Flipper Alert: Some Flippers Getting Realistic in 600 N. Fairbanks

It’s time for an update on 600 N. Fairbanks the Helmut Jahn modern skyscraper in Streeterville that started closings the first week of November 2007.


Out of 227 units in the building, the current building statistics are:

  • 25 units for sale
  • 8 units for rent

This is the highest number so far for the building.  Two units are both for sale or for rent.  That comes out to about 14% of the building either for sale or for rent.  Closings continue.

There appear to be some decent rental deals in the building, such as this one on a 1700 square foot 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath unit on Craigslist from the Chicago Apartment Finders.  They are asking only $4200 a month.  The ad claims it is “way below market.”

3bdrm, 2.5 bath, Laund in unit. Gourmet Ktchn with top of the line appliances,Hdwd floors, Surround sound wired thgroughout. 1 block off Boul Mich, this never lived in top of the line unit is priced to move. $1800 per mo less than identical lower floor units. Walk-in closets, Fitness center, Balcony, Doorman, pool, club room, Sundeck, Heat/A/C Cable included.

This is Streeterville’s finest new landmark building. Be the first to occupy at a price that is way below market. Dont ask why, ask when you can see it. Come ready to rent, this is an oppertunity which will be gone soon and will not come again. Just listed today. Will be gone tomorrow.

Some of the small one bedroom units that are being flipped have been coming down a bit in price probably because of competition.

Unit #1403: 1 bedroom, 1.5 bath, 873 square feet

  • Currently listed for $395,000 (parking is $60,000 extra)
  • Listing says it is a “Rare developer’s unit”- implying that the buyer never closed because the 1 bedroom units were sold out.  I cannot find an original sale price.
  • Schatz Realty LLC has the listing (they were NOT the developer’s agent)


Unit #1503: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 873 square feet

  • Sold in November 2007 for $423,000
  • Currently listed for $448,000 plus $60,000 for parking
  • Listing says it’s “Ready for Occupancy”
  • Koenig & Strey has the listing





Unit #1603: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 873 square feet

  • Sold in November 2007 for $404,000
  • Currently listed for $410,000 plus $60,000 for parking
  • Listing says it is “Priced for Buyers- This is not a flip”
  • Rubloff has the listing

As you can see, the selling will be tough for #1503 because these three units are basically identical.  (I couldn’t find pictures for #1403- but trust me.)  In this building, everything was pretty much already upgraded.  It’s just a matter of what finishes you chose.

As far as I can tell, NO UNITS have resold since closings began in November 2007.  However, the flippers trying to rent out their units have been more successful.  A half a dozen or so have rented.

Want to Buy in the South Loop? Take the South Loop Tour

The South Loop can be overwhelming for buyers.  There seems to be new construction going up everywhere.  Imagine going to the sales centers down there?  Where would you start?

In a brilliant bit of marketing, one agent, Rebecca Thomson from Re/Max Vision, is now offering the “South Loop Tour.” 


This Sunday, January 13, she is renting a tourist trolley to take buyers around to all of the South Loop developments.  From the website, the southlooptour.com:

I will take you to some of the top projects in the area and save you the hassle without any cost to you! The developments on this tour reflect a wide variety of price points, floor plans, amenities and delivery dates with move-in dates as early as tomorrow or as late as 2010. Whether you are looking for yourself, for a second home, or for an investment, you will find what you are looking for.

Enjoy an informational tour of the neighborhood as well as free parking, great food, prizes, and absolutely no pressure!

You get on the trolley at 1 pm and off you go.  The website says reservations are required.

 In a Craigslist ad, she also touts special deals for those on the tour:

Offering big incentives (Free Parking Space, 10k in upgrades, 5% off list price- by development and only for tour participants)

What she should really do is let the hotel concierges know about the tour. There must be some European tourists who would love to go on something like this and buy an investment property at the same time.

southlooptour.com [website]

River North Three Bedroom Condos For Under $600k

A few weeks ago a post about whether a 3 bedroom unit in The Sterling priced at $725,900 was a “deal” for 1900 square feet in River North sparked some discussion.

It seemed cheap for the square footage and the location.

But there are some other units in River North that put The Sterling three bedroom to shame in price.

The Grand Orleans at 330 W. Grand was built in 2005. The 21 story tower has 98 units ranging from studios to three bedrooms. It has 9 foot ceilings, standard finishes of GE stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors. It wasn’t marketed as “luxury.”  But  then, neither was The Sterling.


There are two nearly identical 1800 square foot units on the market that would make you think twice about ever buying that unit in The Sterling.  And the building (so far) doesn’t have the problematic foreclosure issue.  The building also has deeded parking available.





