Breaking News: Chicago Spire Prices and Amenities

Crain’s has posted information from the press “sneak peek” at the Chicago Spire today.

The rumors about prices weren’t too far off.  They will range from $750,000 to $40,000,000 (not the $10 million that was talked about.)

Several things:

  1. The $750,000 cheapest unit will be for only 534 square feet.  I’m assuming that is a studio apartment.  Who is going to pay that kind of money for a studio?  That comes out to $1404 per sq/ft!  These small units will be among the most  expensive per square foot in the entire city.
  2. $40 million for the penthouse- would you really want to live on the 150th floor?  Really?  Why not just buy on, say, the 100th floor for probably $30 million or more less and you’d have the same view (and maybe even better because it would have less cloud cover and weather related issues.)  Oh- but then you wouldn’t be on the “top of the world.”

The units will have 10 foot high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows (think of Helmut Jahn’s 600 N. Fairbanks) and wide-planked herringbone floors.

There will be 1,193 units.

According to Crain’s, when the sales center opens in mid-January 2008 you will be able to:

The sales center offers buyers the chance to walk through models of a living and dining room, a kitchen, two bathrooms and a nearly 1,000-square-foot unit with a “cocoon bed” enclosed within frosted glass walls.

Let the great debate begin. What is the real market for this building? Let’s say he sells half of them to European investors (who, basically, because of the weak dollar, are getting them at 50% off.) So a European investor buys a studio for $800,000 (which is really $400,000) and intends to rent it out.

The John Hancock has studios. There isn’t one for rent currently but there is a one bedroom for $1800 so what would a studio go for?  Much, much less.  And those studios are closer to 700 square feet.

I know what you’re thinking. That building was completed in the 1970s- so you can’t compare. Let’s compare it to 340 on the Park the recently completed 45th tallest building in the world with some pretty striking views of Grant Park and the Lake to the South. According to Craigslist, you can pay anywhere from $2600 to $10,000 to live in there.  And the smallest one bedrooms are around 1,000 square feet and go up from there.

How will any “investor” in the Spire make money off owning one of these units?

And remember- there will be hundreds of units in the building. I shudder to think what the assessments will cost for owners as well.

Does this building even make sense in Chicago at this time? There is a housing bust going on. None of the other “luxury” buildings is even close to selling out its product. If anything, there isn’t enough of affordable product.

I don’t want it to seem like I’m against the building.  I’m just as proud to have the Spire in the city as anyone else. I was just up in the Sears Tower at the Skydeck and felt a surge of pride watching the History Channel movie promo they show you about how they built it before they let you up to the Skydeck. It is an engineering marvel. The Spire will be as well.

But aren’t the prices just a little unrealistic?

2 Responses to “Breaking News: Chicago Spire Prices and Amenities”

  1. Streeterville Realtor on September 27th, 2007 at 2:13 am

    I know this will sound crazy, but the prices sound reasonable to me. Yes, English/Europeans will buy units b/c of the weak dollars. Wealthy suburbanites will buy there for the prestige factor. Hey, studios in NYC in dump buildings go for 700-1million…..why not buy in a prestige building?

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  2. Even if it’s ‘cheap’ to the Brits/Europeans they aren’t going to pay high prices per s.f. as investors if it isn’t going to return. The rent is also paid in dollars. They could just buy a few properties elsewhere. The supply of wealthy suburbanites is spreading thin.

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