Will Chicago Save This 140-Year Old Gold Coast Workers Cottage From Demolition? 1241 N. State Parkway

1241 n state

This 2-bedroom worker’s cottage at 1241 N. State Parkway in the Gold Coast came on the market on June 2, 2016.

It is well known simply because of its location in the Gold Coast and the fact that it isn’t a big rowhouse but is a simple cottage.

The sale closed late last week.

Listed for $1.495 million, it sold for $1.5 million.

According to DNAinfo, the developer who is buying it has already filed for a demolition permit.

The cottage was built in 1872, just a year after the Great Chicago Fire. According to DNAinfo, it was built to house workers participating in the rebuilding of the city.

It is built on a smaller than standard lot of 22.5 x 150 but has a 2-car garage.

Measuring just 1072 square feet, both bedrooms are on the second floor.

The listing agent told DNAinfo the property was in bad shape:

It has vintage charm, but is also in “severe disrepair” and doesn’t have any kitchen appliances, co-listing agent Stefanie Lavelle of Coldwell Banker told DNAinfo Chicago last week. The home sits on an extra-long lot that could be developed or remain a nice backyard that’s rare in the neighborhood, she said.

The cottage “is a special place, but it’s sitting on a gold mine,” Lavelle said earlier this month. The home is being sold by the estate of a man who died last year.

This is the last remaining cottage in the neighborhood. It is located in the Gold Coast Historic District but that, apparently, isn’t enough to save it from demolition.

From DNAinfo:

The cottage is one of 9,600 buildings considered to have enough historical significance to warrant a 90-day demolition delay. That allows city officials time to explore alternatives, such as giving the home landmark protection.

The hold worked for three vintage buildings set to be demolished on nearby Bellevue Street two years ago when city officials ultimately convinced those developers to keep the properties intact.

Demolition alternatives are devised by the city’s department of planning and development, then relayed to the city’s commission on landmarks for consideration. Peter Strazzabosco, the city’s deputy commissioner of planning and development, declined to say whether the department would work to save the Gold Coast cottage.

Will this cottage be saved?

Should historic structures like this be landmarked or is a teardown simply progress?

C Bryce Fuller at Coldwell Banker had the listing. You can see the listing pictures here (no pictures of the interior but there are pictures of the backyard – which are interesting to see.)

1241 N. State Parkway: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 1072 square feet, 2 car garage

  • There’s no prior sales price. It was put into a Trust in 1994
  • There was no mortgage on the property
  • Originally listed on June 2, 2016 for $1.495 million
  • Sold on June 30, 2016 for $1.5 million
  • Filed for permit to demolish the cottage
  • Taxes of $5088
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 15×14 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 15×12 (second floor)
  • Living room: 30×13


7 Years Later, We’re Chattering About this Vintage Triplex Again: 1920 N. Seminary in Lincoln Park

1920 n seminary

This 3-bedroom triplex in the Seminary Flatirons building at 1920 N. Seminary in Lincoln Park just came on the market.

The Seminary Flatirons building is an 8-unit building constructed in 1883.

The listings for this unit from 2009 and 2010 said the building was on the National Register of Historic Places (and there is also a plaque on the building saying as much.)

If this building and unit looks familiar to some of you long time readers, that’s because we first chattered about it in 2009 and again in 2010 when it didn’t sell and was reduced.

You can check out the 2009 chatter here, where anon(tfo) and Homedelete get into an argument about whether or not this building is actually on the National Historic register (or if that plaque on the side of the building is fake) and Groove initially loved this unit but then decides they have included the rooftop deck in the square footage.

Good times in 2009.

This unit has vintage flair including 12 foot ceilings and exposed brick.

The kitchen still has the white cabinets it had in 2009/2010 but it now has stainless steel appliances and a white subway tile backsplash.

The main living area floors are also stained dark.

The three bedrooms are on the second floor with the laundry room and private rooftop deck on the third level.

It has the other modern features buyers look for including central air and garage parking.

This unit never sold in 2009/2010. It was on and off the market and finally sold in 2014 for $524,000.

