Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Western Springs home sales remain steady year to year

Clients of our occasionally move back home to their Western Springs/ La Grange roots. We helped our clients buy this home in Western Springs in 2017. 

Several of our clients grew up in the suburb Western Springs, Illinois. Occasionally clients who bought their first Chicago condo with us will decide to head back to live closer to their parents (and "maybe" get a little childcare help). This year a South Loop faithful home owner is eyeing their suburban roots.

Western Spring Single Family Home Sales (Jan 1st to May 19th)
Western Springs has fared well during the current pandemic market. 64 single family homes have closed in Western Springs this year. The median price of a closed home is about $587,000. The highest priced sale is 5132 Woodland, Western Springs IL 60558 for $1,925,724. The top three sellers are new construction homes. The lowest priced sold home is 3911 Garden Avenue, Western Springs IL 60558 for $170,000. The home was marketed as complete gut renovation or tear down.

Over the same period of 2019 (Jan 1st to May 19th) 65 homes sold with a median price of about $615,000.  Unit sales were almost identical to last year (65 to 64). That's a surprising fact when many people in the market paused by mid March. May? June closings may be affected if less homes went under contract in April.

36 Western Springs homes are currently under contract with a median asking price of about $669,900. 55 homes are currently listed for sale with a median asking price of $690,000.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

YESTERDAY, a quirky Wrigleyville mainstay, set to be demolished


The YESTERDAY building at 1143 West Addison is under contract and will be demolished. A building permit was issued... yesterday... for a new construction three-flat all too common in the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Lakeview. I stopped over today with my two youngest sons for a few last photos.

Frame multi-unit rental buildings still hanging in there on each side of YESTERDAY. They probably get an offer everyday to sell for a larger development but now the contingent lots are broken up.

The property sits on a 25'x122' lot zoned RT4 and is under contract with an asking price of $599,900 according to the MLS (we won't know the final price until the closing is recorded). There are a good number of newer construction three-unit condo buildings lining West Addison. However, many frame and grey-stone multi-units remain along with vintage grey-stone and brick single family homes along this path to Wrigley Field. There is still some charm in Mudville.

You get a glimpse of newer construction three-flats to the left background of the photo.
The median price of a sold condo on the 1000-1600 blocks of West Addison is about $400K over the last 24 months while the highest priced condo sold for $912,000 over that period.


About four years ago my oldest son bought a pack of 1987 Topps baseball cards and tried the gum! It was not chewable. This may be my last favorite iconic dump in Wrigleyville to bite the dust.  First Yum Yum Donuts that use to be in front of Wrigley Field and now YESTERDAY.

Monday, May 11, 2020

East Lincoln Park grey-stone sells for $2,200,000, will be demolished


438 West St. James Place is scheduled for demolition (All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)
Another East Lincoln Park vintage grey-stone will be torn down. 438 West St. James Place was purchased in 2019 for $2,200,000. A demolition permit was issued at the end of last month and I noticed the fences up yesterday. I do not see any building permits yet for the address. The 33'x146' lot size with RM-6 would allow for a large new construction home. I could also see a high-end four-flat developed here.

The home is adjacent to a large multi-unit to the west and the Mansueto mansion garage entrance to the east. 
The vintage grey-stone was fully renovated circa 2000. The desirable lot sits between the vintage multi-unit building to the west and the newer build Mansueto mansion to the east. Here's a post I did about that house and the area in 2015. The house was sold to Dio Realty LLC... I'm a bit surprised Mansueto did not buy the property (assuming Dio Realty is not associated but I could be wrong).

The Mansueto mansion takes up half the block.

The modern colossal sit among mostly vintage homes on St James Place.
400 block of West St. James Place neighbors

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Lincoln Square / Bowmanville two-flat on 60' wide lot sells for $950,000, torn down for new condos

New construction condos at 2046 West Foster. Top floors have rooftop decks with very nice views of Winnemac Park. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty.
A six unit condo building nears completion at 2046 West Foster in the Bowmanville neighborhood of Lincoln Square. The property has nice views overlooking Winnemac Park. The attractive vintage two-flat building that formerly sat on a 60' wide (better than double lot) had sold twice since 2017 and then was torn down.

