Steals and Deals: Update on 3180 N. Lake Shore Drive

Only a few weeks ago I chattered about this 3 bedroom, 2 bath unit at 3180 N. Lake Shore Drive that had a Craigslist ad stating that it was $191k below market.



Unit #4A: 3 bedrooms,  2.5 baths, 1800 square feet

  • Sold in November 2004 for $283,000
  • Listed in January 2005 for $519,900
  • Listed in January 2006 for $515,000
  • Listed in April 2007 for $570,000
  • Then reduced to $399,900 by mid-January 2008
  • Assessments of $1,169 a month

It’s still on the market and it’s had another price reduction. 

It also has another Craigslist ad.

  • Now currently listed for $384,900

Thomas Hall at Rubloff still has the listing.   

It would seem that is now over $200k “below market.”  Stay tuned.

The Sizzle: 55 E. Erie still has “It”

I talk a lot about condos that aren’t selling here in Chicago, but how about some that are?

55 E. Erie in River North, completed in 2003, is a very popular building with the upper crust set.  Expensive units have always sold well in the building.


Thanks to the Tipster who recently sent me information about two condos in the upper bracket that recently went under contract.

Unit #2105: 3 bedroom, 3 baths, 2384 square feet

  • Sold in March 2004 for $912,500
  • Listed for $1.275 million
  • Listing says it “Sold Before Print” (when was the last time you saw that???)
  • Assessments of $848 a month
  • Keller Williams Gold Coast had the listing

A large penthouse unit also just went under contract.





Unit #5501: 3 bedrooms,  3 baths, 2 car parking (included), 4165 square feet

  • Sold in June 2004 for $2.37 million
  • Originally listed in September 2007 at $3.875 million
  • Currently listed at $3.65 million
  • On the market for 198 days
  • Listing says “Never Lived In”
  • Assessment of $2254 a month
  • Vangel Realty has the listing

Despite the sizzle with some of the more expensive units, a few of the lower priced units I chattered about in November are still on the market, including this 2 bedroom, 2 bath unit.

It has seen another price reduction since I last chattered about it:




Unit #2202: 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 1400 square feet

  • Sold in December 2003 for $581,903
  • Sold in January 2006 for $710,000
  • Was listed in November 2007 for $729,000 plus $50,000 for the parking
  • Currently listed for $714,000 plus $45,000 for parking
  • Assessments of $613 a month
  • Rubloff has the listing

What’s a Reduction? Chaplin’s Penthouse in The Brewster

Two weeks ago I chattered about Charlie Chaplin’s penthouse unit at the historic Brewster, at 2800 N. Pine Grove in Lakeview and its fantastic outdoor terrace.



This week, there is an ad on Craiglist touting a price reduction:

Unit #PHA: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2200 square feet

  • Was listed for $597,000
  • Now listed for $585,000

In this type of market, what kind of reduction actually works to move a property?

The unit last sold in June 2005 for $545,000.

Update on the Vintage Duplex at 3619 N. Wilton in Lakeview

It seems that some sellers are starting to get a bit more aggressive with their listing price now that February has arrived.  February traditionally kicks off the Chicago selling season.

In December 2007, I chattered about a vintage duplex at 3619 W. Wilton in Lakeview that had been on the market for awhile and had several price reductions.  According to this Craigslist ad, it was just reduced again.




3619 W. Wilton #1: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, duplex down

  • Sold in July 2001 for $410,000
  • Listed in December 2007, with a recent price reduction, for $499,000
  • Now listed at $485,000
  • Two car tandem parking included
  • Assessments of $154 a month
  • NOT on the El side of the street

Carol Duran at Rubloff has the listing.

A Tale of Two Lakeview McMansions: 336 and 338 W Oakdale

Two brand new McMansions are on the market in East Lakeview at 336 and 338 W. Oakdale.  You can see both of them in this picture below.  338 W. Oakdale is on the left, with the curved front door.


Both are 7 bedrooms, 5 full baths and 2 half baths with 3 car garages.  Both are 8,000 square feet.

It’s a sign of the times that 336 W Oakdale (on the right in the picture) has been on the market on and off since May 2006.  This spring, it will have been for sale for two years.






