The Elusive “True” Lincoln Square 2-Bedroom Condo: 2238 W. Wilson

This 2-bedroom top floor unit at 2238 W. Wilson in Lincoln Square recently came on the market.

If you’ve noticed a dearth of posts about this neighborhood, you would be correct because I haven’t covered anything close to the Western Brown Line stop in Lincoln Square in years.

Inventory has completely dried up in an area that was once the hotbed of condo conversions.

That makes this 2-bedroom with deeded parking a hot commodity.

It is right in the heart of what most people consider to be “real” Lincoln Square- near the shops and restaurants on Lincoln and near the Brown Line.

The south facing unit has features buyers look for including in-unit washer/dryer but it doesn’t have central air. There are window units however.

The kitchen has maple cabinets, white appliances and a tile backsplash.

It has been listed $12,500 under the 2007 purchase price at $275,000.

Will this sell for over the list?

Robert Munds at Jameson Sotheby’s has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3S: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, no square footage listed

  • Sold in February 2001 for $180,000
  • Sold in June 2004 for $258,500
  • Sold in September 2007 for $287,500
  • Currently listed at $275,000
  • Assessments of $300 a month
  • Taxes of $3790
  • No central air- window units only
  • In-unit washer/dryer
  • Deeded parking
  • Bedroom #1: 14×12
  • Bedroom #2: 11×10
  • Living room: 14×14
  • Kitchen: 11×8

Market Conditions: What’s Up With the Ritz? 664 N. Michigan in River North

118 e erie

It has been one of the most anticipated buildings to begin closings since the real estate bust.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences at 664 N. Michigan in River North finally began closings in February 2013 after several delays.

Only if you looked at public records, it seemed as if nothing was closing despite the fact that, apparently at one point, nearly 40% of the building was pre-sold.

Crain’s Reports:

Thirty-one buyers who agreed to purchase a condo in the 89-unit project at 664 N. Michigan Ave. dropped their sales contracts in the first quarter, according to Chicago consulting firm Appraisal Research Counselors. The development, which began marketing in 2006, had just 11 sales under contract at the end of the quarter.

Apparently, country records show just 5 condos have closed since February. Prism, the developer, says 8 sales have closed and “many” of the pending buyers who backed out of contracts are now “displaying interest” in the tower again.

“The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Chicago is also experiencing a significant increase in both broker interest and direct buyer traffic due to the recovering economy and widely reported upswing in the luxury housing market,” the spokesman said in the statement.

It’s unclear how the buyers got out of their contracts. Purchase contracts for new condos often allow buyers to back out and get their earnest money back if the developer fails to complete their units by a certain deadline. A buyer who had a contract on a $1.7 million Ritz condo sued last fall to get his earnest money back, citing repeated delays in the project. Cook County court records show the case has been dismissed.

Though housing is recovering, the comeback has been driven from the bottom of the market rather than the top, said Jim Kinney, vice president of luxury sales at Baird & Warner Inc. Ultra-luxury buyers such as Kenneth Griffin have made recent big splashes, but homes worth $1 million or more failed to keep pace with the broader market last year.

That could be problematic for the Ritz, which at $1,200 per square foot is the most expensive active condo development in Chicago, according to Appraisal Research. The other two active luxury towers, Lincoln Park 2550 and the Trump International Hotel & Tower, asked $800 and $819 per square foot, respectively, for unsold condos in the first quarter.

“(The Ritz is) noticeably quite a bit more expensive, so you have to have someone who is really buying the brand,” Mr. Kinney said.

The assumption is that the luxury market is red hot.

But between The Ritz-Carlton Residences and Lincoln Park 2550, there is plenty of new construction luxury inventory.

Will we see price reductions on The Ritz and LP 2550 soon?

After delays, buyers back out of Ritz condo project [Crain's Chicago Business, David Lee Matthews, June 25, 2013]

Own a Piece of Chicago’s History From the 19th Century in Old Irving Park: 4362 W. Grace

This 5-bedroom historic house at 4362 W. Grace in Old Irving Park came on the market in April 2013.