Unit #2002: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1800 square feet

  • Sold in January 2007 for $577,000
  • Currently listed for $589,900 plus $30,000 for parking
  • Assessment of $1,156 a month
  • Dream Town Realty has the listing





Unit #1202: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1800 square feet

  • Sold in June 2006 for $547,500
  • Currently listed for $520,000 (I don’t know if that includes the parking spot or not)
  • Assessments of $952 a month
  • Prudential Preferred has the listing

Does anyone know why the assessments are so high?  That is unusual for a building that is relatively new.

Foreclosures Destroying Comps in Lakeview’s The New York

Foreclosures and short sales are starting to take a toll on The New York, an American Invsco conversion at 3660 N. Lake Shore Drive in Lakeview.


The 49 story building was built in 1987 and converted by American Invsco to condominiums in 2000.  There are 595 units in the building ranging from studios to two bedrooms.  American Invsco offered the option of an upgrade package to buyers or they could buy “as is.”

In early 2000, after only a few months of sales, they sold several hundred of the units.  From The Chicago Sun-Times in 2000:

American Invsco’s record growth was fueled by the runaway success in converting the 593-unit New York apartments at 3660 N. Lake Shore Drive. “We have sold probably 255 units and closed around 200 of those at the New York,” said Nicholas V. Gouletas, vice president of American Invsco.

New York studios start at about $150,000 and 2-bedroom units are in the $300,000 to $400,000 range.

The building sold quickly during the boom but unfortunately the good times haven’t lasted. I am seeing more foreclosures coming from this building in recent weeks. There are also some short sales in the building so more foreclosures will likely be coming in the future.

The most striking price drop in the building is this 2 bedroom, 2 bath which is a foreclosure.  It is 45% under its original selling price:

Unit #3713: 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 1150 square feet

  • Sold in August 2004 for $452,000
  • Currently listed for $249,000 includes the parking
  • Area Wide Realty has the listing

The unit is being sold “As-Is”.  There are no pictures available.  The listing also says: “Great Investment”.

There are two others available in the “13” tier.  The first is also a foreclosure.  The second is not.

Unit #3513: 2 bedroom, 2 bath

  • Sold in April 2004 for $447,700
  • Currently listed for $304,900 including the parking
  • Assessments of $600 a month
  • Amalgamated Real Estate has the listing

The following are pictures for Unit #3913.




Unit #3913: 2 bedroom, 2 bath

  • Sold in June 2004 for $440,500
  • Currently listed for $439,900 including the parking
  • The listing says it is currently leased but there is an “out-clause”
  • John Wyman at Coldwell Banker has the listing

Some 2 bedroom units have been selling at or under $300,000 in the building in recent months.

Unit #1913: Sold in November 2007 for $289,000.  Prior sale was in March 2004 for $383,500.

Unit #4613: Sold in November 2007 for $304,500. Prior sale was in October 2004 for $454,000.

A studio is going to foreclosure auction this week.




Unit #1016: 570 square foot studio

  • Sold in January 2002 for $124,000
  • Sold in February 2005 for $143,000
  • Currently on the market for  $147,500
  • Foreclosure auction price of $139,138

Stay tuned on this building.  It is rough going for owners who have been paying their mortgages and simply want to move.  The comps are being decimated by the foreclosures.

“Motivated Sellers” Are Everywhere

Lots of listings right now have the proverbial: “Motivated Sellers”

But recently I’ve been seeing more of: “Willing to Negotiate”

Such is the case with this 2004 townhouse in Old Town.  This townouse is in the not-so-great part of Old Town (in the re-developed area near Division.) 

Old Town has several personalities.  There is “real” Old Town (in the historic triangle area north of North Avenue).  There is Wells Street and then the “new” Old Town which is the newer development closer to Division.  Is the newer development still able to command the premium prices?






1233 N Sedgwick: 3 bedroom, 2.5 baths, 2600 square feet, 2 car garage

  • Sold in November 2005 for $661,000
  • Currently listed at $779,000
  • Assessment of $93 a month
  • Vicki Harrison at Koenig & Strey has the listing

The listing states: “Motivated Sellers Willing to Negotiate!” 

The Craigslist ad says: “MUST SELL!! Blow Out Deal!! Model UNIT!! Bring your Best Offer!!”

Or, surprise, surprise, you can rent it.  Going rental rate is $3600 a month.

Update on eBay Condo Sale at The Sterling


If you remember, there was a 1 bedroom unit at The Sterling at 345 N. LaSalle for sale on eBay.  The auction was expected to end on January 6, 2008 but I found when I went to the page that it had ended early (on January 4.)