336 W Oakdale:

  • Originally listed in May 2006 for $4 million
  • Currently listed for $3,499,900
  • Sudler Sothebys has the listing






338 W. Oakdale:

  • Originally listed in December 2007 for $3.799 million
  • Sudler Sothebys has the listing

According to the listing, 338 W. Oakdale differs slightly from its next door neighbor in that it has a spa with an indoor swimming pool.

Tribune: It’s a Buyer’s Market for Condos Downtown

The Chicago Tribune addresses what we’ve been chattering about for several months: it’s a buyer’s market for condos downtown.

In “Rising Expectations,” buyers and developers discuss the incentives that are being offered to move product as the market has slowed. They interview a 20-something  looking for a “deal.”

With sales down sharply in 2007 but the supply of new units slated to rise dramatically, many developers are encountering house shoppers like Nirali Shah, a 29-year-old pathologist assistant.

While eyeing a Streeterville high-rise with lake views, this first-time buyer says she won’t commit to purchasing a condominium unless the developer gets into a bargaining mood.

“I’m waiting for the seller to bring down the price at least 10 percent, to include a $65,000 parking space or a year of free assessments,” said Shah, who is prepared to spend about $650,000 for a newly built unit.

“It’s a buyer’s market,” she said with assurance.

Here are the stats:

  • 6,274 new units will be completed this year,  a 50 percent increase over 2006 completions and 100 percent more than 2005
  • 1,326 of the 6,274 units are unsold.  According to the Tribune, a unit is considered sold when the buyer puts down a deposit and signs an agreement.
  • Through the third quarter of 2007, new downtown condo sales were down 35% (wonder why we haven’t seen the fourth quarter numbers yet?)

We know that these stats are a little misleading. Flippers have bought at least 20% (maybe as high as 30% or 40% in some buildings) so that will skew these numbers. I would estimate the “true” number of unsold units is more likely 2,800 units as at least 30% will be coming back on the market as flips.

Developers are apparently trying to reassure buyers:

“There remains a reluctance to make a decision primarily because buyers fear the market will crash, harming their number one investment,” said Ron Shipka, Jr., president of The Enterprise Companies, a Chicago-based developer with six downtown projects under way.

He tries to reassure consumers by showing them that since early 2007 re-sold units in Enterprise buildings have appreciated in value. His company also offers $5,000 to $7,000 in upgraded finishes for new projects.

Incentives are the name of the game. There are going to be freebies given out everywhere. At the minimum, buyers should be asking for free parking.

One recent study by Chicago Agent magazine found that 71 percent of developers interviewed said they intend to offer upgrades, 52 percent will offer agent incentives and 48 percent mortgage assistance.

Meanwhile, 65 percent said they would offer a combination of incentives.

What is a good incentive or a reduction? Is it upgrading the kitchen cabinets? Is it installing marble floors in the bathrooms? Is it free parking? Or is simply giving the buyer $5,000 enough?

At the Streeterville high-rise that attracted the interest of Shah, Park View at River East, other buyers are signing contracts with incentives that amount to $5,000 to $15,000 per unit, said a spokesman for the developer the MCL Cos.

For instance Swapan Goddam, a 34-year-old doctor relocating here from Atlanta, has agreed to buy a two-bedroom unit on the 20th floor with a Lake Michigan view.

“They’re offering some incentives like $5,000 off the parking or $10,000 off a $550,000 unit,” he said. “But buildings in Streeterville and Lake Shore East aren’t offering as much as neighborhoods like the West Loop that aren’t selling as well.”

Goddam is willing to pay a premium to be near the hospital where he works, restaurants and entertainment. Furthermore, “with new construction, assessments are lower and resale values higher,” he said.

But Shah’s concerns about the housing market are holding her back.

“What if something happens and I’m not able to re-sell?” she asked. “I’m hoping in the next few months, something will change.”

Will condos sell with these types of incentives? Stay tuned.

Foreclosure Strikes in West Town: 1850 W Division

Despite much chatter regarding foreclosures here, the number of foreclosures is still much larger on the South Side than on the North Side.

But as I’ve been pointing out lately, the North Side isn’t immune.

