Flipper Alert: Flippers in Zen Not Feeling So Harmonious

Zen, the new building at 225 S. Sangamon in the West Loop, is all about harmony and balance.

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Or so says the building’s website:

The central theme of Zen is an individual living life in harmony with his surroundings, having balance in his every day life and an understanding of his place within the universe, his home.

This philosophy of life has been translated into an architectural theme by the award winning architectural firm of VOA Associates. There is an intentional blurring of the distinctions between natural and man-made materials that underscore the design elements of the building.

Zen captures this subtle flair with the interplay between polished concrete and stone, tinted glass set in metal framing, and an open canopy that highlights the soaring facade. The overall effect is a building that stands gracefully in the existing architectural landscape yet emanates a truly distinctive appearance.

The building started closings a few months ago.

There are 78 units in the building and currently 6 are for sale.

These flippers, like those at 901 W. Madison, are feeling the pain.  Interestingly, none of the two bedroom listings have the square footage but they are small 2 bedroom units.  The bedrooms are only 12 x10 and 11 x 10.

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Unit #501: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths

  • Sold in January 2008 for $371,500
  • Currently listed for $389,900 plus $29,500 for parking
  • Assessments of $329 a month
  • Listing says it is a “highly upgraded unit”
  • Prudential Preferred has the listing

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Unit #406: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths

  • Sold in September 2007 for $358,500
  • Currently listed at $389,900 plus $29,500 for parking
  • Assessments of $303 a month
  • Prello Realty has the listing

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Unit #806: 2 bedroom, 2 bath

  • Sold in January 2008 for $371,500
  • Currently listed for $389,900 plus $29,500 for parking
  • Assessments of $329 a month
  • @Properties has the listing

Zen Condos at 225 S. Sangamon [website]

Steal and Deals: Get a South Loop Townhouse on the Cheap

Townhouses have become quite pricey in the South Loop.  I’ve chattered about million dollar luxury townhouses and cheaper townhouses near Printers Row.

But as more sellers get into trouble, prices are coming down on some properties. 

Thanks to the tipster who sent me the listing info on this townhouse at 1529 S. State.  This building was completed in 2001. The development consists of a 22 story highrise and some townhouse units adjacent to the highrise.  There are 143 total units.

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Sorry, I don’t have pictures of the interior of the townhouse.  But you can see the townhouse portion better here:

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TH #5: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, square footage unknown

  • Sold in June 2002 for $400,000
  • Was originally listed in September 2007 for $535,000
  • The price has been aggressively reduced
  • Currently listed at $414,000
  • Assessments of $767 a month

The listing tells the story:

SELLER IN DISTRESS! ZERO DOWN AVAILABLE, MAY HELP WITH CLOSING COST! LUXURIOUS, 3-STORY TOWNHOME IN THE HEART OF THE SOUTH LOOP. ENTERTAIN IN THE OPEN LR/DR/KIT, WARM YOUR SELF BY THE FIREPLACE, OR LOUNGE ON THE DECK.

SPACIOUS MBR FEATURES CAVERNOUS CLOSET & MBB WITH SOOTHING WHIRLPOOL TUB 3RD FLOOR LOFT WORKS WELL AS A BR/DEN/OFC & ALSO FEATURES A DECK. ALL APPLIANCES & AMENITIES ARE HIGH-END.

A 3 bedroom townhouse under $400,000 in the South Loop? Seems likely.

Realty Executives Residential has the listing.

No Housing Bubble in Chicago? 4350 N. Broadway

For the last several years many “experts” have said Chicago wasn’t in a housing bubble (as they were apparently having on both coasts where prices were running up 20% a year or more.) In Chicago, prices went up “slowly” and there was no mania.

Really?

Maybe the experts should ask the owners of condos at 4350 N. Broadway, a 10 story mid-rise building built in 2004 in the Buena Park neighborhood at Broadway and Montrose.

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One penthouse unit is going to foreclosure auction this week.

Unit #1010: not sure of the size but at least a 2 bedroom, 2 bath

  • Sold in January 2006 for $557,500
  • Sold in August 2006 for $650,000
  • Foreclosure auction price of $482,081

Better yet- skip the foreclosure auction and buy a penthouse unit just down the hall that’s owned already by the bank.

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Unit #1012: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1950 square feet

  • Sold in December 2005 for $711,000
  • Currently listed for $399,000
  • Listing states it is “sold in as-is condition. Great opportunity!”
  • Assessments of $675 a month
  • Great Street Properties has the listing

That’s a 44% price reduction.

