Monday, March 30, 2015

Sold! Buyer client ditches Mayberry, goes modern in Wicker Park/ Noble Square duplex-up

I took this photo during one of our property visits checking out the construction progress.  The ultra modern duplex-up unit looks over a 41'X27' private deck that spans the entire length of the unit. Photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
We represented the buyer purchase on 1113 N Ashland #3N, Chicago IL 60622 closed for $685,000. We recently sold our client's condo in Mayberry like Lincoln Square. She traded up for the new construction three bedrooms, two and one-half baths condo with two attached and heated garage spots. The condo features a ridiculous outdoor space for ultimate indoor/ outdoor living. The location is steps from some of the best bars, eating and music venues in the city.

Dusty Groove and tons of independent shops, bars, cafes and music venues surround the condo. Photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty.
New construction, two garage spots and proximity to the CTA Division Blue Line were important must haves that sealed the deal. Even more important the condo is located across from long time vintage music selling institution Dusty Groove at 1120 N Ashland, Chicago IL 60622. Oh yeah.

We wish out client the best in her new modern home with much shorter commute to work. Groovey.

House hunters find value at 450 W Briar in East Lakeview

The converted condo building at 450 W Briar, Chicago IL 60657 is located in bustling East Lakeview near the lakefront and Belmont Harbor. Photo Bob DePalma and Eric Rojas, Brokers, Kale Realty
Recently featured on HGTV House Hunters an updated 450 sq/ft junior one bedroom unit at 450 W Briar sells for $135K. In the last 12 months another three full one beds (larger units) sold for between $205-215K. Right now, there are two junior one beds under contract (one a short sale), three full one beds under contract and one active unit available with deeded parking.

The building features an underground garage (deeded parking spots sold separately and not necessarily offered with a unit), roof deck and fitness area.

450 W Briar is near the lakefront (Google Maps)
 We've sold several properties on the 400 block of West Briar in East Lakeview. We love the location and the properties on the street!

Controversial Crain's article on Lincoln Park population debunked?

Crain's published a much debated article on "population loss" in Lincoln Park this week. 

Looks good to me! Views from the Lincoln Park Conservatory of Lincoln Park West's mini skyline. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
Many Crain's reader comments lament the population woes throwing the Alderman, pensions, zoning procedures, NIMBY's.  In short, most people's gut reaction was gloom and doom for the "dead zone" that is Lincoln Park.  There is clearly room for better process in zoning and development in Chicago overall. However, the "pile on" to the article is surprising.

Why do so many reader comments on the Crain's story feel the city is doomed based on Lincoln Park (and other affluent north side neighborhoods of the city) population?

Read a measured counter point from
Crain's deeply misleading article on Lincoln Park's population loss

Lincoln Park 2550, the 218 unit luxury building at 2550 N Lakeview, Chicago IL 60614 was completed (on the site of a former parking garage) well after the 2010 census.
The Crain's author makes a lot of assumptions, and in my opinion, is unrealistic in terms of accessibility of real estate in general.  It is unrealistic for anyone to be able to afford any community they desire at any given time. This goes for tony suburbs and vacation spots as well. The author also assumes Lincoln Park to be more desirable to most people than other parts of the city (or suburbs I guess).  It also assumes that a large population that wants to live there is priced out.

Here's where the author's observation that the Lincoln park population is declining morphs into his larger argument:

"The fact that Chicago's affluent North Side communities have lost so many people and aren't gaining them back is a huge problem for many local businesses, current residents of moderate means and anyone who would like to move there but can't afford to.

But even if none of that describes you, it's also a problem for those of us who'd like to see City Hall have more resources to invest in other parts of the city, from policing, to schools, to transit, to road repair. It's a problem for those of us who'd like to see more jobs created within commuting distance of Chicago communities where unemployment is endemic. It's a problem, in other words, for all of us."

Webster Square rental apartments has added 75 units alone after the 2010 census.  100 more units are coming with the construction of an adjacent condo building.