Maybe the bids weren’t going high enough?

Same with the auction on the loft unit at 17 N. Loomis.  It also ended early.

More eBay Sales at The Sterling and 17 N. Loomis [link]

Prices Dropping at Park Place in River North

Sometimes you can see the reality of the current Chicago housing market just by pulling the listings of one building.

Park Place at 600 N. Kingsbury was completed in 2002.  It wasn’t a “luxury” building but was your standard River North high rise with 42 inch kitchen cabinets and granite.


Some of the sellers are struggling to sell and some are selling for less than their purchase price.






Unit #1410: 2 bedroom,  2 bath, 1200 square feet

  • Sold in September 2006 for $415,000
  • Currently listed for $380,000 plus $30,000 for parking
  • Assessment of $552 a month
  • Chris Sears at Coldwell Banker has the listing

A listing for one of the smaller two bedrooms says to “Bring All Offers!”



Unit #1712: 2 bedroom,  2 bath, 1025 square feet

  • Sold in May 2004 for $354,500
  • Currently listed for $379,000 including the parking
  • Assessment of $486 a month
  • Prudential Preferred has the listing

Ritz-Carlton Residences Still Not Under Construction


Every day I walk north down Michigan Avenue,  I am reminded that the Ritz-Carlton project at 664 N. Michigan is struggling.

Over a year ago, they put a big sign up on the sign of the old Farwell Building that said 30% sold.  Then, they replaced that last summer with 40% sold.

It’s been at 40% sold ever since.

More telling about the state of this project is that the Hanig’s Footwear store is still in the building.  If you recall, Hanig’s was to lose their lease and was looking for alternative space.

This was LAST summer.  From the Tribune:

SHOE STORE GETS BOOT: Hanig’s Footwear, one of the last local merchants on the Mag Mile, plans to close its store at 660 N. Michigan Ave. on Aug. 31. The upscale shoe store has been operating on the boulevard since 1978.

The store lost its lease in the landmark Farwell Building, where construction of Ritz-Carlton luxury condos is scheduled to begin in September. Owner Peter Hanig said he is looking to open a temporary location nearby before the holidays.

They had a “moving sale” last summer where they sold off their inventory. And then, surprise, surprise, they never moved.

Hanig’s was operating normally this entire holiday season. And even today they still don’t look like they’re going anywhere.

Yet, the website says “Construction to Begin in February 2008″.

Stay tuned.




The Ritz Carlton Residences [website]

Do You Have Vision? Fulton House is for You

Fulton House at 345 N. Canal is one of those rare buildings that no one seems to know much about yet it has a prominent location right on the river next to River Bend.


Built in 1903 as a cold storage warehouse,  it was converted into apartments in 1979-81.  It was converted into condominiums in the 1990s.  It is a “live-work” building and there are actually businesses who use the space as their offices.  That can make for a strange set-up for people who simply want to live there.

But there are some enormous units with interesing layouts in the building.  Do you have the vision to convert one of them into your loft masterpiece?






Unit #1403:  2 bedrooms, 2 baths, duplex, 2030 square feet

  • Sold in January 1995 for $215,000
  • Currently listed for $393,000
  • Assessment of $870 a month
  • Listing says there is parking
  • Chicago Realty Partners, LTD has the listing

From the listing:


As you can see, it’s being used as offices.  It could be cool space.  Here is a smaller 1 bedroom that has been renovated.  





Unit #603: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 1275 square feet

  • Sold in March 2002 for $187,000
  • Currently listed at $329,900
  • Assessment of $384
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • No parking

Major Enterprises, Inc. has the listing.

Steals and Deals: A two bedroom in River North under $375k

Why buy a one bedroom in River North or Streeterville when you can buy a two bedroom for much less?

For those looking to buy, it pays to look at the high rises that are slightly older.  Such is the case with Park Place at 600 N. Kingsbury on the edge of River North near the Chicago River.  When the building was built in 2002, it was the far edge of River North and there was a “proposed” park to be built in front of the building.



Flash forward 6 years and  the park is complete and there are several new high rises nearby.  Suddenly, the far west edge of River North doesn’t seem so “far.”

One listing for one of the smaller two bedroom, two bath floorplans says that the “seller is relocating, very motivated!”




Unit #1512: 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 1052 square feet

  • Sold in September 2003 for $329,000
  • Currently listed for $344,000 plus $30,000 for parking
  • Assessment of $507 a month
  • Re/Max Signature has the listing

Is this a “deal” at this price point?  That is $335 a square foot (excluding the parking).