There is one owner trying to sell the old fashioned way.

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Unit #802: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1275 square feet

  • Sold in July 2004 for $326,500
  • Listed for $300,000 (plus $25,000 for the parking)
  • Assessments of $338 a month
  • Listing says “Motivated Seller”
  • Dream Town Realty has the listing

$711,000 for a 3 bedroom penthouse in that location?

No.  There was absolutely no housing bubble in Chicago.

Flipper Alert: Flipper’s Losing Their Shirts at 901 W. Madison

Some flippers in the West Loop are finding out that flipping isn’t always instant money. 

Take Madison 901 at 901 W. Madison in the West Loop.  This new construction building by Terrapin is 148 units.  Terrapin’s website says it is 80% sold.  Closings started in the Summer of 2007.

Currently there are:

  • 9 units for sale (on the MLS- doesn’t mean that Terrapin is listing all available developer’s units on the MLS)
  • At least 5 for rent

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The flippers in the building are feeling an enormous amount of pain.

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Unit #820: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, den, 1600 square feet, southeast corner unit

  • Sold in August 2007 for $543,500
  • Currently listed for $579,000 (plus $25,000 each for two parking spaces)
  • Assessments of $533 a month
  • Joan Dim at Baird and Warner has the listing

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Unit #513: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 990 square feet

  • Sold in June 2007 for $339,500
  • Currently listed at $326,900 (parking $25,000 extra)
  • Assessments of $257 a month
  • Listing says it’s the cheapest two bedroom available in the building
  • No realtor has the listing (FSBO)

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Unit #701: 1 bedroom, 1 bath

  • Sold in July 2007 for $345,500
  • Currently listed for $284,900 (parking is $25,000 extra)
  • Assessment of $204 a month
  • Quest Realty has the listing

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Unit #703: 1 bedroom, 1 bath

  • Sold in August 2007 for $280,000
  • Currently listed at $284,900 (plus $25,000 for parking)
  • Assessment of $204 a month
  • Select a Fee has the listing

After you see numbers like these, it does make you wonder how many investors will even close on their units going forward in other condo buildings.

Madison 901 [website]

Chicagoland Home Sales Down 20.5% in 2007

The December numbers for the Chicago metro area are out.  From Crain’s:

Chicago-area home sales fell 33.2% in December, according to the Illinois Assn. of Realtors.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area, home and condominium sales in December totaled 5,033, compared with 7,530 in the same month of 2006.

For the year, home sales in the Chicago region dropped 20.5% from 2006, the association said Thursday in a news release.

This is an apples to apples comparison of what is happening now in the market.

The “buying season” traditionally begins after the Super Bowl.

Views of the River and the Ever Present Tour Boats

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve been on one of the river or lake boat tours that glide by all of the townhouses along the north side of the river in Streeterville and thought, “who lives there?”

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Now’s your chance.  One of the townhouses directly on the Chicago River is on the market.

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437 E. North Water: 3 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, 2 car parking

  • Sold in July 2003 for $1.42 million
  • Sold in September 2005 for $2.115 million
  • Currently listed for $2.225 million (includes the two parking spaces)
  • Private Elevator
  • Assessments of $1,474 a month
  • Prudential Preferred has the listing

Of course, this townhouse will now be in the shadow of The Spire, being built directly to the east.

Does Staging Matter? 600 N. Fairbanks

I’ve chattered about staging before but someone also recently commented how it was common to do in San Francisco but not so common here in Chicago.

Does staging matter?

Here is the same unit in 600 N. Fairbanks.  Both are 1746 square foot 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath southwest corner units.

Unit #1501 is minimally staged.  Unit #1901 is not.

Livingroom:

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Livingroom #2:

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Bedroom:

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Unit #1501 is currently listed for $1.1 million plus $70k for parking. Jameson Realty has the listing.

Unit #1901 is currently listed for $1.14 million plus $70k for parking. Prudential Preferred has the listing.

Flipper Alert: Prepare Yourself for the Deluge from The Marquee

The Marquee at 1454 S. Michigan in the South Loop is starting closings this month.  Prepare yourself.  The building was sold pre-construction at “affordable” prices.

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The original price range was:

  • 1 bedrooms from the high $100,000s
  • 2 bedrooms from the high $200,000s
  • 3 bedrooms from the high $300,000s
  • Penthouse units from the high $600,000s

Already, several of the penthouses are being flipped.