2 years later it has come back on the market for 14.5% more at $599,900.

Will they get the premium?

Emily Sachs Wong at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #A: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, now 1600 square feet (was 1550 square feet in 2009)

  • Sold in March 1993 for $236,000
  • Sold in February 2001 for $385,000
  • Originally listed in August 2009 for $575,000 (parking included)
  • Reduced several times
  • Withdrawn
  • Re-listed in April 2014 for $539,000
  • Sold in June 2014 for $524,000
  • Currently listed at $599,900 (includes the garage parking)
  • Assessments now $343 a month (they were $312 a month in 2009) includes exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger
  • Taxes now $9148 (they were $5767 in 2009)
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 18×15 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 14×14 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 11×10 (second floor)
  • Laundry room: 12×7 (third floor)
  • Rooftop deck: 21×13

Sizzle! 3-Bedroom Duplex Price Jumps $375,000 in Under 3 Years in River North: 600 N. Kingsbury

600 n kingsbury

This 3-bedroom duplex up penthouse/townhouse at 600 N. Kingsbury in River North just came on the market.

It’s in the lower part of the building that is along the River and the park.

If this unit looks familiar it’s because we chattered about it in 2013.

See that chatter here (where HD wonders why this unit sells every 3 or 4 years…)

The living/dining and kitchen along with one bedroom are on the first floor with two other bedrooms on the second floor.

It has 2-story windows with views of the River.

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

The unit has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and it has a parking spot on the same level as the unit in the garage so there is no reason to use an elevator.

The listing says “aprox $150K in complete gut remodeling” but if you look at the pictures from the 2013 sale, the kitchen, baths and floors look the same.

In fact, it looks like some of the pictures in the current listing are actually pictures from the 2013 listing (as there was furniture in 2013.)

You can still see the 2013 listing pictures here.

At $935,000 including the parking, this unit is listed for $375,000 more than the 2013 sales price of $560,000.

The market is sizzling hot, but is it that hot?

Stella Tahrilova at Jameson Sotheby’s has the listing. See the current pictures here.

Unit #509: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2100 square feet, duplex up

  • Sold in October 2002 for $666,000 (included one parking space)
  • Sold in October 2006 for $647,500 (included 2 parking spaces)
  • Sold in September 2010 for $525,000 (included 2 parking spaces)
  • Sold in October 2013 for $560,000 (included 2 parking spaces)
  • Currently listed for $895,000 (plus $40,000 for 1 parking space)
  • Assessments of $996 a month (includes heat, a/c, doorman, cable, Internet, exercise room, outdoor pool, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger and snow removal)
  • Taxes of $9689
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 11×10 (main floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 13×11 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 13×10 (second floor)


Will Skybridge Become the Hottest Building in the West Loop? 737 W. Washington

737 w washington

This 2-bedroom in Skybridge at 737 W. Washington in the West Loop just came on the market.

Skybridge was built in 2003 and has 237 units. It won a bunch of design awards at the time of its construction.

It is the tallest building in the West Loop. The East side has views of the entire Loop while the west has views out to the suburbs.

This unit has east facing, or downtown city, views.

It has Brazilian hardwood floors in the living/dining area and carpeted bedrooms.

The kitchen has white cabinets and white appliances but it doesn’t look like there are granite counter tops.

It has all the features buyers look for including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and garage parking is included.

This building has a Whole Foods in its base and the Mariano’s is just across the street. You can stroll to the hot Fulton Market restaurants or Greek Town as well as Randolph Street.

With McDonald’s moving its corporate headquarters just a few blocks away, and very few high rises in this neighborhood, is Skybridge destined to become one of the West Loop’s hottest buildings?

