Are Smoke Free Buildings the Future? A 1-Bedroom in 111 E. Chestnut in the Gold Coast


This 1-bedroom in the Elysee at 111 E. Chestnut in the Gold Coast came on the market in November 2016.

On the 50th floor with west city views, it has solid oak floors and crown molding.

The listing says the unit has custom doors and Hunter Douglas window treatments.

The kitchen has cherry cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and granite counter tops along with a granite backsplash.

It has a washer/dryer in the unit, wall air conditioning units and parking is available in the building for $40,000 extra.

This building was built in 1972 and has 444 units.

I’ve been told that this building is expected to go non-smoking as of January. That means no smoking in the common areas or in your unit.

Is this is big selling point in the condo market, especially with Millennial buyers?

Will we see a bunch of other buildings following suit?

Harold Gerber at has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #50G: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 1000 square feet

  • Sold in February 1998 for $189,500
  • Sold in August 2000 for $234,000
  • Currently listed for $394,600
  • Assessments of $607 a month (includes doorman, cable, Internet, exercise room, outdoor pool, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger and snow removal)
  • Taxes of $4671
  • No central air- wall units
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Parking available for $40,000 in the building
  • Bedroom: 17×16

Would You Buy in Trump Tower Chicago Right Now? A 1-Bedroom at 401 N. Wabash


This extra-large 1-bedroom on the 74th floor in Trump Tower at 401 N. Wabash in River North has been on the market nearly a year, since January 2016.

At 1314 square feet, the unit also has an extra 8×10 den.

The unit has 10 foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows with south and west views.

It has Brazilian cherry floors.

The kitchen has Snaidero cabinets, granite counter tops and Miele, Wolf and Subzero appliances.

The listing says it has a spa-like master bath.

The unit has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and garage parking is available in the building.

You also get use of all the amenities in the hotel portion of the building.

There are 486 units in the building with 41 condo units currently on the market.

But will the election of Donald Trump to the presidency put a damper on sales in the building?

Bloomberg recently wrote about Trump buildings, worldwide, being the possible targets of terrorist attacks.

Who pays to protect them?

“They’re landmark targets,” he said. “You suddenly have a normal crowded place that becomes a high risk place. Most of the properties will be in places where you can’t get people away.”

Colin Clarke, a terrorism expert at the Rand Corporation, added, “Al-Qaeda is into symbolic attacks. Then you have the added bonus of having Trump’s name slapped on these buildings and all his divisive rhetoric on Muslims.”

While Trump’s U.S. properties face a heightened risk — New York City police are now a full-time presence outside Trump Towers in Manhattan — the overseas buildings pose the thorniest problem. For one, Trump doesn’t own his foreign properties outright, apart from three golf courses in remote parts of Ireland and Scotland. In other cities, real estate developers pay him a licensing fee to use his name and have responsibility for arranging security independently of Trump.

Additionally, DNAInfo has reported on an idea to float gold pig balloons in the Chicago River which would obscure the Trump name on the side of the building.

A Chicago architect wants to hide the massive Trump Tower sign with a row of strategically placed flying golden pigs, a display aimed at providing “visual relief to the citizens of Chicago.”

The idea, a self-described “folly” from Jeffrey Roberts at Chicago-based New World Design Ltd., isn’t part of a formal proposal, but his renderings of “flying pig” balloons tethered to the Chicago River aim to address Chicago’s objections to the tower’s 20-foot-tall letters, which were in place long before the real estate mogul was a contender for the presidency.

See the artist renderings of the pigs at this link.

There’s no plan to actually go through with this but it is one of many ideas that have been thrown around about Trump Tower Chicago in recent weeks.

Are all these issues a distraction for buyers or will they be a non-event in a few months after Trump takes office?

Lina Shah at Coldwell Banker has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #74G: 1 bedroom, 1.5 baths, 1314 square feet

  • Sold in April 2013 for $680,000 (no parking included)
  • Originally listed in January 2016 for $1,050,000 (no parking)
  • Currently still listed for $1,050,000 (no parking)
  • Assessments of $1042 a month (includes a/c, gas, doorman, cable/internet, exercise room, pool, exterior maintenance, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $15,834
  • Central Air
  • Washer/dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom: 14×16
  • Den: 8×10


Looking for a Gold Coast Pied-a-terre? A 1-Bedroom at 20 E. Goethe


This 1-bedroom at 20 E. Goethe in the Gold Coast recently came on the market.

It is a vintage 700 square foot apartment with exposed brick walls.

The listing says it is “turnkey” with some of the designer furnishings available for purchase.

It has refinished hardwood floors.

