Auction Alert: The Vetro to Auction Off 40 Units on March 7

Still interested in The Vetro, at 611 S. Wells, in Printers Row/the South Loop?

On March 7, the developer of The Vetro will be auctioning off 40 units starting at minimum bids of $115,000 for studios.

The website states:

“Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase a new luxury condo at the price you determine. Every residence sold via published minimum price.”

See details about the auction, including location and bidding requirements, as well as floorplans, here.

Here’s a breakdown of the cheapest minimum bids for each category of units:

Studios:

  • Was listed at $199,900 for 584 square feet
  • Minimum bid of $115,000

1-Bedroom:

  • Was listed at $221,900 for 684 square feet
  • Minimum bid of $150,000

1-Bedroom plus den:

  • Was listed at $358,900 for 1002 square feet
  • Minimum bid of $210,000

2-Bedrooms:

  • Was listed at $449,900 for 1248 square feet
  • Minimum bid of $270,000

2-Bedrooms plus den:

  • Was listed at $551,900 for 1667 square feet
  • Minimum bid of $360,000

2 Penthouses on the 31st floor:

  • One was listed at $799,000 with a minimum bid of $400,000
  • Second one was listed at $899,900 with a minimum bid of $415,000

Interestingly, the two units we last chattered about in the building that were seeing “special pricing” last June 2008 and in November 2008, are still on the market and are NOT part of the auction.

See our prior chatter and pictures here.

They are both still priced the same as last November.

Rebecca Farrell and Nathan Skillicorn at Baird and Warner have the listing. See more pictures here.

Unit #1603: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, den, 1667 square feet

  • Originally listed for $518,900
  • Was listed in June 2008 as “special pricing” for $468,900 (parking extra)
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in November 2008 for $460,900 (parking included)
  • Currently still listed for $460,900 (parking included)
  • Assessments of $699 a month
  • Taxes are “new”

Unit #1607: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, den, 1525 square feet

  • Was listed in June 2008 at “special pricing” for $434,900 (parking extra)
  • Was listed in November 2008 at $437,900 (parking extra)
  • Currently listed at $437,900 (parking extra) 
  • Assessments now only $499 a month (were $533 a month in June)
  • Taxes are “new”

Will buyers get “deals” at this auction? Stay tuned.

If anyone goes-please report in on the frenzy.

151 Responses to “Auction Alert: The Vetro to Auction Off 40 Units on March 7”

  1. Still over $200 a square foot, in the South Loop. But I’ve been in the Vetro and actually liked it a lot. *IF* buyers can get the units for the minimum prices (or very close to it), then I think they are good (though not *amazing*) deals.

    The 3-terraced penthouse looks pretty damn sweet.

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  2. There are some deals here. Unfortunately very short notice to come up with 5% down. :(

    It will be interesting to see what these sell for vs. their minimum bid. I bet most sell for well above their minimum bids.

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  3. Wow. 40 units? Somebody is going to get a very good deal from this. These have + cash flow at minimum bid prices and are solid investments.

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  4. Not so fast… Their is a huge vacant lot to the west of this building that won’t be vacant forever… Probably won’t get built on for a few years in this climate but it’s a concern for units facing west.

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  5. “There” not “their” (damn GED…)

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  6. I don’t see what that lot has to do with these being cash flow + investments at minimum bid prices. These units, especially the studios/1 BR, are big winners. The rent/price ratios almost fall into the 1% rule (rent=1% price) that you never see on properties in desirable neighborhoods in Chicago. If you are in the market to buy, I’d definitely attend this auction.

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  7. Excellent. This auction will set new comps, and then when the current owners go belly up we’ll see some real deals.

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  8. Assuming you aren’t going to hold the units forever, losing an unobstructed view will impact the value of the unit upon resale – especially on higher floors where most people expect views. The mere specter of something being built has caused sales on that side of the building to lag considerably – hence, the auction.

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  9. So what will the units go for? Has anyone been involved in these actions before? Is it safe to assume that most units will sell for just 5-10% discount off the prior asking price?

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  10. Anyone worried about train tracks being right next to it?

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  11. How long do you figure before all those trendy bare concrete ceilings get painted? Ick.

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  12. uwish, that lot has been vacant forever. I’m sure someone here knows the back story. But if nothing was built there during the boom and it’s maybe three blocks from the Sears Tower, I’m guessing there is a reason.

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  13. I’ve been to an auction where the price was a small discount (10%), but that was during a normal market and only a few townhouses were being auctioned. 40 units being auctioned in this economy with only 3 weeks of marketing tells me there is a good chance prices will stay low.

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  14. According to the website floorplans the 2 br 1248 sf looks to also include a den, meaning $360k minimum bid. Unless i’m wrong, the only 2 br without a den is listed at 1133 sf

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  15. Fine print shows a few tiny goodies: $2500 credit for closing within 15 days; $1000 credit for using one of their lenders.

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  16. Any idea what rents in the building are? As I’ve said on previous Vetro threads, my office faces the building and it is complete ghost town. The building is going to have a lot of renters between all the current accidental landlords and auction buyers…

    John

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  17. It will be very interesting to see what these units actually sell at. Can someone report back after the auction.

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  18. Is a parking spot included with a unit?

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  19. Don’t forget that if you buy, you automatically get $15K from me (the taxpayer). and I was incorrect on another thread about it being a loan. it’s FREE MONEY to you that our children get to pay back.

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  20. No mention of finishes that I could see. Are the prices listed with white laminate countertops and crap contractor grade fixtures?

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  21. Unless there are special rules for the auctioned properties, a parking spot seems to be included with each unit, per the site.

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  22. I really liked the looks of the place, but after the negative comments here and the articles in Crain’s, my Realtor and I stayed away from the building.

