Another Chance in Case Study: 156 W. Superior in River North

The listing for this 3-bedroom unit in Case Study, the 11-unit boutique modern building at 156 W. Superior in River North that was built in 2005, says that it is the first resale in the building.

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Here’s the listing:

First resale of award-winning and architecturally unique full floor 3 bed residence with direct elevator by Miller and Hull, Seatle. Open and sleek living area with Aclinea kitchen, commercial grade stainless steel appliances, ceil to floor windows, concrete floors, artist designed built-ins, leads to private terrace.

Master suite with grand spa bathroom, custom walk-in closet, second bed with private terrace. Unlike anything on the market in the most sought after boutique building.

This is not completely correct. We chattered in October 2007 about Unit #201, which was then on the market (but, I believe, never sold.)

Will this seller be more successful?

Check out the floors. They are stained concrete.

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Jena Radnay at Koenig & Strey has the listing. See more pictures here.

Unit #601: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 3000 square feet

  • Sold in March 2006 for $1,289,500
  • Currently listed for $1,649,000 (parking included)
  • Assessments of $602 a month
  • Taxes of $7,660

45 Responses to “Another Chance in Case Study: 156 W. Superior in River North”

  1. what is the logic behind stained concrete floors? who wants to walk on those? what’s next, gravel floors?

    I’m not sure if the bedrooms have carpet or concrete painted to look like carpet. cool place though, pricey but cool.

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  2. I have always loved this building. There is a parking lot just to the north of it, and eventually all views in that direction will likely be blocked. It is certainly unique, and the question will be whether a unique buyer can be found. $1.5 million in this neighborhood for 3000 sq ft of great, contemporary space does not seem patently unreasonable to me.

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  3. I agree with CH. That was my reaction as well. I’ll go a step further, though I realize I am in the minority here. How did people ever get convinced that less is more:
    . Exposed brick
    . Exposed ductwork
    . Walls that don’t go all the way to the ceiling
    . Metal instead of wood and plaster

    Hey, it’s a personal taste thing. But if this trend continues people will eventually be living in abandoned factories. Of course, with the economy…

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  4. I’ve got stained concrete floors (w/ Wirsbo heat) and prefer it to tile, carpet, etc.

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  5. Considering that we are now entering a 90’s style Japanese depression, this house will be listing for $400,000 in two years !

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  6. The appreciation of raw materials used in buildings is definately for a small group (of which I am one), the thing that most people fail to get about the use of raw materials is that it is in the detials. Another words, it is in the execution of the use of the materials that brings out the beauty… Is concrete inately beautiful? Not always, but it can be… Those polished floors have a lot more finish work than the kind of concrete intended to go under hardwoods or carpet.

    Like art… It’s all in the eye of the beholder. I would live in a space like this any day.

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  7. Looper, fair enough on the execution bringing out the beauty. But what about the function? Though beautiful, is the concrete still not cold and hard on the feet? Or is the execution so incredible that it becomes warm and soft.

    (I guess they could make it warm/heated, do they?)

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  8. They could be heated yes (not sure if they are). And in California, for example, many of the floors in houses are made of concrete (or stone). Some are beautiful, some are ugly. They are cool to the touch if not heated, and the outside temperature really doesnt effect the temperature of the floor. Personally, I am tired of hardwood floors everywhere. Ho-hum.

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  9. i have concrete floors with in-floor radiant heat. It’s the best thing ever – stepping on a warm floor in winter warms your whole body almost immediately.

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  10. This building had some quality issues, somebody had a feud with the builder and bought the domain name – it’s down now I think, but I can’t tell if the issues were resolved to the purchasers satisfaction. The issues, if I remember where leaks, sloppy craftsmanship and the like.

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  11. Glad to be hearing the convo on concrete floors as I am flip flopping on the idea on a new renovation that I am about to start. This may be my wife’s favorite bldg but I refused to even look because of the homeless that seem to be around with the big charity center. Homeless is always an immediate disqualifier for me, bit limiting in Chicago, need to clean that up. For that price, being Chicago, I also want serious views.

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  12. Did you know Citi and WFC jumbo loans are now ~10%? Who can finance to buy this?

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  13. I agree about the homeless. After the brutal attack at the Roosevelt St. Jewel a few weeks ago I’ve been especially mindful of the crazier looking ones.

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  14. “Who can finance to buy this?”

    Buyers who negotiate a lower price on the mortgage that negates out the payment increase of a higher rate. What part of a lower price is so hard to understand?

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  15. Ed, the housing bulls on this board (I’m not going to name names) can afford the 10% rates. They will be supporting home prices in Lincoln Park and Lakeview regardless of mortgage rates.

    BTW, Case-Shiller numbers just came out this morning. Chicago didn’t drop that much but we’re back to January 2005 levels and 11% below the peak in prices. I’ve updated my stat page here:
    http://blog.lucidrealty.com/chicago_real_estate_statistics/

    I’m waiting for the Chicago employment numbers for August to come out. I think that will be telling.

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  16. ““Who can finance to buy this?”