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

There’s a dining room space and a separate den.

There’s no central air, no washer/dryer in the unit and no parking.

But it is in the heart of the Gold Coast, just a short stroll from the new Restoration Hardware Gallery store and restaurant as well as the other amenities of the Gold Coast.

Is this a perfect Gold Coast pied-a-terre?

Kate Rizzo at Keller Williams Premiere has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #303: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 700 square feet

  • Sold in August 1999 for $135,000
  • Sold in March 2002 for $155,000
  • Sold in August 2014 for $221,500
  • Currently listed for $234,900
  • Assessments of $287 a month (includes exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $2136
  • No central air- window units only
  • No washer/dryer in the unit- but coin laundry in the building
  • Bedroom: 14×13
  • Living room: 12×11
  • Dining room: 16×10
  • Den: 9×7
  • Kitchen: 9×5

Market Conditions: Is Chicago the Perfect Second Home City?


The Chicago Tribune recently reported on people who keep second homes in Chicago.

Some used to live here and simply kept their apartments.

Others buy because Chicago has great restaurants, museums and culture and it’s still affordable compared to “comparable” large cities with the same amenities.

O’Hare Airport, and its many international routes, doesn’t hurt either.

The Gold Coast used to be the most in-demand area for pied-a-terres, Malkin said. But she added that River North is also popular, as are areas near Grant Park that are walking distance from museums and summer concerts.

Liz Brooks, vice president of sales and marketing for developer Belgravia Group, said many out-of-state apartment owners live in driving-distance states like Michigan.

“They come in with friends and relatives to entertain or for a quick weekend getaway,” she said.

One couple, for example, has a home in Ann Arbor, Mich., but keeps an apartment to visit their son and grandchildren in Lincoln Square. Another couple’s primary home is in Houston, yet one spouse regularly travels to Amsterdam and often stays in Chicago.

Pied-a-terres vary from a one-bedroom to apartments with extra bedrooms to entertain family for the holidays.

Key on the second-home shopping list? Amenities and a management company to take care of anything that needs fixing. For example, when a toilet exploded in Jones’ apartment.

“When you’re not living there on a full-time basis, it’s rather nerve-wracking,” Jones said. “What if there’s a leak going on, and you don’t find it until you go home weeks after it started?”

Some even come to stay during the, gasp, winter.

Joe Hanauer lived in Chicago for decades before moving to Laguna Beach, Calif., in the 1980s.

He and his spouse often returned, staying in hotels.

“We recognized how much we missed Chicago,” he said. “Not just because we have a lot of friends, but also the culture, the feeling of the city.”

So 15 years ago, they bought a two-bedroom condo at the Drake Tower on East Lake Shore Drive. Hanauer had always loved the view of the city from that street, and its walking distance to downtown hot spots.

Ahead of visits, they call Treasure Island and get groceries delivered, which building personnel stock in the refrigerator.

When winter strikes, they love the convenience of simply walking downstairs to dine.

Now, unable to travel as often, the Hanauers have put the condo up for sale.

Over the years on Crib Chatter, many commenters have noted that Chicago is “cheap” compared to [fill in the blank]: New York, Washington DC, London, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco etc.

Is Chicago the best deal in the country for high rise living?

Is the Gold Coast still the place to be or will Streeterville, River North or even the South Loop eventually take the second home crown?

Chicago’s diverse appeal as a second home city [Chicago Tribune, by Alison Bowen, November 30, 2016]


Affordable Bucktown? A 2-Bedroom at 2110 W. North Avenue for Under $300,000


This 2-bedroom at 2110 W. North Avenue in Bucktown just came on the market.

This complex of 38 units in a cluster of midrises was built in 1910.

The listing says this unit has been “recently remodeled.”

It has crown molding and new light fixtures along with a fireplace.

The kitchen has dark wood cabinets, granite counter tops and white appliances.

There’s also a dining room and recessed balcony.

It has the features buyers look for including central air and a new bosch washer/dryer. There’s no parking but the complex is just a block away from the Damen blue line stop.

This unit is in the heart of all of Bucktown and Wicker Park’s shopping and restaurants.

At $299,000, is this a deal for the neighborhood?

Hunter Andre at Coldwell Banker has the listing. See the pictures and the floor plan here.

Unit #2N: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 1060 square feet

  • Sold in September 1994 for $89,500
  • Sold in November 1996 for $85,000
  • Currently listed for $299,000
  • Assessments of $253 a month (includes exterior maintenance, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $3403
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • No parking
  • Bedroom #1: 14×12
  • Bedroom #2: 10×9
  • Dining room: 13×9

Get a 2-Bedroom Townhouse in Southport for Under $380,000: 1125 W. Newport


This 2-bedroom townhouse at 1125 W. Newport in the Southport neighborhood of Lakeview came on the market in October 2016.