    As a footnote to nothing: we are planning to close on our purchase at 330 W. Grand on 2/20. We are very happy with the unit and the drop dead city views. We read the HOA minutes last night and the board seems exceptionally responsible, and the building well-managed.

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  23. Steve,

    welcome to the ‘hood. You’ll enjoy it. learn to love the 65 bus

    your neighbor at Grand/Wells.

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  24. SteveA- This site is all about negative comments.

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  25. We should rename this from CribChatter to CribBasher.

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  26. “I really liked the looks of the place, but after the negative comments here and the articles in Crain’s, my Realtor and I stayed away from the building.

    As a footnote to nothing: we are planning to close on our purchase at 330 W. Grand on 2/20. We are very happy with the unit and the drop dead city views. We read the HOA minutes last night and the board seems exceptionally responsible, and the building well-managed.”

    Well hello, soon to be neighbor my wife and I are closing at franklin/ontario in late march, if you have dogs, i’ll see you at that dog park on Ohio and Orleans :)

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  27. If the developer is willing to cut his prices another 15% I would consider buying a 2BD unit there just because it’s more bang for the buck than more established areas. And I am sure other first time buyers would too. I could deal with being a mile away from all the “action” if I am saving a few hundred dollars a month. Does anyone know why the assessments are so high? 211 E Ohio has every amenity one could imagine and the assessments on a high end 2BD are the same as in this building.

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  28. the dog park is actually on erie/kingsbury. was there last night with the pooch.

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  29. I can’t recall the full story, but the lot to the west used to be owned by the railways and is contaminated in some way. At least two developers have bought the land then sold it on without developing it. I believe it changed hands a year or two ago and the current owners do plan to build there – how long before that happens is anyone’s guess.

    “uwish, that lot has been vacant forever. I’m sure someone here knows the back story. But if nothing was built there during the boom and it’s maybe three blocks from the Sears Tower, I’m guessing there is a reason.”

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  30. You can enter on the Ohio/orleans side so you don’t have to walk on the street right?

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  31. I’m talking of course about Ohio Place park, not Larabee park.

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  32. Ohio Place Park is technically not dog friendly. i’d show you on GMaps, but there’s a damn fedex truck blocking the no-dogs sign

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  33. Thanks all. It will be a weekend place as it was for the previous owner. We bought it furnished for a very reasonable price for the contents, and we generally have the same style .That saves time and money, and make the place turnkey. We will be bringing our greyhound with us. So, it was good to know about the dog park, although I’m a little confused based on the above as to its actual location.

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  34. I was there last week, this is a cool building with some exceptional views, nice finishes and amenities. I’m definitely interested.

    Yes, the land to the west can get developed, but don’t hold your breath. This auction represents a nice opportunity to get a good deal.

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  35. Thanks, art.

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  36. I thought ohio place park had an off-leash area? Was I lied to?

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  37. I sure hope G weighs in on this! Really would love to know his opinion. And also, if you can believe it, Steve Heitman’s opinion.

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  38. I think we all know what G’s Opinion will be. “knifecatchers, what is cheap now will be cheaper in the future. Steve H will probably say that location is bad, but there might be some value.

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  39. Then G will call Steve H a shill

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  40. Sonies, there is a dog park behind Office Depot. That may be Ohio Place Park, I never knew the official name.

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  41. G is just callin’ it like it is.

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  42. “Sonies, there is a dog park behind Office Depot. That may be Ohio Place Park, I never knew the official name.”

    Yeah that’s the one i’m talkin about, there’s gate to a long gangway that goes past Office Depot on Ohio/Orleans and on the gate it says ohio place park, is that how you get to the off leash area?

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  43. The minimum prices on these are indeed cash flow positive. I expect investors to swamp this event and bid up the properties to cash flow negative levels. But I can’t predict the future. If I had the ability to get 5% down within 3 weeks time and an extra 5% for closing I would attend.

    Goes to show these days cash is indeed king. Kicking myself for paying down debt instead of keeping a nice reserve for opportunities like this.

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  44. Lived just down the block (Wells Street Tower) for a year back in 2002. Pretty dead then and still is, but real potential for some life to come into that side of Clark when Roosevelt Collection shops open up and if the units fill up (in Vetro, the other new tower at Wells/Polk, etc.) and attract retail into the bottom floors of these buildings. Probably still some years off, but seems to be some upside potential for the neighborhood.

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  45. it’s a short walk to printers row which has stuff to do at night. dont know about that whole movie theatre/mall they are putting in just south at roosevelt. it could help or it could suck hard.

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  46. Bob- Would developers allow someone to show up with a decent offer a week before the auction? As a potential buyer that seems to make more sense than going to this auction and getting into a pissing contest with investors.

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  47. lauren,

    It stands to reason they would. Given this event it appears the developers are likely hurting financially and have construction loans coming due. I think it would be worth your time to at least approach the developer with an offer, I can’t imagine them not willing to deal.

    However, don’t be fooled by the minimum price listings. Those are eye popping low prices to bring the crowds out, they’ll sell for higher is my guess. If they do sell for near minimum price it is a great data point on how bad the environment has truly become. Should be interesting results coming out of that auction at least.

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  48. Assuming the 40 condos sell during the auction, keep in mind there will still be 60+ available in the building. Logic would dictate that the remainder would then have to be priced pretty close to the auctioned units’ selling prices to stand any chance of selling (not that logic is a common factor in real estate).

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  49. How many units here are currently occupied?

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  50. I find this auction comical given I made an offer on one of the 1BR + Den Units on a lower floor a few weeks ago and they basically laughed in my face and did not counter. My offer was above the minmum $210k auction price. I am now under contract with a 1BR at 1555 S Wabash. Does anyone have any opinions/insights on that building?

