Will These Lincoln Park Condos Make Way for Luxury Apartments? 2518 N. Lincoln

We’ve chattered about this building at 2518-2540 N. Lincoln in Lincoln Park before.

Many of you who have traveled on the Red, Brown or Purple line also would recognize the back of the building- because it’s the building with the infamous roof top tennis courts (that I’ve never seen anyone EVER playing tennis on.)

Crain’s is reporting that a developer wants to buy out the condo owners, tear down the building, and build a luxury apartment building in its place.

From Crain’s:

Mr. Baker, president of Chicago-based Baker Development Corp., said he has signed contracts to buy all the condos in Lincoln Centre, 2518-2540 N. Lincoln Ave., but declined to say how much he’s paying for them. A Baker venture already owns the retail space in the building, best known for an on-site tennis court that abuts the Chicago Transit Authority’s Red Line.

After razing the building, Mr. Baker said he would build 225 luxury apartments, 16,000 square feet of retail space and a 200-slot garage. The development, which would rise to 12 stories at its tallest, would cost around $80 million.

Mr. Baker said the property is unsightly and needs to come down, pushing owners to agree to move on.

“People are ready to sell,” he said.

He said the development could revitalize Lincoln Avenue, parts of which have struggled to draw in retail tenants that are choosing the Clybourn Corridor for new stores.

The project is “going to be a game-changer for turning around a street that has been in decline for so long,” Mr. Baker said. Fifty of the parking slots in the garage will be dedicated for public use, which should help draw in new retail tenants, he added.

Mr. Baker introduced the project to Lincoln Park residents Jan. 13, laying out his plans to the Wrightwood Neighbors Association.

According to Crain’s, Alderman Smith had no details about the proposal and declined to comment.

This is the second possible large scale condo building in Lincoln Park that is looking to go back to apartments (or sell out to an investor who will build apartments) we’ve chattered about in the last 6 months.

If the developer does have all the owners on board, does this project have any chance of getting off the ground?

Also, is anyone else surprised that all these condo owners are so eager to sell?

Here’s a picture of the back side of the building, taken from the other side of the El tracks.

2518 n lincoln back side

Developer plans 225-unit apartment building in Lincoln Park [Crain’s Chicago Business, Micah Maidenberg, January 13, 2014]

Will the Reduction in FHA Loan Limits Impact Condo Sales? 645 N. Kingsbury in River North

This 2-bedroom in Admirals Pointe at 645 N. Kingsbury in River North came on the market at the end of November 2013.

It was bank owned in 2013 and has been renovated.

The unit, with south, west and city views, has new dark hardwood floors and ceiling fans.

It also has a new kitchen with dark cabinetry, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and a glass tile backsplash.

There is only one picture of a bathroom and it appears to be the original bath.

Other 2013 listings in the building touted Admiral’s Pointe as being “FHA approved.”

In 2013, the FHA loan limit was $417,000 which most of the 2/2s, which were selling in the $300,000s, in the building would have qualified for.

But in 2014, the FHA loan limit has fallen to $365,700 in Chicago.

This unit is listed at $439,900, which was still above the old loan limit, but not by much. (There’s always room for negotiation.)

But in 2014, it is WELL above the FHA loan limit.

Unless it is significantly reduced, it’s not falling under the limit.

Will the reduction in the loan limits hit sales of these $400,000 2/2s hard in FHA approved buildings?

Thomas Besore at Streeterville Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1902: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1225 square feet
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  • Sold in March 2002 for $362,500
  • Sold in March 2006 for $390,000
  • Sold in August 2010 for $295,000
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in March 2012
  • Bank owned
  • Sold in June 2013 for $265,000
  • Originally listed in November 2013 for $439,900
  • Currently still listed for $439,900
  • Assessments of $716 a month (includes a/c, gas, cable, doorman)
  • Taxes of $5183
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • No parking included
  • Bedroom #1: 13×12
  • Bedroom #2: 13×12


Will Luxury Condo Rentals Be the Deal of 2014? 550 N. St. Clair in Streeterville

There are thousands of new luxury apartments being built in downtown Chicago, some of which will come on the market later this year.

They have all the luxury features of many condos, including stone counter tops, new kitchen cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and hardwood floors in the main living areas.