This townhouse association was built in 1995 and has 25 units.

The townhouse is 3-levels with direct access to a one-car garage.

At 1300 square feet, the living/dining and kitchen are on the second floor, along with a half bath, while the 2 bedrooms and the full bathroom are on the third floor.

The kitchen has maple cabinets, stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops.

It has the central air and a balcony off the living room.

It’s just a few blocks from the shops and restaurants on Southport, as well as the Brown Line El stop, and is also just a few blocks from Wrigley Field.

The townhouse has been reduced $10,000 to $379,000.

Is this a good starter home for someone who wants levels and a private garage in this red hot neighborhood?

Mark Jak at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit M: 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, 1300 square feet, 1 car attached garage

  • Sold in July 2001 for $349,500 (per Redfin because the ccrd was down)
  • Sold in July 2006 for $422,500 (per Redfin because the ccrd was down)
  • Originally listed in October 2016 for $389,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $379,000
  • Assessments of $195 a month (includes exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $5881
  • Central Air
  • Skylights
  • Bedroom #1: 14×11 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 11×10 (third floor)

Inspired By France in the Gold Coast: A 3-Bedroom at 65 E. Goethe


This 3-bedroom at 65 E. Goethe in the Gold Coast came on the market in May 2016.

The building was designed by Lucien LaGrange and was inspired by French architecture.

It was constructed in 2000 and has just 15 units. The building has lake views and a rooftop garden along with parking.

This unit is larger than many single family homes in the neighborhood at 5200 square feet.

It has north, east and west facing views which includes views of Lake Michigan.

The unit has a DeGuilio kitchen with light wood cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

The master bath is a retreat with a steam shower and bench.

There is a Parenti and Raffaelli paneled library, family room and office. There are also Birger Juell wood floors throughout the kitchen, laundry room, bar area and living room.

The unit has central air and 2-car parking is included.

The building has a 24-hour doorman.

It hasn’t been reduced since it was listed in May. The property is still listed at $6.2 million.

With the stock market soaring, is the upper bracket about to get hot again?


Helaine Cohen at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #4N: 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2 half baths, 5200 square feet, 2 car parking

  • Sold in October 2004 for $3.5 million
  • Originally listed in May 2016 for $6.2 million
  • Currently still listed for $6.2 million (includes the parking)
  • Assessments of $7,147 a month (includes gas, doorman, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $51,653
  • Central Air
  • Washer/dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 17×17
  • Bedroom #2: 15×11
  • Bedroom #3: 10×11
  • Laundry room: 15×8
  • Library: 13×9
  • Family room: 19×17

This Foreclosed Lincoln Park Townhouse Has Been Reduced: 1009 W. Dickens


This 1-bedroom townhouse at 1009 W. Dickens in Lincoln Park came on the market in October 2016.

It is bank owned and being sold “as-is.”

The picture above is of unit 1003 W. Dickens which we chattered about in 2012 when it was also bank owned. This is a group of 6 townhouses.

See that chatter here.

The listing says it “needs TLC.”

The kitchen, however, looks intact with white cabinets, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

There are two bathrooms and the pictures also indicate that those are mostly intact.

It has central air and a 1-car garage.

The bedroom is on the third floor with a family room on the second floor.

There is also a basement.

This townhouse is just a block away from the Armitage brown line stop and all the shops and restaurants on that street.

Originally listed for $419,900, it has been reduced to $399,900.

Is this a deal?

Liam O’Brien at Robert Anthony Real Estate has the listing. See the pictures here.

1009 W. Dickens: 1 bedroom, 2 baths, 1222 square feet

  • Original sale was prior to 1992 but CCRD doesn’t have a sales price
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in February 2012
  • Bank owned in February 2016
  • Originally listed “as-is” in October 2016 for $419,900
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $399,900 (includes 1-car garage)
  • Assessments of $8 a month (or the listing says $100 yearly– although the other Dickens townhouse listing in 2012 said they were $100 a month. Who knows?)
  • Taxes of $6305
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom: 15×14 (third floor)
  • Family room: 15×10 (second floor)
  • Basement

Vintage/Mid-Century Mix Sells and Returns to the Market: 456 W. Belden in Lincoln Park


This vintage 6-bedroom single family home at 456 W. Belden in Lincoln Park came on the market in September 2016.

If it looks familiar, that’s because we chattered about it a year ago, in November 2015. See that chatter here.