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  51. Those minimum prices sure look like construction loan minimum release prices. It’s possible that they convinced their lender to reduce the release prices for this auction, but I’d doubt it, with the number of additional unsold units remaining after the auction. So those are the amounts that, if something less than all the units (I’d guess 80%, but could be higher or lower) sold for those prices, the proceeds would pay off the construction loan.

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  52. Am I crazy for not finding these prices eye-poppingly low? Maybe it’s because I’m only looking at the two penthouses. I dunno, they are all still over $200/sq. ft.–even when you take out parking ($20K)–though when you include the $15K from Uncle Sugar, presuming it goes through, you get just below it. Maybe I’m wrong to be thinking of this in terms of the South Loop? Valasko, what do you think, given you just bought (modern) new construction not far from here?

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  53. Wait Bob, I thought you were hoarding cash in your studio apartment?

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  54. JPS on February 11th, 2009 at 11:55 am
    How many units here are currently occupied?

    JPS, I really have nothing to add to the comment I made three months ago…

    JKD on November 11th, 2008 at 10:52 am
    “One concern is that seeming lack of inhabitants in this building, sugesting a lot of investors/flippers. On any given weeknight its not often I see more than a few lights on in the entire building, far less than 100 or even 50.”

    This place is a complete ghost town. I have unobstructed views from my office across Congress and it’s like Willy Wonka’s factory before the golden tickets, “nobody ever goes in, and noboday ever comes out!”

    Seriously, I can see the entire North side of the building, all the blinds are open, and I have NEVER seen a living sole in any of the units. I can see all but the bottem few floors of the east side of the buiding and I have seen a grand total of 2 people out on a balcony in the last 9 months (since I have had this view).

    I was shocked when I read here that it is 50% sold. Is it possible that it is 50% sold but but only a fraction of those people have closed?

    John

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  55. Steve A,

    I live at 330 W Grand, and I can say the building is exceptionally well run. The assessments are higher than typical, but you get what you pay for with an excellent 24/7 door staff, on-site and extremely responsive super and management.

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  56. I see two 1 br rentals on Craig’s List, asking $1,250 and $1,495. Does anyone know what they actually rent for? I am suspicious that these are cash flow positive even at the minimum bid levels.

    John

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  57. What’s everyone’s estimate of average auctioned prices for these units (although it’ll obviously vary for each unit)? i.e. 15% above the minimum price; 160k condo becomes $172.5k, 210k condo becomes 241.5k?

    Any guesses?

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  58. That empty lot on Wells/Harrison is cursed. It is indeed former railroad land (Grand Central Terminal used to be on the corner) and rumours abound about various amounts of contamination. I haven’t been able to root our what is trust and what is legend.

    As far as I know, the land is currently in two hands, one parcel on the Wells/Harrison corner is owned by the same Irish developer who’s putting up another project south of Roosevelt. They have a sign posted on the corner, but it is mainly an ad for that other development.

    The other parcel, wraps around the corner in a L shape, and contains all the riverfront land, as well as the frontage onto the former Polk street. No one I’ve talked to knows whether the city still has right to that former stretch of Polk St. or if it is part of either the River City property or the empty lot. There used to be a bridge across the river at Polk street many years ago.

    The owners of this property – rumour is they’re Ukranian, but who knows? – seem to be sort of fly-by-night folk. They started to put in a surface level lot last fall without proper permission, and that got quickly shut down after a quick call to the alderman, and there have been no signs of further activity for several months. The entire process was very amateurish, and I especially enjoyed watching the temporary workers moving rocks by hand for hours instead of just using a backhoe for about 20 minutes and being done with it. They are infamous among the dog people for actively trying to keep them out – posting signs, closing breaks in the fence, etc. – all of which the dog owners promply remove (I have visions of people out there with wire cutters at 2 am!!) They also angered the River City boat owners by cutting off their main access to the boat slip. All quite a saga.

    I don’t expect anything to be build on this property for many years to come, give the history and current situation.

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  59. 17 rented units per the MLS:

    Tier 10 – Studio $1100-$1300
    Tier 09 – 1 bed $1400-$1500
    Tier 01 – 1 bed $1450-$1475
    Tier 08 – 1 bed $1595-1650
    Plus a few 2 beds @ $2000-$2500 per month.

    Most have parking, though some do not.

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  60. art/JKD — doesn’t sound cash-flow-positive to me…

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  61. “That empty lot on Wells/Harrison is cursed. It is indeed former railroad land (Grand Central Terminal used to be on the corner) and rumours abound about various amounts of contamination.”

    From what I have heard about that lot, there are massive deisel fuel tanks underground that would absolutely have to be removed to be built upon, some are hundreds of years old and while being massive, it would be insanely costly to remove them because of the size, and the contamination risks (don’t wanna be dumping old diesel & rusty metal into the river lol).

    Not only that, but there is probably no city sewer or water or any sort of utility lines connected to that lot, which you’d have to pay an arm and a leg for just to develop on that lot.

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  62. Thanks art!

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  63. Wow – $1100-1300/mo for a 523 sq ft studio in south loop?

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  64. KW, I bought in the northeast loop which is a world away- and really don’t have a handle on pricing in the south loop. I will not speculate pricing like many of the posters here. You need to go and do your own due diligence to verify if this is a real deal or not. What I can tell you is that future market conditions are very unclear and I would not over leverage myself with a purchase at this time. If you can afford it and plan on staying there for at least ten years then its probably ok. (After due diigence of course)

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  65. “massive deisel fuel tanks underground … some are hundreds of years old”

    I don’t think there are any hundred year old diesel fuel tanks there, much less diesel fule tanks that pre-date the founding of Chicago. Decades old, sure; still a problem if they’re there, sure. And coal waste is likely as much (or more) of a problem as diesel USTs. The land north of Polk was mostly the actual station, rather than a working yard, so fuel storage was more likely elsewhere.