This 1 bedroom plus den in The St. Clair at 550 N. St. Clair in Streeterville just came on the rental market.

At 1125 square feet, the listing says the den can be used as second bedroom.

This unit has upscale kitchen appliances and cabinetry and marble bathrooms.

It has a terrace that overlooks Michigan Avenue, floor to ceiling windows, and an in-unit Bosch washer/dryer.

This is currently listed at $2400 plus $200 a month for parking.

Given that many of the luxury 1-bedroom apartments, which are only 700 to 750 square feet, rent for this (and more)- isn’t this a deal?

Are luxury condo rentals going to have to lower their prices to compete with the apartment rental inventory that is coming on line in 2014?

Will some luxury condo owners actually have to upgrade their units (new appliances, counter tops, bathrooms) in order to compete in the rental market?

Jeff Leong at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1005: 1 bedroom, den, 1125 square feet
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  • Rented for $2600 a month in 2013
  • Currently listed for $2400 plus $200 a month for parking
  • Deposit: $2400
  • Rent includes cable, gas, heat, a/c, pool
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom: 14×12
  • Den: 14×10


Bought a Downtown Condo in 2009? Appreciation Depends on the Building: 130 N. Garland in the Loop

This 4-bedroom unit in the Heritage at 130 N. Garland in the Loop has been on the market since April 2013.

It has direct views of Millennium Park and the Lake from every room in the unit.

The 3100 square feet unit also has a much sought after 3-bedrooms and 2-parking spots included.

The kitchen has granite counter tops, maple cabinets and stainless and black appliances.

It has crown molding and hardwood floors throughout the main living space.

The Heritage is a full service building and has one of the most amazing indoor pools in the city.

Originally listed at $2.5 million, it has been reduced to $2.2 million.

That’s just $90,000 over the 2009 purchase price.

Unlike in the housing boom years, isn’t appreciation really a building specific (and even a unit-specific) thing?

Laura Arnett at Baird & Warner has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #5303: 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, 3100 square feet
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  • Sold in November 2005 for $2,079,500
  • Sold in June 2009 for $2,110,000
  • Originally listed in April 2013 for $2,500,000
  • Reduced several times
  • Currently listed at $2,200,000 (includes 2 parking spaces)
  • Assessments of $2146 a month (includes doorman, cable, pool)
  • Taxes of $20,768
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 16×16
  • Bedroom #2: 12×16
  • Bedroom #3: 16×12
  • Bedroom #4: 14×13


You’ll Pay 37.6% More for this Streeterville 2-Bedroom Than 3-Years Ago: 600 N. Fairbanks

This 2-bedroom in Helmut Jahn’s 600 N. Fairbanks in Streeterville just came on the market.

Long time readers might recognize it because we chattered about it in 2009 and wondered if the buyer in 2009 would make any money 5+ years down the line. (The comments are very interesting with the benefit of hindsight.)

See our prior chatter, with interior pictures, here.

This would be the third sale of this unit since its original sale from the developer in 2007.

The interiors are the same as they were from the 2009 sale.

It has dark hardwood floors throughout with 10 foot floor to ceiling windows.

It has concrete ceilings and a long concrete wall in the kitchen and living room.

All kitchens in the building have Snaidero cabinets, Subzero, Wolf and Miele appliances. It was the standard package at the time of the original sale. This unit has a full limestone backsplash, however, which was an upgrade.

This unit faces north and west.

The prior two sellers both lost money on the unit.

However, the market has changed since the last sale in 2011. It is now, hot, hot, hot.

The current owner is looking for 37.6% appreciation over the last 3 years. This price is also well over the bubble pricing as this building was pre-sold in 2005-2006 with closings in 2007 just before the bust.

Will this seller get it?

Is this the new norm in Streeterville?

Elizabeth Sidorowicz at Re/Max Signature has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1505: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1253 square feet
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  • Sold in November 2007 for $584,000 (included the parking)
  • Sold in July 2009 for $585,000 (included the parking)
  • Sold in April 2011 for $545,000 (included the parking)
  • Currently listed for $749,900 (includes the parking)
  • Assessments now $591 a month (they were $482 a month in January 2009)- including A/C, gas, doorman, pool, and cable
  • Taxes of $7425
  • Central Air
  • Washer/dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 18×12
  • Bedroom #2: 12×11


Biggest Story of 2014: Will Chicago Home Prices Continue to Rise?