The Children's Memorial site re-development will add more than 700 units to Lincoln Park. My guess is we may see a population increase in Lincoln Park from 2010 to 2020 with the likely addition of at least 1,500 new units. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty

 There are no statistics cited correlating Lincoln Parks population "decline" (again, it's actually increased from 1980-2010 by 12% and has lost only 206 people from 2000-2010 according to with a decline of tax base or sapping resources for the entire city.  There are no statistics cited that suggest Lincoln Park was better off when it's population was around 100,000 in 1950 rather than with today's steady 64,000. From YoChicago: 

Anyone who’s familiar with the history of Lincoln Park knows that large parts of the neighborhood had fallen into slum conditions by the 1950s and 1960s. Many of its properties were overcrowded, in part due to illegal conversions, in part due to an almost complete lack of new construction from the beginning of the depression-era to the years immediately after World War II. The City used urban renewal funds to clear some of the worst areas, including what is now Oz Park and the large townhome developments north of North Ave. 

Is there a problem in Chicago where you have impoverished neighborhoods with less economic development and resources? Yes and it's as serious and alarming as at any time.  However, I don't think the population trend of Lincoln Park (and other "affluent" neighborhoods) is the deterrent to development throughout the city. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Long winter at Ravenswood Metra station, new shelter to open in May

Ravenswood Metra stop at 4800 N Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60640. Photo taken from Mariano's late March. The new station shelter is completed just south of this platform but is not open yet. Photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
No relief for Ravenswood Metra Union Pacific North riders exposed to the elements with the recent spring cold snap. CBS Local reports the newly built shelter is not open yet due to a delay installing the new tracks.  The new projected opening is for May.  Bring your umbrella for April showers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Photos: Full speed ahead for Lakeview's new Mariano's at 3030 N Broadway

Site preparation continues on the 10 years vacant lot at 3030 N Broadway.  Mariano's and XSport Fitness development are reported to occupy the site. All photos Bob DePalma and Eric Rojas, Brokers, Kale Realty
The long awaited development at 3030 N Broadway, Chicago IL 60657 moves forward.  Bob snapped a couple photos today after a business visit to the Lakeview neighborhood.  The densely populated neighborhood isn't exactly a food and gym desert but the new Mariano's Fresh Market and XSport Fitness should prove popular among the city dwellers nonetheless.

The Mariano's is projected to be open in  June of 2016.

Where's Jerry? Lincoln Square Jerry's Sandwiches yet to break ground

A new Jerry's Sandwiches location was hoping to open in the high profile Fountain View building location on Giddings Plaza, Lincoln Square by spring / June. (All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty).
All is quiet at the proposed Jerry's Sandwiches location at 2326 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago IL 60625.   A handful of high profile Lincoln Square restaurants have taken their sweet time to materialize - or fizz out - after initial announcements. Roots Pizza anyone? 

It's understandable that "issues" delay openings... but people get really pumped up around here when well known entities contemplate moving into the neighborhood. They want gratification!  It looks like Jerry's Sandwiches will take a little more time too.

The attractive storefront overlooking the plaza... the final piece yet to be realized to an amazing European city center atmosphere. The space is still a vacant "box". Should be a Jerry's!

It could have been a Flatbred! Whew.
Condo sales in Fountain View
On a related note the price tag to live above quality sandwiches and gelato at the 2326 W Giddings condo building ain't cheap. Median price of the last three two bedrooms, two bathrooms is about $414,000.

I have a couple emails in to sources close to Jerry's and hope to get an update.  Feel free to email me direct as well (comments moderated).
UPDATE 3/26/15: 47th Ward office states the restaurant is still in "permitting process and working through some things with the city.  No known timeline for an opening yet.

PHOTOS! Lakeview's most awesome play lot, Margaret Donahue Park, nearing prime time

I snapped a few photos of Lakeview's new Margaret Donahue Park at 1230 W School Street, Chicago IL 60657.  Check out the background story by DNAinfo.

Looking northeast (all photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty except where noted).
The neighbors must be ecstatic. Residential single family homes, condos and townhouses flank the large park site that once was home to an industrial building.  Personally, I've felt Lakeview, for all it's benefits and lakefront parks, has lacked green space and open play space in it's interior where more single family homes are situated. This is a major victory and will be a very popular meeting place for the community.
The former Swartz Products building originally sat vacant for many years (Photo from Greenview Realty, Inc). There was a listing on the MLS as late as 2010 offering the 4.5 city lot property for $2,600,000. According to public records Openlands acquired two addresses at 1234-1236 W School for a total of $1,150,000 in 2011.  The Chicago Park District acquired the property in 2013.  I don't know of any other land purchases but $1,150,000 would be easily less than half of market value today.