For those who love history, this house is for you.

Built in 1856, it is on a 118×144 lot (or 5 1/2 city lots.)

It has a rare detached 3-car garage.

Most of its vintage features have been restored. It has crystal chandeliers, stained glass, arched doorways and leaded glass.

The house has central air and 3 fireplaces.

It has the preferred bedroom layout with 4 of the 5 bedrooms are on the second floor.

Originally listed for $1.79 million in April, it has been reduced $100,000.

What price will get the deal done on this house?

Debra Kaden at Prudential Rubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

4362 W. Grace: 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, no square footage listed, 3 car garage

  • I couldn’t find a prior price as the Recorder of Deeds couldn’t find the PIN but with all those lots maybe it has several PINs.
  • Originally listed in April 2013 for $1.79 million
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $1.69 million
  • Taxes of $12,669
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 21×18 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 11×14 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 15×12 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 16×13 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #5: 14×18 (main floor)


Another Summer Is Here and 919 W. Wisconsin Is Still On the Market

919 w wisconsin #1 approved

There are some properties that have been on and off the market nearly the entire time I’ve run this blog (which was started in 2007).

This 3-bedroom at 919 W. Wisconsin in Lincoln Park is one of them.

We last chattered about it in January of this year. See our chatter here.

But it was withdrawn and re-listed this spring for $179,000 more.

If you recall, this property has a unique outdoor space with multiple decks, a green house and gardens totaling 1144 square feet.

It also has 3356 square feet of living space on two levels, including a lower level recreation room.

The kitchen has stainless steel appliances. Despite it having a new agent, there are still no pictures of the bathrooms in the listing.

Built on a 25×73 lot, the property has windows on 3 sides, central air and 1-car garage parking with a parking pad for a second car.

It is apparently part of a 2-unit association.

There have been several lis pendens foreclosures filed on this property, the oldest being nearly 4 years ago.

The average time for a bank to repossession is 18 months in Cook County.

Will we still be chattering about this property in 2014?

Chaz Walters at Coldwell Banker now has the listing (Jenny Ames had it before). See the pictures (again) here.

919 W. Wisconsin: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 3356 square feet, 1 car garage

  • I couldn’t find a prior sales price but looks like it sold before 1989
  • Originally listed in October 2007 for $1.25 million
  • Reduced several times
  • Was listed in December 2008 at $999,970
  • Reduced
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in July 2009
  • Was listed in December 2009 at $935,000
  • Reduced
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in May 2010
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in June 2010
  • Was listed in January 2013 at $900,000
  • Price Raised
  • Currently listed at $1.079 million
  • Assessment now $202 a month (they were $182 a month in January 2013)
  • Taxes still $3808
  • Central Air
  • Greenhouse
  • Multiple decks – including a walkway that leads over the walled in garden
  • Bedroom #1: 11×18 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 11×12 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 10×12 (second floor)
  • Family room: 18×15 (lower level)

Looking for a Gold Coast 3-Bedroom With a Large Terrace? 849 N. Franklin

849 n franklin approved

This 3-bedroom in the Parc Chestnut at 849 N. Franklin in the Gold Coast just came on the market although it has been on and off the market since 2008.

3-bedroom units have surged in popularity because you have space for a family.

At 2500 square feet, this northeast facing corner unit has 2 master suites and a separate dining room.

The kitchen has stainless steel appliances.

The large, covered terrace has views of the John Hancock and downtown skyline.

It has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and 2-car tandem parking included.

In April 2012, this unit was listed as low as $800,000.

It has come back on the market at $875,000.

Will this unit finally sell in this hot market?

Barbara Griffin-Silz at Prudential Rubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1504: 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2500 square feet, 2 car tandem parking included

  • Sold in March 2007 for $834,500 (it doesn’t list the parking in the original sale so I’m not sure if this included it or not.)
  • Has been on and off the market since 2008
  • Was listed in April 2012 for $800,000
  • Currently listed for $875,000
  • Assessments of $1079 a month (includes heat, a/c, doorman, cable)
  • Taxes of $8297
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 18×13
  • Bedroom #2: 17×12
  • Bedroom #3: 13×12
  • Den: 12×10



Another Chance To Own an East Lincoln Park 3-Bedroom for Under $450,000: 437 W. Grant Place

419 w grant #1 approved

This 3-bedroom in The Portals, the complex of 3-bedroom duplexes at 437 W. Grant in East Lincoln Park, just came on the market.

