The Going Rate for the West Loop: 1528 W Monroe

Only five years ago, you used to have buyers moving to the West Loop because it was considered a “value” compared to the more expensive north side of the city.  You got more bang for your buck.

Currently, however, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing for the neighborhood?  Is it completing the gentrification cycle and becoming more “mature”?

Take this new conversion at 1528 W. Monroe.  Only a few years ago this would have been considered far,  far west.  It is only a few blocks east of United Center, at Ashland.


Yet, look at the prices on these units.  They are listed for over $300 a square foot.  The pictures are of the staged “penthouse” unit.







Unit #403: 3 bedroom, 2.5 baths, 1 car parking, 1330 square feet

  • Currently listed at $409,900 plus $30,000 for parking
  • Assessments of $133 a month
  • The bedrooms are on the small side: 13 x 10, 12 x 11 and 13 x 13

@Properties has the listings for the development.

Flipper Alert: Flippers trying to find renters at The Chess Lofts

Sometimes even the flippers get realistic.

Such is the case with The Chess Lofts which recently started closings and which currently has many more units for rent than for re-sale.

The Chess Lofts, at 320 E. 21st in the South Loop – near the Prairie Historic District – is a true loft conversion of the old Chess Recording Studios.



The developer is also still selling units and offering 1 year of free assessments.

The prices range from $232,000 for 628 square foot one bedrooms to $452,000 for two bedroom, two baths.

Stats for the building out of 119 units:

  • 5 for sale (but may be more as the developer doesn’t usually list all of the available units)
  • At least 8 for rent

This is one of the rentals:





Unit #210: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1150 square feet

  • Currently asking $1900 a month
  • Parking is $150 extra
  • Rent includes heat, air, cable
  • No pets
  • From the listing, it looks like both bedrooms have windows
  • Koenig & Strey has the listing

Rents range from $1350 to $2000 a month.

One owner is trying a three month “deal” on Craigslist where the renter gets in at $950 a month for the first three months and then goes up to $1350.

Only about a quarter of the building has closed so far.

The Chess Lofts [website]

Washington DC Craigslist Ad: Telling it like it is

This post isn’t about Chicago real estate but I just had to chatter about it. 

It seems to be a hoax (as someone told me he looked up the address and said it doesn’t exist) but the writer certainly has a sense of humor out in the DC area.

From Craigslist DC:

Overpriced Condo with Great Views
Reply to:
Date: 2008-02-02, 3:10PM EST

Overpaid for condo in 2005 thinking the housing market wouldn’t crash! Need desperately to sell for more than the $690K I paid even though no improvements were made to unit, there is an ongoing recession, average sold prices in the 22209 zip code have fallen by 11% in just the last year, I am on a low floor whose views could be blocked by future construction in front of the building, and with the condo fee and taxes the price per month is over $6800 a month – nearly twice what I could rent the unit for!

Took out a 3 year interest-only ARM that resets this summer…need to move fast. Let me know if you are interested!

1200 at Nash Street google map yahoo map

And no, there aren’t any pictures with the ad. Sorry!

Anyone buying one bedrooms in the Fairbanks?


Apparently, this poster on Craigslist thinks if he/she just asks if anyone is interested- people will respond.

Are there any interested parties out there who are looking for a high floor one-bedroom in the new Jahn building at 600 N Fairbanks?

I don’t have the exact numbers, but I would estimate there are at least 200 1 bedroom units priced between $375,000 and $500,000 (without the parking) in just Streeterville and River North alone.

Can any agents confirm?

And that doesn’t include the new units that keep coming on the market from 600 N. Fairbanks, 600 N. Lake Shore Drive, Avenue East, and Fairbanks at CityFront Plaza and soon, 550 St. Clair and Park View.

550 St. Clair starts closings this week.  There have been a few more creeping onto Craigslist the last few days.

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.