Looking northwest.
Image of the completed park.
The groundbreaking was August 8th, 2014
A new construction single family home at 1238 W School, Chicago IL 60657 adjacent to the park is under contract at $2,500,000 according to  The original property sold in 2014 for $650,000A town house development built in the early 1990s at 1220 W School sits on the east fence of the park. One town home in the development is currently under contract asking $534,900. 
No end to luxury new construction single family homes around Lakeview.
An industrial building sits across from the park. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Attractive properties, condo sales on the 1400 block of North LaSalle, Gold Coast

The red vintage building at 1400 N LaSalle, Chicago IL 60610 (far left) had a recent sale for $510,000. The twos beds, two baths unit has many original features. Sorry, no central or air or parking included with the unit and assessment creeps over $500.00. (All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)
We had a client appointment at Sandburg Village last week along the 1400 block of North LaSalle. The west side of the block is home to a group of new and vintage buildings along an unassuming stretch of far west Gold Coast.  The attractive looking homes can be easily missed when zipping down LaSalle.

Prices for two bedrooms, two baths condos easily exceed $500,000 on the block. 

The striking newer build or gut renovated single family residence  at 1404 N LaSalle features carriage style attached garage doors. The property was last sold as a "red brick Victorian" multi-unit in 1997 for $350,000.

1418 N LaSalle to the left was built in 2008 replacing an artists single family home and coach house.  The new condo residences sold for over $1 million at the time and I have not seen a resale yet.  1422 N LaSalle on the right is a larger building built in 2004 with sales ranging from the $400s to $1.2 million.

Several vintage homes exist among the new builds.

1430 N LaSalle shown below has had several re-sales in the past two years.  The 14 unit courtyard style building offers duplex and triplex condo units with warm finish level. Closed prices have ranged from $620,000 to $700,000.
Can't say I'm crazy about the look of this 1995 built courtyard building at 1430 N LaSalle, Chicago IL 60610 but it offers unique, spacious units in Gold Coast/ Old Town.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Edison Park single family home unit sales up 40%, median price up 12%

We recently helped clients secure a single family home in the Edison Park neighborhood. Sales took a decent jump over the first quarter over the past few years.  Here's a look at over-all home sales in the far northwest Chicago community area.

Raised ranch homes in Edison Park (photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)
Edison Park Single Family Home Sales January 1st to March 20th, 2015 

21 single family home have closed thus far in Edison Park. The median price is about $315,000.  Unit sales are up about 40%.  The median price generally gets you a small raised ranch or a frame house in need of many updates. Over the same period last year 15 homes closed for a median price of about $280,000.

The lowest priced home to sell is 7755 W Columbia, Chicago IL 60631 for $220,000.  The foreclosed raised ranch may have had a "squatter" situation creating risk and downward pressure on the price of the home.  It still sold fast.

The highest sold homes by far this quarter is 6850 N Olcott, Chicago IL 60631 for $895,000. This was also the highest priced home sold in the first quarter (year to year) over the past 5 years. The custom built new construction home sits on a 50' double lot.

Edison Park unit sales and median price are trending up over the last 5 years.
2015:  21 homes closed for a median of $315,000
2014:  15 homes closed for a median of $280,000
2013:  11 homes closed for a median of $280,000
2012:   8 homes closed for a median of $275,000
2011:   7 homes closed for a median of $255,000
2010:   13 homes closed for a median of $250,000 (Unit sales numbers were boosted by first time home buyers tax credit in this price point)
2009:   7 homes closed with a median of $220,000

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Realtor at work: Dormer this old house!

We met with clients and contractors early this morning to start planning a home renovation in Edison Park.

The old staircase won't do!

The buyers want to dormer the house. As brokers we can gain access to the home during the transaction prior to closing. We also help source contractors and materials when needed.

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