Peter Fotopoulos at Dream Town has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1704: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1328 square feet

  • Sold in July 2003 for $350,000 (included the parking)
  • Sold in October 2004 for $365,000 (included the parking)
  • Sold in June 2008 for $424,000 – per Redfin (I couldn’t find this sale in the public records)
  • Currently listed at $499,000 (includes the parking)
  • Assessments of $641 a month (includes heat, a/c, parking, doorman, cable, exercise room, exterior maintenance, lawn service, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $4580
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 22×17
  • Bedroom #2: 15×11

Market Conditions: May Sales Jumped 5% to Highest Level in 9 Years

Fountain in Millennial Park August 2015

The Illinois Association of Realtors is out with the May housing sales data and it’s another hot month.

The city of Chicago saw a 5.0 percent year-over-year home sales increase in May 2016 with 2,887 sales, up from 2,750 in May 2015. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in May 2016 was $291,000, up 3.6 percent compared to May 2015 when it was $281,000.

May sales:

  • May 2008: 2119 sales
  • May 2009: 1557 sales
  • May 2010: 2057 sales
  • May 2011: 1705 sales
  • May 2012: 2037 sales
  • May 2013: 2834 sales
  • May 2014: 2453 sales
  • May 2015: 2750 sales
  • May 2016: 2887 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 2014: $269,250
  • May 2015: $281,000
  • May 2016: $291,000

“Sellers are still seeing healthy median price gains in the Chicago market, particularly in the single-family segment,” said Dan Wagner, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and senior vice president for government relations at the Oakbrook-based Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, Inc. “The 40 days it’s taking to sell a home in Chicago underscores the fast-moving nature of this market and shows that the city is powerfully attractive to buyers.”

The hot market isn’t limited to Chicago. Statewide, inventory continues to drop dramatically as does market times.

“Inventories continue to be tight across the state as buyers scour the market for deals,” said Mike Drews, GRI, Illinois REALTORS® president and broker-associate with Charles B. Doss & Co. in Aurora. “The pronounced demand we have seen for more than a year appears to be setting this selling season up to be one where homes go quickly and for more money, which is a huge advantage for sellers.”

The time it took to sell a home in May averaged 59 days, down from 70 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 62,445 homes for sale, a 15.3 percent decline from May 2015 when there were 73,724 homes on the market.

With these inventory numbers, why aren’t developers building more product?

Where are all the new condo towers?

There have been a few announced in recent months, but these are almost all exclusively at the luxury price point.

Will we see apartment towers converted into condos soon?

May brings strong growth to Illinois sales and prices [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, June 22, 2016]

A Loft With A Wrap Around Terrace and City Views: 900 N. Kingsbury in River North

900 n kingsbury #1

This 2-bedroom in the Domain Lofts at 900 N. Kingsbury in River North came on the market in January 2016. (I think this is a picture of the office part of the building- which houses Groupon and other businesses).

It’s a top floor loft with exposed concrete beams and columns along with exposed ductwork.

The ceilings look like they’re finished with drywall, however.

There is a 1400 square foot wrap-around terrace that is accessible from all rooms which has views of the entire city skyline.

The bedrooms are both massive in size with the master suite having its own sitting area.

The kitchen appears to have maple cabinets, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

There’s central air, washer/dryer in the unit and 2 garage parking spaces are available for $30,000 each.

What’s keeping this from selling in this hot market?

Susan Miner at Premier Relocation has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1078: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2500 square feet

  • Sold in July 2004 for $954,000 (included the two parking spaces)
  • Listed in January 2016 for $1.4 million (parking is $30,000 extra for each space- with 2 spaces available)
  • Still listed at $1.4 million
  • Assessments of $1470 a month (includes heat, a/c, gas, wifi, cable, doorman, lawn care, exterior maintenance, scavenger)
  • Taxes of $10406
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 17×24
  • Bedroom #2: 16×24
  • Terrace: 76×11


The Flips Are Back! A 3-Bedroom Basecamp Rowhouse at 459 W. Hobbie in Old Town

This 3-bedroom rowhouse in the newly built Basecamp River North development at 459 W. Hobbie in Old Town just came on the market.

It’s so new, I don’t yet have a picture of these rowhouses.

I debated what neighborhood to put this in as the original advertising for this development WAS called “Basecamp River North” but this listing says this is Old Town. I might have even called it Gold Coast.