    The property is called “Franklin Point” for now. It’s apparently owned by Russland Capital Group, developer of Michigan Avenue Tower (1250 S Mich). They purchased it in 2008 from CSX (for $40mm)–the successor to the railroad who owned the station when it was a station–so the problem has been that prospective buyers (of which there have been many) never actually acquired the property–possibly due to environmental concerns (unlikely, given that someone has actually purchased it), but more likely due to a lack of a concrete project with a concrete financing commitment.

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  66. About 20 years ago CSX got city approvals for “Franklin Point”, an 8 acre mixed use planned development (mainly office and hotel) pipe dream that was based on a plan to have the entrances/ first floors elevated above current street level. The 1.5 acre corner parcel was purchased in 1990 by Harris Bank who planned to build a million sq ft back office building, but it was purchased by a Dutch bank who killed that plan. CSX sued, claiming Harris was obligated to build but lost. I believe the obstacle to development happening is that the owners of the two parcels must cooperate & agree on a new plan and then convince the alderman and city to agree to amend the approved planned development.

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  67. This is a fairly recent article about Franklin Point.

    http://www.chicagorealestatedaily.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=30299

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  68. i tried to plant some sunflower seeds along the fence of that lot last spring. they never sprouted, must have been the diesel and coal.

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  69. Valasko at 10:37a got my opinion right. Notice how he didn’t disagree with it at 1:20p?

    Speaking of shills, how many do you suppose will be making bids? I can’t believe nobody else has even mentioned this common occurrence yet. There is no “fear of loss” in the current market, so they hope to create it at auction. I encourage everyone to attend in order to see how the pros lead their marks into irrational exuberance.

    Who really believes the first auction like this in Chicago will turn out deals? Especially in a bldg that will still have many, many unsold units remaining. Art is dead on about any “deals” at auction becoming the new market reality. I have said this for a long time here: $200/sf in the SL (even near South) will not be the bottom.

    These unsold unit auctions will become common. Then, there might be deals. I have bought in this type of situation before. It won’t be a bad way to bottom feed eventually, but we are a long way still from bottom.

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  70. $15,000 tax credit looks to be dead in the compromise bill… Sorry guys.

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  71. What is everyone’s best guess at eventual prices, relative to the minimums?

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  72. That credit was the one piece of spending in the bill that I thought would help to stabilize the downward spiralling housing market. Oh well, it just means prices will be headed lower, and ultimately the economy will suffer more for it.

    As much as I want prices to head lower, only a fool couldn’t see that all of this economic malaise is tied to rapidly sinking real estate values.

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  73. I think they are going with a $7500 credit (which already exists for first timers) Not sure if this one will need to be paid back like the current one, but if so… BOOO! Senators suck.

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  74. Good riddance to the housing credit. I might be worse off, but the country is better off.

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  75. Sonies,

    They’ll be back next year and more humbled. They don’t want to give 15k away to taxpayers to try to stabilize the crashing market in the US because that wouldn’t be fair. Yet are complicit to committ trillions of dollars to our financial institutions who dug themselves into this hole that threatens the entire economy.

    I really think the government is powerless in this downturn because they clearly don’t understand the problem and are prescribing ineffective solutions. Heck they helped create the problem. Its like asking Dr. Frankenstein whether he thinks his monster is a danger.

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  76. “Good riddance to the housing credit.”

    2. There are lots of ways to spend ~$50B to help the housing market; this one was a sop to the real estate industry. The Sentor who proposed it is a former realtor.

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  77. “only a fool couldn’t see that all of this economic malaise is tied to rapidly sinking real estate values.”

    The economic malaise is the direct result of the bubble mania. It was rising real estate values that caused it, the “rapidly sinking” values are just the necessary correction.

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  78. I understand the concept that a fully or somewhat occupied building is of worth more value to the tennants. Especially when the tennants get to take over the board.

    My question is this…How screwed are those people who got in a year before the property was built? Parking alone back then was going for 40K and a 1 Bed (684sq ft) going for 230k which equals about $330 per SQ/Ft. So Bring on the speculation…Lets hear it

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  79. “Sonies on February 11th, 2009 at 3:03 pm
    I think they are going with a $7500 credit (which already exists for first timers) Not sure if this one will need to be paid back like the current one, but if so… BOOO! Senators suck.”

    WSJ is saying that the agreed upon package removes the repayment stipulation of the credit.

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  80. Ah well that is good news, thanks Bradford.

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  81. “thanks Bradford”

    You should thank all of us. We’re dirwectly helping you pay for something you would have bought anyway.

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  82. If it makes you feel any better, i would have qualified for the 7500 first time home buyers tax credit anyway which I would have had to pay back at $50 a month over a period of 15 years starting on my 2010 return. At least I don’t have to bother with that on my tax return.

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  83. Back on subject, I called Vetro and one parking spot is included with every unit being auctioned. No additional parking is available however.

    Looking at the floor plans, views, square footage, etc…if I was willing to downsize significantly to 1667sf, I think the 22nd-26th floor 2BR+Den units are a decent value at $360k. The rest of the units seem to be West-only views, which isn’t all that attractive to me.

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  84. Bradford,

    The 1br+dens have west & north (!) views.

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  85. Does anyone know what the HOA is on the 1br apartments?

