting at the seams. It appears they are looking to start construction at the new location ASAP.

Amazon will spend $5 billion to build out its headquarters and expects to ultimately hire as many as 50,000 people.

It wanted an urban area in a city with over 1 million people. Amazon also wanted an international airport.

While many cities are drooling at the prospect of landing HQ2, there are also cons to “winning” this beauty contest, especially in real estate.

From CNNMoney:

New research from Apartment List, a site that catalogs apartment rentals across the country, forecasts an annual rent increase of up to 2% per year in the city that houses HQ2. That’s on top of organic price increases that already occur from year to year.

“Rents are already rising rapidly nationwide,” Apartment List said in a report that analyzed data from the U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics. Half of renters are considered “cost burdened,” spending 30 percent or more of their income on rent, according to the firm.

Apartment List said Raleigh, Pittsburgh and San Jose would experience the highest rent increases if HQ2 comes to town. The impact would be smaller in cities like Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Dallas.

The largest increase in housing costs would be in Raleigh, which wouldn’t be able to build enough homes to sustain the influx of workers, according to the report. Meanwhile, housing costs would stay lower in places like Dallas, which has lax building restrictions and a cheaper labor pool.

In 2017, Seattle easily took the crown as the city with the most construction cranes with 58.

Housing prices also jumped the most of any of the top 20 major cities last year.

The Seattle median home price:

  • To start 2017: $635,000
  • End of 2017: $741,000

Of course, median price is also dicey as it depends on the mix. But inventory is low in Seattle as thousands more are moving in than there is housing for.

Stories of bidding wars abound.

Will Chicago win Amazon HQ2?

Can Chicago’s housing market handle winning?