According to Case Shiller, Chicago October home prices rose 10.9% year over year, the fastest increase in 25 years.

However, compared with September, Chicago prices actually declined slightly.

From the Chicago Tribune:

“The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index also showed though, that compared with September, home prices in October fell 0.5 percent, following a month-over-month gain of 0.3 percent from August to September. The monthly decline ended a seven-month run in which local home prices rose compared to the previous month.

Home prices in the Chicago area were on par in October with their February 2003 level before the housing crash and post-crash, in December 2009.

The news was also good for Chicago-area condominium prices, which rose 14.2 percent year-over-year in October but were flat compared with September. Area condo values were akin to their levels in late 2002 as well as in August 2010.”

But mortgage rates are now significantly higher than they were this time a year ago.

Will home prices continue to rise in 2014?

Or will it be a bifurcated market with the upper bracket still seeing increases, due to low inventory, but middle and lower middle class housing prices stalling out as consumers simply can’t absorb the higher rates?

Will more homeowners decide to try and cash in- easing the inventory crunch?

Chicago home prices jump by biggest margin since 1988 [Chicago Tribune, Mary Ellen Podmolik, December 31, 2013]

Second Biggest Story of 2014: You’d Better Have a “New” or “Renovated” Property to Sell in 2014

In 2013, the market was dominated by stories of renovated homes selling almost instantly. Builders also reported brisk sales on new products.

But even with low inventory, sales of fixers lagged. (And I’m not talking about foreclosures.)

This 2-bedroom vintage unit at 621 W. Addison in East Lakeview came on the market in August 2013.

Built in 1916, this top floor unit has many of its original features including crown molding, arches, floors and an arched ceiling in the dining room.

It is a co-op in a building with 27 units.

The listing says it has great bones but needs “some TLC.”

It doesn’t have central air (window units only) but you can have an owner owned washer/dryer in the basement of the building.

There is also a 1.5 car private garage available for $50,000 extra.

Originally listed at $249,900, it has been reduced $50,000 to $199,900.

If you throw in the parking, wouldn’t a spacious 2/2 for around $250,000 be a deal in this neighborhood?

Will properties that aren’t “new” continue to lag in sales in 2014 despite low inventories?

Courtney Welsch at Baird & Warner has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed
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  • I couldn’t find a prior sales price as it’s a co-op
  • Originally listed at $249,900 in August 2013 (parking $50,000 extra)
  • Reduced twice
  • Currently listed at $199,900 (parking $50,000 extra)
  • Assessments of $788 a month (includes water, gas, taxes)
  • Taxes appear to be $2934 (included in HOA)
  • No central air (window units only)
  • No in-unit washer/dryer (but owned w/d available in the basement)
  • Bedroom #1: 15×13
  • Bedroom #2: 13×12
  • Dining room: 18×12
  • Living room: 20×13
  • Sunroom: 12×8


Third Biggest Story of 2014: Will the Apartment Market Stay Red Hot?

The apartment rental market in the GreenZone in Chicago was red hot in 2013.

Occupancy rates in Class A buildings were above 95% for the first three quarters and only started weakening, but only slightly, in the fourth quarter.

But thousands of new luxury rental apartments are slated to come on the market in 2014, adding to inventories.

Average rental prices rose to record highs in the luxury rental towers but also spiked out in the GreenZone neighborhoods for non-luxury apartments.

This 24-unit building at 2215-2221 N. Clifton in Lincoln Park came on the market in October 2013.

It actually is a 24-unit condo building that has banded together to try and sell to an investor as one big rental building.

Located just north of Webster, it is in the heart of the DePaul neighborhood.

The building consists of:
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  • 20 large 1-bedroom units
  • 4 2-bedroom duplexes
  • 24 outdoor parking spaces behind the building

Built in 1896, the building has some of its original woodwork in the common areas.

There are only a select few pictures of the interior of the units. That will vary based on what each condo owner has done with their unit.

The listing doesn’t say anything about washer/dryers in the units.

The listing estimates the monthly income based on neighborhood rental rates at $50,200.

Originally listed at $8 million, it has been reduced to $7.8 million.