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  86. “Don’t forget that if you buy, you automatically get $15K from me (the taxpayer). and I was incorrect on another thread about it being a loan. it’s FREE MONEY to you that our children get to pay back.” – CH

    IT IS NOT FREE MONEY. It is $15,000 that you earned and the government will not take from you provided you have a tax liability over $15K to begin with!

    This credit is a reduction in your tax liability by 15K. IT IS NOT A TAX REFUND! You don’t automatically get cut a check for 15K if you buy a house under this proposal.

    Of course people making more and paying more will benefit from this credit because they have a larger tax liability. Chris you mentioned this proposal is dead, which sucks. Probably too many people making $40K a year complaining that they are not going to get a full 15K reduction in tax liability.

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  87. “Probably too many people making $40K a year complaining that they are not going to get a full 15K reduction in tax liability.”

    No, too many people who saw through Isakson’s bs sop to the RE industry. And then he couldn’t be bothered to vote for the bill, anyway. It was a stupid giveaway that benefited a lot of people who were going to buy anyway w/o delivering any genuine stimulus (the point of the bill–remember?).

    If it had been somehow limited to “distressed” (however defined–REO, w/ currently delinquent mortgages, etc.) properties, I *might* have been able to get behind it. As it was, stone-cold giveaway to those who happened to be buying or selling this year anyway.

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  88. Went to Vetro today to check out the Auction units. Really great finishes…granite counters, stainless appliances, hardwood floors. Amazing water views and fantastic views of the city. Parking is included. I cant imagine not checking it out at these prices

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  89. I just went to the website, the unit plans are nice, I really like the 2br + Den. If someone goes to the auction please report on the prices. These units are well laid out.

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  90. Hey Steph, how much are they paying you?

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  91. Nothing, because not only is Steph a client, Steph’s also the president of Vetro.

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  92. umm…anyone considering what this does to comps in the building? what do I care you say?
    well if units to your left and right foreclose as the owners figure they will never recover what they paid, guess who pays the association dues…
    Ask folks in miami how that worked out for them…

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  93. Treanes… It’s still robbing Paul to pay Pete. When you are at a deficit and you give back money to someone (or take less from them) then someone else obviously bears the burden of that debt.

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  94. Only one type of person would write something like steph… a realtor!

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  95. “The 1br+dens have west & north (!) views.”

    Ah cool, thanks. Too small to live in, too expensive to rent out though, imho.

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  96. Thanks for the tip about this yesterday, Sabrina.

    I know some of you visit YoChicago.com more than others, so it’s possible that some of you missed the videos we shot at Vetro last year. You can see them at the links below:

    Touring a two-bedroom: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97U8z9biHjA
    Vetro’s penthouses: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRzxkWHhUVE
    Vetro’s latest grand-opening party: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ka1xcV0mBY

    As always, anyone who has visited Vetro and wants to rate and review the development can do so on its NewHomeNotebook page: http://newhomenotebook.com/development.aspx?pn=20&po=1999

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  97. How’s the road noise and the “between units” noise at 330 W Grand?

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  98. the auction prices are awfully appealing – starting bid on 1 bed’s in the 150 range and in the 1000 sq. foot one bedroom in the 210 range.

    what kind of jumps are we going to see over these prices though? will it be doable to nab a smaller one bed in the 170’s or a bigger one in the 230’s?

    or are we going to be bid back up to just under market value?

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  99. I don’t understand why over $200/sq ft in south loop is so appealing – wasn’t the Sterling selling just above $200/sq ft in late ’08 and falling? I see the finishes are higher end in Vetro, but Sterling is in a much more expensive area. I understand Sterling probably has a $100+/sq ft discount b/c all of the problems with foreclosures and no one is sure where the bottom is in that building, but Vetro seems like it could be plauged with vacancies and unclear bottom also.

    On a side note, I watched the video of the 1667 sq ft floor plan – for a condo that large, the living room seemed tiny once you tried to fit a dining room table… the bedrooms didn’t seem very big either. Are they counting the outdoor space as part of the square footage?

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  100. McDude:

    There was no road noise inside the apartment at 330 we are purchasing. It’s on the 18th floor. We did pay attention to that issue. There was no noise from other units the short time we were there.

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  101. Does it strike anyone else as funny that although Zekas stormed off in a huff from this site, he nevertheless cannot resist sending one of his minions to troll for traffic here?

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  102. “bid back up to just under market value”

    What, pray tell, is “market value” when there is no active market? Seems to me, it’s reasonably likely that they won’t be bid up much, so long as it’s a fiar action (i.e., no straw bidders).

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  103. “Does it strike anyone else as funny that although Zekas stormed off in a huff from this site, he nevertheless cannot resist sending one of his minions to troll for traffic here?”

    Joes site is a piece of crap that is only there to sell overprice garbage, although he’s so desperate for traffic I called him a douchebag directly and he didn’t ban me.

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  104. fullhouse,

    I think the Sterling was plagued with other issues as well. I wouldn’t consider it a fair comparison to Vetro at least in terms of soundness of structure and architecturally speaking. Plus I like the look of Vetro much better than the Sterling. It does modern well, IMO.

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  105. I thought condos were selling at ~half of their original value in Sterling before the facade issues and specials, and it was mostly due to the massive foreclosures – do I have the timing wrong?

    I think most ppl agree Vetro has a better look, but 2 of it’s main drawing points match Sterling’s – floor to ceiling windows and about equivilant outdoor space… so although not totally comparable, it’s not the worst comparison ever. I guess my main point is maybe $200+/sq ft would be a good deal in south loop for a building with no issues, but clearly a building plagued with vacancies has a large discount (> $100/sq ft) – so I don’t see how this is a bargain.

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  106. I live in the building and I know there are about 100 people living here. It’s a very nice building, just too bad that prices have dropped.