    Barely anyone, that’s who. That’s one reason why home sales have fallen off a cliff; and with rates this high and the winter of discontent rapidly approaching, sales involving jumbo financing will be sparce in the near future.

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  17. I just crunched the numbers on the latest Case-Schiller report. Chicago metro down 11% July 08 over July 07. July 08 prices = January 05 prices.

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  18. Bankrate.com indicates 7.15% average jumbo rate, but i don’t know if these includes mortgages with points, etc.

    Does anyone have a better site that will give me the skinny on actual mortgage rates?

    someone quoting 10% for a jumbo rate just means to me they don’t want to underwrite jumbo loans.

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  19. There are quite a few buyers out there, especially some wealthy foreigners, who dont need to finance anything. It seems that people forget those who can pay cash or have a 600,000 down payment.

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  20. Bank of America with a $1M single family home owner-occupied purchase with $200K down has a 30 year fixed rate jumbo mortgage at 7.842% APR. For a high rise condo it is 8.018% APR.

    These are not cheap rates.

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  21. John – do you think that’s the best rate available? I’m wondering where we can find info about the best rates available?

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  22. Fairbanks – You have got to be kidding. The dollar is strengthening. In Florida the foreign buyer savior has been the mantra for the last year or so. So far, we’re still on the look out for the “wealth foreign buyers” saving this market. Hasn’t happened and ain’t gonna happen, period. At most they represent a small fraction of 1% of the buyers.

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  23. The drop in sales has accelerated. September will show a 40+% YOY drop in condo/TH sales for Lincoln Park and the Near North Side. Lincoln Park will show at least a 10% median price decline YOY. (I know the median is deceptive, but the shills like to promote it when it doesn’t show a decrease.)

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  24. Are any of these threads not an argument about market conditions?

    At this point it’s a coin toss whether the thread relates to the featured property. Perhaps there could be a permanent link on the front page to the “Lincoln Park Is [declining / not declining], you [grade school insult]” thread to keep things organized.

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  25. Uh, the title of the blog does include “The Dish On the Chicago Housing Market.”

    Sounds like something the seller of this unit needs to investigate.

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  26. “Fairbanks on September 30th, 2008 at 9:37 am
    There are quite a few buyers out there, especially some wealthy foreigners, who dont need to finance anything. It seems that people forget those who can pay cash or have a 600,000 down payment.”

    And bill gates has tens of billions of dollars. He could buy the entire northside and save the day for everyone. But he hasn’t nor will he, just like the imaginary foreign cash buyers won’t save the day either.

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  27. The myth of the wealthy foreign buyers coming in large enough numbers to save the market has failed to materialize in every other struggling market. Why would Chicago be any different?

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  28. Most of the foreigners coming to chicago aren’t the wealthy jet-setting type looking for a little getaway property. plenty of penniless immigrants, however.

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  29. Has anyone noticed that tax exempt muni money funds are yielding 5.66% (that’s Fidelity’s)? I’d rather have my money there than in a house!

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  30. Where are the munis, California? Not sure the interest rate is inappropriate, given the risk!

    Still, yes, that’s extremely high. I haven’t seen a money market fund paying more than 1.5% in a while, but I haven’t been looking, since it’s easy to find savings accounts that pay 3.75% these days.

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  31. Since I posted this I found out that Vanguard’s tax exempt money market fund is also paying 5.66%. They even posted a statement on their site that this is because of the credit crunch and they don’t think it reflects increased risk. Obviously it’s a very diversified portfolio. And when you consider it’s tax exempt and compare that to 2.7% taxable…

    Here’s the kicker…why hasn’t the credit crunch raised rates on taxable money market accounts?

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  32. Right now the money and bond markets are likely in near full scale financial panic so it makes sense there is some arbitrage opportunities.

    Foreign investors, particularly institutional investors and governments, might be restricted in where they can stash cash so this might be explained that way. Also they don’t benefit from tax exempt funds so that might play into it too.

    Right now the markets are being held hostage since Hank Paulson got the 700B plan from his Wall Street friends and publicized it and tried to thrust it upon the American people. Ever since the banks have been expecting and demanding a bailout. Heres to hoping congress tells the financial sector to go F itself. Vanguard will be fine.

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  33. Back to the property:

    1. Unless the buyer upgraded, Ranquist did not install heated floors;

    2. Poured or polished concrete floors are nothing new but, as always, as question of taste; and

    3. I know that although the building won several awards, there were a number of “quality” issues with the final product and I believe the association ended up suing Ranquist.

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  34. Back to the property:

    1. Unless the buyer upgraded, Ranquist did not install heated floors;

    2. Poured or polished concrete floors are nothing new but, as always, as question of taste; and

    3. I know that although the building won several awards, there were a number of “quality” issues with the final product and I believe the association ended up suing Ranquist.

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  35. Gary–I need to move my money!

    Mr. Pesci–I’m pretty surprised that at that price point, heated floors weren’t a given. Because I honestly can’t imagine anyone wanting concrete floors without it… (P.S. I think they’re neat looking!)

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  36. Patrick Bateman on October 1st, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Does anyone care to elaborate on the “quality” issues?

    Internet searches are coming up empty. Maybe my Google is broken.