It is north of Chicago Avenue but south of Division. It’s near the Old Town developments so I’m calling it Old Town.

This was a Ranquist and CMK development of 47 rowhouses. It sold out quickly about a year ago.

Construction has finished and they are closing now.

This is the first re-sale that I have seen come on the market.

It has two-levels with a 2-car attached garage on a 21×59 lot.

There is Italian Archisesto kitchen and baths.

It has polished and heated concrete floors on the main level with floor to ceiling windows.

This has the preferred townhouse layout with a half bath on the main level so you don’t have to go up the stairs to the bathroom.

All three bedrooms are on the second floor along with a media room.

Zillow and Redfin are saying this unit closed for $730,760.

It has come on the market at $919,000.

I haven’t seen a true “flip” since 2007-2008, i.e. where there was no renovation and no one has lived in the property.

If you missed out on buying one of these from the developer, will you pay an extra $188,240 to buy it now?

Katharine Waddell at Jameson Sothebys has the listing. See the pictures here.

459 W. Hobbie: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, no square footage listed, 2 car garage

  • Sold in May 2015 for $730,760 (according to Zillow/Redfin)
  • Currently listed for $919,000
  • Assessments of $233 a month (for lawn care, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes are “new”
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 18×13 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 10×11 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 10×11 (second floor)
  • Media room: 18×13 (second floor)

Looking for Glass and Steel and 4-Bedrooms in River North? 747 N. Clark

747 n clark

This 4-bedroom in the modern boutique building at 747 N. Clark in River North came on the market in September 2015.

Constructed in 2013, after the housing bust, it has just 6 units.

Made of steel and glass, it has an extra wide interior that is 38 feet.

There is a private elevator into the unit and two balconies.

It has all the features buyers look for in “new” contemporary design construction including 10-foot floor-to-ceiling windows.

The kitchen has rustic modern Zecchinon cabinets, and luxury appliances and fixtures by Wolf, Subzero, Bosch and Gaggenau along with Ann Sacks tile.

The island is 10 feet long.

The bathrooms have Italian porcelain tile.

There’s garage parking, central air and washer/dryer in the unit.

4-bedrooms are rare in River North.

Yet, this unit has been on and off the market since last September.

Why isn’t this selling?

KC Lau at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #601: 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2580 square feet

  • Sold in March 2014 for $1.314 million (doesn’t appear to include the parking spot)
  • Originally listed in September 2015 for $1.7 million (not sure if this included the parking)
  • Reduced (?)
  • Currently listed at $1.65 million (plus $50,000 for parking = $1.7 million)
  • Assessments of $741 a month (includes exterior maintenance, scavenger and snow removal)
  • Taxes of $18,825
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 15×14
  • Bedroom #2: 15×13
  • Bedroom #3: 15×11
  • Bedroom #4: 12×10

Market Conditions: Who’s Going to Rent All These Apartments in Downtown Chicago?

New apartment building on Clark and Chicago June 19, 2016

It seems that several times a month there are announcements for new apartment buildings all over the Green Zone, and sometimes, even outside of the Green Zone.

Last week, Lennar announced yet another new building, this time in River North.

The bulging pipeline of new apartments in River North is swelling a little bit more.

Lennar plans a 180-unit project on a site it’s buying at 675 N. Wells St., according to a marketing flier for the development’s retail space and people familiar with Lennar’s plans.

The Miami-based builder is stepping into a development hot spot, pouncing on a site with nearly 1,000 apartments under construction within a two-block radius. Just to the south, Magellan Development Group is building a 450-unit tower set to open next year.

The downtown apartment market is the strongest it has been in decades— rents hit another high in the first quarter—but surging supply could test that strength in the next few years. Developers will complete 4,000 downtown apartments this year and another 4,400 in 2017, according to Appraisal Research Counselors, a Chicago-based consulting firm.

The developers keep insisting that all is well in the apartment leasing market and that there isn’t over supply.