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  107. well should we expect the association fees to skyrocket if a big chunk of the units remain unsold? i’m still a bit unclear on that

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  108. riz,

    I think I read somewhere that the developer has a legal timetable where they have to turn the HOA over to the current owners. Once that happens the total assessments are divvied up between all the owner-occupants. So if you have a bunch of vacant units in your building the HOA dues will be higher. Thats my understanding.

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  109. I believe the developer must turn over control of the association after 75% of units have been sold. They are still responsible for the assessments on their unsold units.

    The game that is commonly played is to keep the assmts low in order to qualify more ‘howmuchamonth’ buyers and to keep their own monthly expense on unsold units to a minimum.

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  110. I just asked someone else and that turnover timeline should be “after 75% of units have been sold or 3 years after initial condo declaration, whichever comes first.”

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  111. BTW, often the assessments jump on buildings after control is turned over to the owners, b/c the developer keeps them artificially low.

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  112. There’s also a short time period after turnover for the board to terminate all lucrative services contracts with developer’s friends and family. Like cleaning services, laundry, etc.

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  113. McDude –

    For me, there is literally zero noise at 330 W Grand – the floors and walls are solid concrete, so nothing from the neighbors. The windows and glass doors are high quality, so I don’t hear any road noise. I’m on a high floor, so I can’t say for sure regarding the lower floors, although residences start on the 8th floor. Also, noise within the unit is not as much of a problem, b/c they have solid core interior doors.

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  114. I checked out the units over at the Vetro to see what they had.

    The east-facing units have some great skyline and lake views, but they are also permeated by a humming noise coming from the trains idling at the Metra station across the street. That pretty much knocks out the 8 floor plans that have bedrooms on the east side for me.

    The 1 bedroom + den has an awesome floorplan, but you and the resident in the next unit will have a clear view into each other’s living rooms.

    Workout room was unimpressive. Plenty of cardio machines, but only two weight machines and one rack of dumbells.

    Ceilings are bare concrete with the texture of cheap plywood. Reminds me of the ceilings in the Fairbanks.

    Looks like there are going to be plenty of bidders. Place was swarming with people checking out the units.

    Finishes were overall quite nice, but also vary from unit to unit. Just make sure you know what you’re bidding on.

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  115. I toured these last night and received a CD with the necessary documents including amendments and purchase contract. The construction contract clearly has the clause turning the association over to the owners at 75% sold. It seems this is exactly why they are auctioning only 40 units of the remaining 100. It takes the seller to that 75% trigger point. Any foreclosures that occur after the 75% occupancy, will hit the association rather than the developer. And the message from the builder to the current owners is “your unit was already dropped in value, regardless of whether these usits are auctioned off.” The remaining 60 units after auction are unlikely to foreclose.

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  116. Sounds like the developer is trying to limit his exposure to the risk of foreclosures in the building. Not only that, but the auction will show the current owners exactly how far underwater they really are.

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  117. Thanks GO for the info on 330. I’m looking for an in-town and this is now on my list.

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  118. There are tons of specuvestors in this building and I foresee a lot of them going into foreclosure.

    The one unit I was following (702) just sold in December to a specuvestor who has an ask of $1,750/$1,950 with parking for a 1/1 with terrace that they paid 232k for. LMAO. In fact another terrace level studio was also listed for rent by a specvestor.

    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/apa/1034419544.html

    There are always multiple listings on craigslist for rentals and sales in this building by flippers. Beautiful building but high risk due to the amount of specuvestors.

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  119. bob, the unit 702 that you were looking at, was it the 712 sq. foot 1 bed, or was it the 1 bedroom with the den?

    i went out to the building today..let me tell you, the studio units are not even worth a look. i don’t know how they are calculating the square footage of these units, but they seem MUCH smaller than advertised.

    all the one bedroom units that are for auctions ( 712 sq. ft ) are facing the METRA and air conditioners, along with other mechanical junk. they are noisy and there is a constant “hum” from the metra. if you touch the windows, you can constantly hear them vibrate from the metra noise – and i’m talking high levels, 16, 17 etc.

    the 2 bed’s and big units are fine, the 1667 sq foot 2 bed is a nice layout, but i am fairly sure the bids are going to rise up the minimum price on these, as they are the best units there.

    the one bedroom with den has a nice layout, nothing special – it doesn’t have a ton of living space, it feels like we lose a lot of living room space to make room for the “den”. with a starting bid price of 210, i’m not really sure what those are going to go for….they also seemed smaller than 1000 sq. foot.

    what do you guys think we’ll see at the auction? 5% , 10%, 15% markup over minimum bids?

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  120. I think we’ll see bids 20%+ above their minimum markup. FHA financing is going to be available if they sell 23 units so that means the 5% down crowd will have a field day and still believe RE always goes up. I expect comps comparable to the closed sales this past month.

    The unit (702) they are asking 1950 for rent for is 685 square feet with a private terrace. Its not even close to ballpark rent for the area so not sure what the RE company is telling the owner here. Then again if they bought at list in December the owner can’t be too bright anyway.

    Low downpayment loans were a large reason we got into this mess in the first place and they’re still here, provided by our tax dollars.

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  121. its spec’d by state law…. the turnover must be _complete_ within 60 days of the earlier of 75% units sold or three years after the declaration was filed. Most developers tend to wait as long as possible before filing, usually right before the first closing, as it is in their interest to maintain control as long as possible to reduce their carrying costs.