We’ve discussed several of these units over the years.

They are popular due to their relative affordability and their location in “true” East Lincoln Park.

The complex was built in 1972. All the units are 3 bedroom duplex ups- with the bedrooms on the second level.

This listing doesn’t give square footage, but in the past, they were 1600 square feet.

This unit is also a little different from others we’ve seen in the complex as it has a coffered ceiling in the dining room and crown molding.

The kitchen has maple cabinets and black appliances.

It has central air and washer/dryer in the unit. The parking is an outdoor space.

During the bust, prices of these units fell, with many of them selling in the upper $300,000s but recently they’ve been selling in the low $400,000s.

Is this a complex where price appreciation has essentially maxed out, other than inflation, even in a housing recovery?

Steven Heilig at Baird & Warner has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #C: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, no square footage listed, duplex up

  • Sold in July 1989 for $355,000 (typo???)
  • Sold in May 1996 for $210,000
  • Sold in June 2009 for $415,000
  • Currently listed at $445,000
  • Assessments of $330 a month
  • Taxes of $4978
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • 1 car outdoor parking
  • Bedroom #1: 13×13 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 14×10 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 12×8 (second floor)


Looking for a Deal? Buy a 2-Flat in Humboldt Park for Under $35,000: 3278 W. Wabansia

This 4-bedroom 2-flat at 3278 W. Wabansia in Humboldt Park recently came on the market.

It is HUD-owned.

Built in 1886, it is a frame house on a standard 25×125 lot with a 2-car garage.

The units are configured as the following:

  • Unit #1: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath
  • Unit #2: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath

The listing says it has a full unfinished basement.

The house nearly next door at 3272 W. Wabansia has been listed since October 2012 for $195,000. See that listing here.

Is West Bucktown gentrification heading towards this neighborhood?

Does that make this property a deal?

Arthur Cirignani at Chicago Realty Partners has the listing. See the pictures here.

3278 W. Wabansia: 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2-flat, 2 car garage

  • Sold in October 2002 for $10,150
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in June 2009
  • HUD owned in May 2010
  • Currently listed for $33,355
  • Taxes of $3747
  • Escrow amount of $1870

Market Conditions: Sales Jump 30% in the Best May Since the Boom

The May sales data is out. It’s still red hot out there.

From the Illinois Association of Realtors:

The city of Chicago saw a 30 percent year-over-year home sales increase in May 2013 with 2,762 sales, up from 2,125 in May 2012. 

The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in May 2013 was $234,000 up 17 percent compared to May 2012 when it was $200,000. Chicago condo prices also saw double-digit gains for the month, posting a 10.8 percent jump to $274,000. Average time on market in the city was 53 days, down 32.1 percent compared to 78 days last May.

May sales:

  • May 2008: 2119 sales
  • May 2009: 1557 sales
  • May 2010: 2057 sales
  • May 2011: 1705 sales
  • May 2012: 2037 sales (not sure why the IAR has a higher number for 2012)
  • May 2013: 2762 sales

Median price data:

  • May 2008: $319,500
  • May 2009: $225,000
  • May 2010: $230,000
  • May 2011: $190,000
  • May 2012: $203,000
  • May 2013: $234,000

“May market data continues to affirm that we are on the right track, and excitement is growing within the real estate industry,” said REALTOR® Zeke Morris, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and Operating Principal and Managing Broker, Keller Williams Realty, CCG. “Recovery is uneven citywide, however. We still have concerns about some underperforming areas in Chicago. Home owners considering selling their homes should assess if today’s market is right for them. It could be a very good time to sell; in some communities, shorter market times paired with multiple offers make the climate ideal.”