Thanks to the Tipster who sent me information on 1850 W. Division in Ukranian Village/Wicker Park, a mid-rise building with around 14 units that was built in 2003.


Until this week, there were two units for sale in the building, both with the same listing contact.  Both are owned by the same corporation.






Unit #4B: 3 bedrooms,  2 baths, 1 car parking, duplex

  • Sold in November 2003 for $529,297
  • Was originally listed for sale in November 2007 for $849,000
  • Last week was listed for $789,900
  • Went to foreclosure auction for $544,777
  • Assessments of $510 a month
  • Robert Adolfson has the listing






Unit #4A: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 car parking, duplex

  • Sold in December 2003 for $640,000 (most expensive in the building)
  • Originally listed in October 2007 for $949,900
  • Currently listed for $899,900
  • Assessments of $565 a month
  • Robert Adolfson has the listing

The last sale in the building was in 2006 when Unit #3D, a two bedroom/two bath, sold for $440,000.

McMansion Foreclosure in Bucktown: 2230 W Medill

The media has been saying lately that foreclosures are “bad for the neighborhood”.

This McMansion house at 2230 W. Medill is the perfect example of that. 

The house is near the Kennedy Expressway and Western Avenue in North Bucktown/West Bucktown/Logan Square (???).  In the picture below, you can see that there are two McMansions built next to each other that look pretty identical.


In fact, they both were built and sold within a month of each other in 2006.

  • 2230 W. Medill: sold in July 2006 for $1.475 million
  • 2226 W. Medill: sold in August 2006 for $1.475 million

Now,  2230 W. Medill is owned by the bank and the bank is simply trying to dump it.

It stinks to be 2226 W. Medill right about now, doesn’t it?

There aren’t many pictures of 2230 W. Medill- sorry. But this gives you an idea.





2230 W. Medill: 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, 2792 square feet, 2 car garage

  • Sold in July 2006 for $1.475 million
  • Currently listed for $949,500
  • REO Properties has the listing

That’s about a 35% price reduction from the 2006 price.

The listing says the property needs some work: 


Is this “instant equity” or is this the new market price?

Steals and Deals: 2 bedrooms for under $300k in the South Loop

How badly do you want space?

There are a couple of short sale condos on the market in Dearborn Park in the South Loop that are far cheaper than any of the new developments going up to the east.

Of course, you’ll have to live in a building constructed in 1979.

I’m talking about 1143 S. Plymouth. It’s one of those non-descript red brick buildings just south of Printers Row.


There is no laundry in the unit.  And there is a wait list for parking.  But there’s apparently an outdoor pool.






Unit #302: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1250 square feet

  • Sold in March 1999 for $145,000
  • Currently listed for $279,900
  • Assessments of $332 a month
  • Baird and Warner has the listing

Unit #604: 2 bedrooms,  2 baths, 1250 square feet

  • I couldn’t find the previous sale price
  • Currently listed for $249,900
  • Assessments of $354 a month
  • Listing says it’s the lowest priced unit at Dearborn Park
  • It has a month to month tenant
  • Baird and Warner has the listing

There are no interior pictures of Unit #604.

At least one unit did sell for over $300,000 in the building in the last year.

Own Your Own Coach House in the Gold Coast: 20 E Goethe

The Gold Coast isn’t just about the lovely vintage rowhouses and mansions on Astor Street.  There are some unusual properties if do some investigation.

This coach house at 20 E. Goethe is one of them. If the address sounds familiar to you- it should. This is the building you’re thinking of:


But behind the building lurks this 4 story coach house, complete with 1.5 car garage:


I don’t have the exact age of the building, but the listing says “turn of the century.”





20 E. Goethe Coach House: 4 bedrooms, 3 baths

  • Sold in December 2004 for $773,000
  • Currently listed at $1.069 million
  • No assessments

I don’t have the total square footage. 

Several of the bedrooms are on the small size.  One is 11 x 10 and another is 13 x 11. 

It also appears to have outdoor space on the roof.  But this doesn’t really look like a deck to me.


The listing says:

Possibilities To Expand And Create More Spaces And Rooms. This Is Truly A Unique Opportunity.

Dana DiPasquale at Baird and Warner has the listing.