    To be sure reducing the number of units the developer owns insulates him from increasing assessment costs and liabilities to the association, but I don’t think foreclosure worries is the reason for choosing an auction here or the number of units in the auction. Illinois condo law limits the latest date/percentage sold at which turner _must_ occur, but does not prevent it from happening sooner. To the person who has the developer contract, I would check the clause and see if it specifies an exact percentage sold for turnover or a “no later than” amount. I really don’t think numbers of foreclosures have anything to do with choosing to auction 40 units anyway, I really think it’s a developer who needs/wants to sell and has come to terms with the falling market. He probably has loan obligations coming due that would make any unpaid assessments from units going into foreclosure seem de minimis in comparison, anyway.

    *Developer capitulation to price reductions will be the theme of 2009*

    Regarding cancellation of contracts, only those extending beyond two years from the date the declaration was recorded may be canceled after the turnover. New boards would do well to get expert legal counsel during the turnover.

    This information brought to you by a GED-educated realtor. Oh waits… I have 3 degrees. Wah waah

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  122. btw if you have never been to a real estate auction i suggest you sign up and go. they are quite fun and frankly quite a rush :)

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  123. the reason developers keep the assessments artificially low is not only to better sell the units, but because the liability for assessments on developer owned units begins on date of first unit sale. the stated assessments mean nothing; one should guesstimate based on other similar buildings and plan for that

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  124. So Count,
    Assuming the buyer wants to live in the unit for 3+ years would you recommend buying a condo in this building at the auction? At the right price of course! The insight is appreciated but curious if you would accompany a buyer to the auction?

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  125. i can’t believe they were asking 1950 to rent the 685 sq. foot one bed, what are they thinking? i’ve seen closets with better layouts than that place. for 1950 i can rent a beautiful 950 sq. foot one bed with lake and city views at museum park….they need to get real. hopefully the buyers will not be fooled into bidding these condos to 20% over minimums….this market is headed lower and i only wonder what the developer will do with the left over units once the summer hits and the real estate market crashes even harder.

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  126. riz,

    For the answer to your questions look up the RE company agent who is pitching this rental to the owner. For everyone who has accused me of being “raciss” or culturally insensitive, we have one cute gal from Lithuania who otherwise would be a bartender here in Chicago or back home in Lithuania. Who knows if she or her company is the owner or she just sweet talked them into the listing.

    Bottom line is it won’t rent for anywhere near the ask and it has eastern european tracks all over it. I bet she knows the owner and they don’t give a damn about whatever a FICO score is because where they’re from FICO is a stupid four letter acronynm for dumb Americans to be concerned with. They can always go home if the specuvest doesn’t pan out, or bartend. Bartending doesn’t require credit checks..

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  127. VB haha.. yes at the right price. always. but i dont think these are going to go for the right price – which should be, imho, based on cash flows – pricing, which,.. sigh… hasn’t been seen for years. 3 years, i dont think, will be long enough to ride out the bottom. i think we are in for several years of decline and then several years of stagnation in price, so no rush. i dont have anyone interested in this building, even with the teaser opening minimums. if i did have a client hell-bent on buying i would go… to try and mitigate the damage my buyer was about to inflict on himself. :) and to get the commission of course!

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  128. Riz –

    I too went to check out the Vetro yesterday, and agree that the 1667sf plans are the ones to go after. With the really nice wraparound view, it’s got the wow factor, but I’m unsure if it would cash flow as a rental. You’d have to clear nearly $3k/mo as a rental to make it work at the min. bid amount with 25% down, and I would be surprised if these unit don’t go for WELL over the min. bid amounts.

    It’s a really nice unit but I’m not sure that $3K a month for a 2BR+Den, 2BA is obtainable, even for a stunning unit, in this market.

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  129. bradford,

    i agree. though the 1667 unit probably will still go at a “decent” price, it will be nearly impossible to rent in the 3-4k range. the same goes for the 1000 sq. foot 1 bed + den. if that even bids up ~ 20% over minimums, the monthly payment, assessments, and taxes break out to somewhere in the 2-2500 range. that’s tough , given the location and emptiness of the building. i think the developer will get a reality check after the auction, and we might see fairer pricing on the remaining units….but even if we don’t, there are a trillion other condos sitting on the market waiting on offers.

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  130. bob,

    i agree on the rental point..2k is never going to happen on that unit. though a low down payment isn’t always a bad idea, it gets complicated when the investor/owner can’t rent the unit out and can’t make those monthly payments , especially with the assesments and taxes figured into it. if a lot of these auction units go out to specuvestors and other inexperienced flipper types ( who don’t always know better ) , we’re going to see a big mess at vetro in the next few months.

    p.s. -> the people living in the building were SUPER rude, not even willing to say hello back or speak to us auction hunters. but then again, can you blame them for being irked?

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  131. riz,

    For anyone who is currently underwater having a low downpayment/high LTV mortgage loan was a great idea for them, but bad for society. Their losses are backstopped at the amount of their downpayment if they choose to walk away from their mortgage. And choosing to walk might be the most rational decision for them from an economics standpoint. But of course this loss backstop was a terrible risk from the bank’s perspective. They’re going to eat the losses.

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  132. Riz, I spoke with 2 residents (each on different elevator rides) who were quite cordial. Both said that they liked living in the building. (Perhaps they were renters?)
    I noticed that there are no units ending in 08 available out of any of the 107 units unsold. And looking at the maps by the elevators they appear to be very small corner units facing both S and E.

    For anyone else going, recognize that the colored dots on a door by the eyehole signify that the unit is unsold. Though, I’m not sure if color (red, yellow, blue, green) signifies anything else (like high end features).
    There are many remaining units (outside of the auction) on upper floors.

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  133. For me this has the potential to be the best opportunity seen in downtown yet. For me this beats renting.