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  37. Bob said:”Right now the markets are being held hostage since Hank Paulson got the 700B plan from his Wall Street friends and publicized it and tried to thrust it upon the American people.”

    According to Rep. Brad Sherman on Kudlow yesterday, with this bill the 700B can be used so that The Bank of Shanghai can transfer all of its toxic assets to the Bank of Shanghai of Los Angeles which can then sell them the next day to the Treasury. Since Beijing holds so much of our debt, our fate is in their hands, and they may be forcing this. That may account for the urgency. So that China, Russia, don’t dump our bonds. Check this out:

    http://www.howestreet.com/articles/index.php?article_id=7619

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  38. My fear is that the only buyers with cash right now to buy the toxic assets are foreign countries, sovereign wealth funds and petrodollar kingdoms. Imagine if they bought the toxic waste from the US (or US branch of a foreign) Bank and then started foreclosing. Before you know it, these threats to national security own deeds to millions of American homes. They would literally ‘pwn’ us. I’d rather see them hold worthless paper as opposed to holding the deed to my neighbor’s home. Do you want to pay rent to the Bank of Shanghai?

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  39. hd,

    From what I read you are spot regarding who could afford these securities right now. However they can’t control foreclosures if they own these securities. That is all spelled out in the trust that does the servicing of the securities, so they’re insulated from that aspect. The securities will continue to drop in value until default rates stabilize, we’re nowhere near there yet. If the government starts forcing cramdowns or making the lenders take losses in workouts, the securities will drop in value even further beyond that.

    Juliana, I completely agree with your post as well. There is no upside gain for the taxpayer in scenarios like this as foreign governments/regulators will not allow warrants to be issued against this. No way in hell the Bank of Shanghai will allow warrants to be issued against it so US taxpayers can gain in any upside. Neither would Barclays, Deutsche Bank, UBS and Credit Suisse. It is financial institutions like these pulling the purse strings right now.

    Barclays, DB, UBS & Credit Suisse were the foreign investment banks heavily involved in origination and securitization of MBS & CDOs.
    We see Deutsche Bank listed all the time here on ridiculously priced foreclosed properties as these four firms are frequently the servicers of these securities as well. Now Deutsche Bank will not bear the consequences of their actions but the US taxpayer will.

    The investment banking fees on originating & securitizing these were very good, so good they couldn’t sell them all in time before the markets turned and the banks were putting them on their balance sheets (they even colluded & tried to hide them off their balance sheets last fall but the SIV plan failed).

    All of these foreign investment banks are sitting on tens or hundreds of billions of dollars of these securities and are sitting on MASSIVE LOSSES if marked to market. If this bill passes the American taxpayer just assumed the risk, in the form of losses, back for these funds gambling in the real estate casino. A real travesty.

    Overall a bill like this may have been necessary: if the foreign investors felt scorned or lied to by our financial services sector and weren’t bailed out they could always balk at buying our government debt in the future and they could quit financing our deficits. I read somewhere that foreigners hold 30% of our government debt and routinely buy 70% of our treasury securities at auction, not sure if its true but it so very scary. This whole situation is very scary.

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  40. They could own them if they wanted to. They buy the paper with their cash and start foreclosing. Hell, the owners of the cheap paper could service the properties themselves. The trusts which hold the properties could be dismantled quite easily if some entity wished to do so. The trusts, servicers, agreements, securities, that’s all just paperwork at the end of the day. If an entity purchased every security from a series or issue, they could take ownership of the house. I know it sounds a little far fetched but imagine going to the neighborhood rental office and writing your security deposit check to the bank of shanghai. or they could lend you the money to buy the house. at the end of the day as a foreign country i’d rather have assets as opposed to worthless pieces of fiat currency. Which is sort of the opposite of US Banks right now which want cash instead of the assets. It’s just a thought of mine, but when Paulson demands $700,000,000,000 with no explanation other than “I need it” the conspiracy theories start to run wild.

    “From what I read you are spot regarding who could afford these securities right now. However they can’t control foreclosures if they own these securities. That is all spelled out in the trust that does the servicing of the securities, so they’re insulated from that aspect. The securities will continue to drop in value until default rates stabilize, we’re nowhere near there yet. If the government starts forcing cramdowns or making the lenders take losses in workouts, the securities will drop in value even further beyond that.”

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  41. Teh question is, how do people get convinced that more is more. Why do some people insist on ornamentalizing everything in their home? Crown moldings…chair rails…trim, trim, and more trim. Hello people – it’s TACKY and USELESS!

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  42. PLEASE please please Administrator Sabrina, can we get an open forum section where all of the financial people here can debate state of the economy topics? As much as I like knowing what is going on in the housing market, these pages long posts about where the money is or isn’t distracts from the “crib chatter”. No offense financial whiz kids…just sayin’…

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  43. Anyway, about the concrete floors…I am very familiar with them from Florida where the coolness of them was very welcome! I can’t imagine, however, their use in this area with no heat. Very nice though and if I were looking in this price bracket (close but not quite) I would not hesitate at all in purchasing this unit…BEAUTIFUL!!

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