If you recall, the house was built in 1880 (although the current listing says 1895) on a larger than standard corner Chicago lot of 50×130.

The house is landmarked.

From the outside, it looks like a standard vintage home from this period with brick, big windows and high ceilings.


According to prior listing, when it was bought in the 1960s, the house was in derelict condition. The seller brought in mid-century modern architect Harry Weese to handle the interior renovations.

The result is a mid-century modern interior with the original stain glass windows, pocket shutters, doors and 7 restored wood burning fireplaces (yes 7!).

In our prior chatter last year, the listing had just one picture of the kitchen and none of the bathrooms. The current listing actually has some of the bathrooms.

The kitchen has white cabinets and appliances.

The top 3 floors measure 5400 square feet and there is a lower level 3 bedroom, 2 bath rental apartment of 2200 square feet. It could also be combined with the main house for a total of 7600 square feet.

The house has central air and a 2-car garage along with an elevator.

I originally saw this listing and thought it was a “re-list” of the original listing, which came on the market in June 2015.

But this is a new listing, as the home actually sold in June 2016 for $2.725 million, which was $1.235 million below the original June 2015 listing price of $3.96 million.

It hadn’t been on the market for 50 years before the recent sale.

Will this house now sell twice within the same year?

Katherine Malkin at Baird & Warner now has the listing (Jennifer Ames had the prior listing). See the current listing pictures here.

456 W. Belden: 6 bedrooms, 5 full baths, 2 half baths, 7600 square feet in total, 2 car garage

  • Last sold in the 1960s (price is unknown)
  • Originally listed in June 2015 for $3.96 million
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in November 2015 at $3.395 million
  • Sold in June 2016 for $2.725 million
  • Re-listed in September 2016 for $2.995 million
  • Currently still listed at $2.995 million
  • Taxes are now $31,371 (they were $26,817 in November 2015)
  • Central Air
  • 7 original wood burning fireplaces (check out those mantles!)
  • 2200 square foot lower level rental unit with 5400 square foot main living space
  • Stained glass
  • Pocket shutters
  • Bedroom #1: 14×14 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 14×15 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 13×15 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 17×11 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #5: 11×9 (lower level)
  • Bedroom #6: 11×9 (lower level)
  • Study: 12×10 (second floor)

Market Conditions: Chicago October Home Sales At 5 Year Low


We’ve already been chattering about how slow the fall has been in Chicago real estate.

The official October sales numbers are now out from the Illinois Association of Realtors and sales fell to a 5 year low:

The city of Chicago saw an 8.8 percent year-over-year home sales decrease in October 2016 with 1,981 sales, down from 2,173 in October 2015. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in October 2016 was $262,000, up 9.2 percent compared to October 2015 when it was $240,000.

Thanks to G for all the data on October sales going back to 1997:

October Chicago sfh/condo/th sales and median

  • 1997 1,731 $129,900
  • 1998 1,855 $138,000
  • 1999 1,978 $159,500
  • 2000 2,106 $174,710
  • 2001 2,177 $200,000
  • 2002 2,503 $215,000
  • 2003 2,996 $236,000
  • 2004 2,651 $241,000
  • 2005 2,846 $268,500
  • 2006 2,630 $278,000
  • 2007 2,007 $285,000
  • 2008 1,564 $261,000
  • 2009 2,068 $215,000
  • 2010 1,225 $183,000
  • 2011 1,324 $162,000 (44% short/REO sales)
  • 2012 2,009 $175,000
  • 2013: 2,231 $218,500
  • 2014: 2,128 $236,000
  • 2015: 2,173 $240,000
  • 2016: 1,981 $262,000

“Although the autumn market’s pace is reduced compared to the summer months, great opportunities to buy and sell property remain,” said Matt Silver, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and partner at Urban Real Estate. “As long as the low inventory continues, strategically priced properties will continue to fly off the market at higher prices.”

“No doubt that the election contributed to a decline in sales, but prices continue to grow,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “For the next three months, price growth is anticipated to be a little stronger.  Declining supply contributes some uncertainty to sales growth.”

Mortgage rates in October averaged 3.47% for the 30-year fixed, down from 3.78% in October 2015. So mortgage rates were not an issue in the slowdown in sales.

Statewide, sales also declined. The IAR blamed it on tight inventory which dropped 14.7% year over year. Average time on the market statewide dropped to 60 days from 69 days.

Nationwide, October existing home sales were the opposite of what happened in Illinois. They were the highest in 9 years.

What is keeping sales down in Chicago?

Was it really uncertainty over the election?

Illinois home prices show solid gains in October; Sales decline [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, November 22, 2016]