    Provided we get our “reasonable” but “below market” target price at the auction I will also get $13,000 in incentives which includes the $8000 tax credit / $2500 quick close bonus / $1000 preferred lender bonus / ~$1200 ZipRealty rebate.

    To the bashers…where are the better deals in the area?

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  134. Monkey – in answer to the question: where are the better deals?

    in the future

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  135. Monkey,

    $2500 may not be in your control if you also go for the $1000 preferred lender. What happens if they drag their feet to 16 days?

    And the $1000 could cost you more if the preferred lender isn’t competitive in fees/rates and requires you to lock in a rate now.

    The $8000 diminishes or disappears if your Adjusted Gross Income is over $75K.

    But the zip realty rebate? Great idea!

    Lastly, recognize that the Assessments are in some cases completely out of line with Original Asking Price relative Total Value. Those 03 units will cost about $1200 more per year in assessments than they should, based upon asking price.

    WHAT OTHER MISCALCULATIONS HAS THE DEVELOPER MADE?

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  136. Bri Bri.. I’ll be back in Chicago for a few days March 15th.. wink wink :-) And down here it would have to be a Caipirinha.

    “I did the hang-gliding over by Leblon where you land on the beach.”

    Awesome I tried to go twice but got canceled due to winds both times. Scared shit to tell you the truth but I’ll do it eventually. So far this year too busy with my moving and construction nightmare. oven and cooktop in a crate, fridge in my bedroom, and I eat ramen noodles cooked over one of the construction workers gas tanks almost every night.

    C’est la vie. :-)

    btw… isn’t it one hell of a pretty city? Copacabana is just insane right now with Carnival (I usually avoid Copa but this time of year it is just too funny). Few Americans this year and I think most are brothers down here after seeing the snoop dog video or something. Feels a bit like Chicago, been a while since I’ve seen a Chucky t-shirt where Chucky has diamond grills on his teeth. Forgot what I was missing…

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  137. Ze,
    Of course, Rio is a beautiful city…Never been during Carnival.
    Regarding the hang-gliding, once you get past the urge to dig your heels in the ground, its a tremendous experience.

    Here, a mojito might be the closest thing to a caipirinha you’d find in most places. But, I’ll take you up on it.

    On the last trip there, the attendant in the Marriott executive lounge made the best complimentary caipirinhas, some even in other flavors, like strawberry or pineapple.

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  138. Wanted to bring this back to let you all know we settled on our unit at 330 W. Grand. For us, it will be the perfect weekend place. It’s not too fancy and not too big. Hopefully, we will not have to spent too much longer tramping around in the slush. The River North location is great. Regardless of the snow we spent lots of time walking around and taking in the sights and marveling at all the restaurant choices. Binny’s is just down the street, and we are only two blocks away from I90 when we want to go home.

    Boy, the state and the city really gouge you. I’m also not used to having so many lawyers at settlement.

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  139. “Boy, the state and the city really gouge you.”

    Welcome to Chicago, Steve A!

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  140. Of course there are plenty of people who make over $100k; the point was that the number of lawyers who make over $100k is much smaller than people think.

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  141. 100k a year and you shouldn’t be buying anything over 400ish anyway.

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  142. What are the chances that biglaw would ever roll back salaries? I know that firms have been in a “space race” over the past decade to keep associates happy, but I’ve also heard stories recently of summer associates having their offers rescinded and that there’s a very real possibility that this summer’s class will receive far fewer solid post-grad offers than recent classes.

    Not an attorney, but interested…

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  143. Mitch.. Businesses are getting killed. Businesses will give a crap about legal and, the even more wasteful, consultant fees big time going forward.
    Of course at some point they will reduce or hire less. Partners are not going to let their piece widdle away if revenue starts dropping, that’s why they are partners.

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  144. Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal announced in Jan that 2009 salaries would be frozen. “Associates moving to the next class year in 2009 will continue to receive the same base compensation as they did in 2008.”

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  145. I worked with a lawyer from Sonnenschein on a case before x-mas; which is unusual but not rare; ….the lawyer said that was trying to meet billables through pro bono hours but things were slow….and it wasn’t because of the holidays either..

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  146. Further confirming that Vetro is dominated by flippers in for a hard landing, here is a flipper of a 1 bedroom + den on the terrace level who is asking 870k!

    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/reb/1047357510.html

    LOL!

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  147. That’s a sweet place, with some nice finishes but not 870k sweet! :-O

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  148. Looks like he paid $502,000 for the unit including 2 parking spaces.
    Not many people in the building got 2 parking spaces.
    It also appears as if he wants to keep at least one parking space.

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  149. He paid 502k (467k after parking deduction) for a unit whereas ones without the terrace are going to be auctioned off with minimum bids for 210k? Can we say foreclosure risk?

    These specvestors are all over this building. Its not going to end pretty.

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  150. Previously, someone had noted that from their office building they could only see a couple of lights on in the building.
    I’m guessing that person can only see the North side of the building, which are the 03 units. I could only find historical sales for two of the 03 units, 903 and 1803.

    2203-2603 are being auctioned off.
    703, 1003-1503, 1903-2103, 2803, 3003, 3103 are still available.

    I can’t find any info on 803, 1603, 1703, 2703, 2903.

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  151. The HOA dues are staggering already $450+. As soon as the developer hits the 75% occupance and is no longer obligated to cover hoa dues for the vacant or foreclosed units every owner better be prepared to have one the highest hoas in the city. I’m a big believer in you get what you pay for. But what are you getting for $450 a month with the real probability of a significant increase. There is no pool, the gym is average, no decent retail tenants, the buidling and surrounding areas are empty. Doesnt make any sense at all. Eventually many homeowners who bravely or foolishly bought early, will concede and realize that its best to just cut their lossess and move on.

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