Will we see more of this in the future- with condo owners deciding to go rental and selling out to big-time investors?

And what price will it take to sell this building?

Hillary Levy at Baird & Warner has the listing. See the listing here.

2215-2221 N. Clifton: 24-unit building
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  • Is a collection of condos that is converting to an apartment building
  • Originally listed in October 2013 for $8 million
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $7.8 million
  • Taxes of $125,500
  • Monthly estimated income of $50,200
  • Total annual estimated income: $549,512


Chicago Market Conditions: November Home Sales Buck National Market Trends By Rising

November home sales managed to do in Chicago what most other metropolitan areas haven’t seen: they rose.

From the Illinois Association of Realtors:

The city of Chicago saw a 0.1 percent year-over-year home sales increase in November 2013 with 1,800 sales, up from 1,798 in November 2012. The median price also rose to $200,000 versus $180,000 in November 2012, an 11.1 percent annual increase.

The city of Chicago continues to see a steady increase in median home pricing to $220,500, year-to-date, versus $185,000 January through November 2012.

Here is the November sales data for the last 7 years (thanks to G for some of the data):

  • November 2007: 1859 sales and median price of $290,000
  • November 2008: 1093 sales and median price of $222,500 (16% short/REO sales)
  • November 2009: 1905 sales and median price of $215,000 (29% short/REO sales)
  • November 2010: 1144 sales and median price of $182,500 (39% short/REO sales)
  • November 2011: 1429 sales and median price of $157,000 (43% short/REO sales)
  • November 2012: 1750 sales and median price of $180,000
  • November 2013: 1800 sales and median price of $220,500

“This November was reflective of a typical autumn month of sales in Chicago, the real difference being the inventory of homes available, which was down 27.1 percent from this time last year,” said Matt Farrell, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and managing partner of Urban Real Estate.

“Chicago is continuing to see buyers contemplate their future needs; however, the inventory available in 2014 will ultimately dictate the opportunities available for those looking to make a move,” Farrell added.

No, I really don’t understand why the number was 1750 sales a year ago but in today’s press release it is 48 sales higher.

“As with many other markets, the Chicago and Illinois housing sales dipped into the negative range after 29 months of positive growth, but prices continued to inch forward,” noted Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory of the University of Illinois. “One of the greatest concerns in the housing market is the shrinking inventory of lower-priced homes presenting a challenge to lower income households many of whom are paying upwards of 50 percent of their incomes on rent.”

These are good numbers compared to what is happening in other cities.

With prices having rebounded about 15% in the Chicago metro area year over year, will inventory finally get a boost this spring?

Illinois home prices continue trend of strong annual gains in November despite lower housing inventory statewide [Illinois Association of Realtors Press Release, December 19, 2013]

Did the Remodel Pay Off? Gold Coast 1-Bedroom Sells: 21 W. Chestnut

We last chattered about this completely customized 1-bedroom in 21 W. Chestnut in the Gold Coast in October 2013.

See our prior chatter here.

If you recall, it had extensive built-ins in both the living room/kitchen and the bedroom which created a ton of extra storage space.

This unit was also remodeled with luxury finishes.

It had 6-inch hand-scrapped white oak floors.

There was Lagamorph custom white cabinetry.

The kitchen had luxury appliances such as Miele and Viking.

There was also Ann Sacks tile and marble.

The unit had all the features buyers look for including central air, in-unit washer/dryer and parking was available for $35,000 extra.

However, the property still recently sold for $390,000 which was $25,000 under the 2006 purchase price.

Does it pay to remodel condos with luxury finishes in this market?

Deborah Hess at Conlon had the listing. You can see one of the interior pictures here. (Or if you have a Redfin account, sign on there.)

Unit #1704: 1 bedroom, 1.5 baths, 878 square feet
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  • Sold in September 1999 for $216,000
  • Sold in November 2000 for $305,000
  • Sold in August 2001 for $285,000
  • Sold in August 2006 for $415,000 (included the parking)
  • Was listed in October 2013 for $375,000 (parking is $35,000 extra)
  • Sold in December 2013 for $390,000 (included the parking)
  • Assessments of $584 a month (includes heat, a/c, doorman, cable)
  • Taxes of $4691
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom: 17×12
  • Foyer: 6×5