Here are two of the other apartment buildings going up on the same block that Lennar will be building on.

New apartment buildings on Wells June 19, 2016

Chicago developer Jim Letchinger, of JDL Development, is building luxury condos as well as apartment high rises.

He just announced a proposal for a new 94-unit condo building in the West Loop at Jefferson and Fulton where 2-bedroom units will start at $800,000.

JDL is one of the few downtown residential developers building condos these days. Developers completed just 191 condos and town homes in downtown Chicago in 2015 and are expected to complete 120 this year, according to Appraisal Research Counselors, a Chicago-based consulting firm. Before the condo market crashed, developers easily added more than 2,000 units to the downtown market every year.

The residential market has flipped over since then: After completing nearly 2,600 downtown apartments last year, developers are on pace to add 4,000 this year and 4,400 in 2017, according to Appraisal Research. Before 2008, they rarely built 1,000 units a year.

If an apartment glut is on the horizon, Letchinger isn’t seeing it yet. Leasing began in March at his South Loop project, and the building is almost 50 percent leased—such a fast pace “I can’t believe it,” he said.

We heard similar statements from condo developers in 2007, just before the market went bust.

A mid-rise at 707 N. Wells called The Hensley, has already completed construction. It’s the building in the middle in this picture below.

That’s another new apartment high rise going up just next to and behind it. It is replacing the old Howard Johnson motel.

707 n wells

It’s marketing slogan is:

“Because you’ve waited long enough”

A quick look at the prices comes up with these:

  • A 4th floor 1-bedroom with 824 square feet for $2700 a month
  • A 5th floor 2/2 with 959 square feet for $3350 a month
  • A 5th floor 2/2 with 1027 square feet for $3690 a month

While no one is moaning the loss of surface parking lots in the western portion of River North, just who is actually renting in all of these buildings?

Are developers building too late in the economic cycle?

Or is the job market hot enough that all these luxury apartments will be absorbed?

Lennar adds another 180 apartments to River North building boom [Crain’s Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, June 15, 2016]

27-story condo tower planned for West Loop [Crain’s Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, June 15, 2016]

The Hensley (website)


This 1-Bedroom in Streeterville Doesn’t Meet Redfin’s Minimum Pricing Rule: 230 E. Ontario

230 e ontario

This 1-bedroom in 230 E. Ontario in Streeterville just came on the market.

The building was built in 1969 and has 144 units.

In the listing on Redfin there was this clause in the column to the right of the pictures of the property that said:

Below Minimum Price
Please contact the listing agent directly to see this home or learn more:
Jennifer Ames 312-XXX-7525
Coldwell Banker Residential
To ensure every client gets the highest level of Redfin service during strong demand, Redfin is currently unable to service this property

You can click on a link to “learn more details” and it turns out that Redfin can’t help you if the price is too low.

Does Redfin have a minimum price limit?

Yes, though this price will vary depending on which part of the country you’re in. If you’re interested in a home with a list price under our minimum price, we’ll connect you to a local partner agent who can help you tour the home and make an offer.

This one bedroom has a wall of sunny, south facing windows.

It has carpet throughout the main living areas.

The kitchen has white cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

The bedroom has an open wall to the living room but the listing says there is a curtain on a floating track if you want privacy.

The unit has central air but no in-unit washer/dryer. Parking is leased in the building.

However, this is a full service building with a doorman, a rooftop outdoor pool and an exercise room.

230 e ontario pool

Has anyone ever run across this minimum pricing limit in the Green Zone before?

Is Redfin just so busy it can’t help you with certain listings?

Jennifer Ames at Coldwell Banker has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1804: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 675 square feet

  • Sold in June 2004 for $140,000 (per Zillow)
  • Currently listed for $169,500
  • Assessments of $579 a month (includes heat, a/c, doorman, cable, exercise room, scavenger and pool)
  • Taxes of $2521
  • Central Air
  • No in-unit washer/dryer- laundry room is in the building
  • Leased parking (not sure how much that is)
  • Bedroom: 12×11
  • Livingroom: 20×12