“Another strong month for the housing market that, in some parts of the state, is showing very robust activity,” noted Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory of the University of Illinois. “All the indicators point to a strong three-month period of growth, even in median prices. Mortgage rates are starting to inch upwards but the rates are still attractive enough not to dampen the momentum.”

Will the hot market last until the fall or will higher mortgage rates put the damper on it later this summer?

May home sales up 24.4 percent from a year ago; Statewide median price at $155,000 [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, June 20, 2013]

We Love Loft Penthouses With Private Terraces: 3133 N. Lakewood in Lakeview

3133 n lakewood

This 3-bedroom penthouse loft at 3133 N. Lakewood in Lakeview just came on the market.

It has 15-foot ceilings and walls of windows with Southeast views of the city.

Is this an addition to the top of the building? It doesn’t have any of the features you’d find in an older loft building such as walls of exposed brick (there is one wall of bricks in one of the bedrooms but it doesn’t look like it is original to the building.)

It has luxury finishes in the kitchen including Viking and Bosch appliances.

There is a 40 foot private deck, along with 1-car parking.

The loft has other features buyers look for including a full-sized laundry room and central air.

It last sold just 3 years ago and has come on the market for $110,000 more.

Who’s the target market for a 3-bedroom Lakeview loft?

Michael LaRocque at Present Value Realty has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #PH-S: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1600 square feet

  • Sold in June 2008 for $600,000
  • Sold in June 2010 for $600,000
  • Currently listed for $710,000
  • Assessments of $289 a month
  • Taxes of $6913
  • Central Air
  • Laundry room: 8×8
  • Bedroom #1: 14×13
  • Bedroom #2: 16×10
  • Bedroom #3: 12×11


Market Conditions: Out of Town Developers Arrive to Build Apartments in the GreenZone

Crain’s reports on an Oregon developer that is going to build 2 apartment buildings in the GreenZone.

One will be in River North on land that was supposed to be a condo building before the bust and the second one will be near the Old Cabrini Green complex in Old Town.

The projects in River North and Old Town, which will cost about $147 million combined, are the first in the Midwest for Gerding Edlen, an office and apartment developer that has a strong concentration in western states and in recent years has ventured into the East Coast.

The firm formed a joint venture last month with Chicago developer Fred Latsko to build a 25-story tower with 188 units at 212-232 W. Illinois St., which valued the River North site at $12.5 million, according to Cook County records. Mr. Latsko, who bought the property near Gene & Georgetti restaurant for $9.5 million in 2008, according to county records, maintains sole control of a landmarked former firehouse on the western portion of the parcel at 228 W. Illinois, where he is expected to open a restaurant of about 5,000 square feet.

By the end of this year, Gerding Edlen plans to kick off an 18-story, 240-unit tower at 625 W. Division St. in Old Town, across the street from a Target store under construction on land that was once part of the Cabrini-Green public housing complex, Mr. Saito said.

Gerding Edlen bought that property for $5 million on March 14, county records show.

But are developers getting ahead of themselves? 5200 new apartments are now expected to come on line downtown in 2013 and 2014.

Gerding Edlen is doubling down in a new market that will soon be awash with new apartment towers. “After a strong 2012, new supply will put pressure on rents and occupancy from late-2013 through 2014,” according to Appraisal Research’s first-quarter report.

In River North, new projects in various stages of development could nearly double the current supply of about 2,700 units.

“On the one hand, we have measured concern about that,” Mr. Saito said. “On the other hand, that’s one of the things we liked about the deal with Fred — we can start right away, and we’ll be ahead of a lot of the buildings (planned) in River North.

“Compared to other cities of similar scale, (Chicago is) actually a pretty balanced market. In Seattle, on a relative basis there is a lot more construction currently. There are a lot of examples like that. For the moment, we feel good about the Chicago market.”

Are we at peak rents?

With all this supply expected to come on the market, will it be a renters market next year in downtown high rises?

Trail leads to Chicago for Oregon apartment developer [Crain's Chicago Business, Ryan Ori, June 19, 2013]