  • Unit #2405: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2 car parking for $1.195 million
  • Unit #2403: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1950 square feet for $929,900
  • Unit #2407: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths,  1800 square feet for $849,900

Sudler Sotheby’s has all of those listings.

Remember- these penthouses were originally sold “from the high $600,000s.”  I don’t have closing prices yet.

More interesting are the other three bedroom units.  These originally sold “from the high $300,000s.”

Unit #2201: 3 bedrooms,  2 baths

  • Currently listed for $795,900 (not sure if the two parking spaces are included)
  • Sudler Sotheby’s has the listing

But the developer is selling the same unit only a few floors down.

Unit #1801: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths

  • Currently listed for $511,900 (plus $35,000 for parking)
  • Koenig & Strey has the listing

The developer is still trying to sell some one bedrooms.  Those are priced starting at $270,000 (without the parking.)  Some of the two bedrooms from the developer are starting at $370,000 (without the parking.)

It’s going to be hard for flippers to flip for much more than what the developer is asking.  The developer is also giving away a $25,000 furniture credit.

Here are some pictures of the model unit:

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Stay tuned.  This building is going to be mighty interesting. 

The Marquee [website]

Foreclosures Popping Up in the John Hancock Center

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I haven’t talked about the John Hancock yet which is a bit peculiar as it is the world’s tallest residential structure (although it doesn’t qualify as the tallest residential highrise because it also has a commercial component.)  But that’s just facts and figures.  Whomever is living on the 92nd floor is living in the tallest condo in the sky (for now.)

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The John Hancock Center, at 175 E. Delaware on the Mag Mile, was built from  1965 to 1970.  It is probably Chicago’s most recognizable landmark.  It originally had 711 apartments.  The building was rental until 1973 when it went condo. It has less units now, as some apartments have been combined.  The residential portion of the building is on floors 44 to 92.

Units range in size from studios to 3/4 bedrooms.  Washer dryers were not allowed in the units but were on every other floor, I believe, but I’ve recently seen at least one listing that says that the building now permits them in the unit.  True or not?

There is parking, but it is rental next door to the building.

I’ve noticed a few foreclosures popping up in the building in recent weeks.  The most recent one:

Unit #7807: 1 bedroom, 1 bath

  • Bought in August 1999 for $250,000
  • Foreclosure auction price of $560,000

The units in the building are hit or miss.  Some haven’t been updated since the 1970s.  Some have been renovated beautifully.  Here are two examples currently on the market.

Renovated:

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Unit #5002: 1 bedroom, 2 baths, 1202 square feet

  • Sold in July 1996 for $178,000
  • Sold in July 1999 for $325,000
  • Sold in January 2005 for $369,000
  • Currently listed for $599,000
  • Assessments of $680 a month
  • The listing says it was a two bedroom converted into a large one bedroom
  • The listing also says “owner will buy down interest rate”
  • Koenig & Strey has the listing

Not renovated:

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Unit #5712: 2 bedrooms,  2 baths, 1300 square feet

  • I couldn’t find a previous sale price
  • Currently listed for $488,000
  • Assessments of $876 a month
  • FSBO on Select A Fee

Sales in the Hancock are surprisingly good.  There is still a cache to living in the building.  Talk show host Jerry Springer lives in the building, supposedly on the 91st floor.  Actor and comedian Chris Farley died in his condo in the building in 1997.

It’s still all about the views.  This is from Unit #5002:

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Struggling to Sell For Over $500,000 in Lakeview: 508 W. Melrose

There seems to be a certain price point that has really slowed in the Chicago condo market.  Included in that price point are two bedroom, two bath condos over $400,000. 

An example of the slowdown is evident in the listings at 508 W. Melrose, a 2004 new construction mid-rise building in Lakeview. 

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There are two units currently on the market.  Both have seen price reductions and have been on the market for months.  These sellers will be lucky to make any money on these sales (when you subtract agent fees, closing costs etc.)

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Unit #2A: 2 bedroom, 2 baths,  1568 square feet

  • Sold in June 2004 for $533,000
  • Currently listed for $549,900 (plus $35,000 for parking)
  • Assessments of $336 a month
  • Alan Zuber at Baird and Warner has the listing

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Unit #2D: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths,  1688 square feet

  • Sold in June 2004 for $512,000
  • Currently listed at $499,000 (plus $35,000 for parking)
  • Assessments of $261 a month
  • Rubloff has the listing