2046 West Foster in Lincoln Square was sold twice in two years then developed. The original two-flat had was attractive and appeared higher-end in construction than the average brick two-flat. The wide double lot made it even more desirable.
2046 West Foster a 60'x 125' lot with existing two-flat was sold in 2017 (apparently before it went to open market ) for $725,000. $362,500 per 30' wide lot is a decent deal in Lincoln Square even for busy West Foster Ave. considering the potential for development (the original property was zoned RS3 single family of two-flat). Up-zoning to larger multi-unit on this stretch of Foster is usually common and approved.

The property was sold once again in 2019 for a hefty $950,000! Again it was sold prior to going to the greater market on the MLS.


The property overlooks Winnemac Park. Not the best photo of the park on a grey day. Soccer field in the foreground. The top floors will get really nice views of the changing colors throughout the year.


The six unit building nears completion. I have not been able to locate any advertising for the units for sale as of yet.
104 condos have closed to date this year in Lincoln Square (Jan 1st through April 10th). The median price of a closed condo is $312,000. 125 condo units sold over the same period of last year with a median price about $302,000. 

The top floor units will probably be listed in the low mid $600s. A top floor newer construction three bedrooms, two baths condo with rooftop deck just down West Foster similar to 2046 W Foster sold earlier this year for $615,000.

Monday, May 04, 2020

Lincoln Park Q1 2020 condo sales up 8%... then there's April

The Orchard condo homes in Lincoln Park are taking full shape as part of the Lincoln Common development. 32 units are advertised starting around $1.5 million. 
First Quarter Lincoln Park sales were looking good. 215 Lincoln Park condos (attached units, townhouses) closed in First Quarter of 2020. That's up 8.6% from First Quarter 2019 (198 closed).
April was the first full calendar month of sales since the Illinois stay-at-home order took effect.

April condo closings in Lincoln Park were down 28%. 111 condo units closed April 2020.  154 units closed April of 2019. For some perspective:

  • April Lakeview condo closings were down 6%. 
  • Near North April condo sales were down 40%.  
  • Lincoln Square had 34 condo closings in both April 2019 and 2020. 
  • North Center had the same amount of April closings with 42 units closed in both 2019 and 2020.


We've been busy in Lincoln Park over the First Quarter of 2020. Lately we have been doing showings for an out of state client that needs to move to Chicago.  We've conducted video walk-through tours (with my commentary) to the enjoyment of our buyers. A couple condos we showed near the end of April sold within the first couple weeks of listing on the market. Some folks are taking advantage of low mortgage interest rates and better values than they would have found in the beginning of the year.

April 2020 Near West Side / West Loop condo sales (unit sales down 40%)

Views from the West Loop (All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)
The Near West Side Community Area rests just west of the Loop and is home to the very desirable West Loop neighborhood. We've helped buyers, sellers and renters for many years in West Loop and the surrounding burgs. We took a look at Near West Side over-all April condo sales numbers in light of the coronavirus outbreak.  It's the first full calendar month of sales since the shelter-in-place order.


Near West Condo Sales 2020
The affects of the coronavirus took hold in April 2020.  Near West units sales were way down from a typical April. 110 units closed in April 2019. Just 66 units closed in April 2020.  Unit sales were looking good in the First Quarter of the year (January through March). 214 units closed First Quarter in 2020 with a median price of $351,750. 201 units closed in First Quarter 2019 for Near North with a median price of $420,000.

January 2020, 45 condo units closed down 5 units from January 2019
February 2020, 53 units closed up 9 units from February 2019
March 2020, 85 units closed up 10 units from March 2019
April 2020, 66 units closed DOWN 44 units from April 2019.

My guess is we'll see unit sales down near 50% this year around Chicago.  Anecdotally speaking, several units I've showed clients over the past two weeks did go under contract without a price reduction.

Check out our newest listing in West Loop


Thursday, April 30, 2020

Working during the coronavirus outbreak Eric Rojas, Kale Realty



Some of you know me and my family very well. For those who don't... I'm married to a Pediatric Nursing Director and we have four kids ages 13 years old to 5 years old. Since the closing of school facilities March 13th and "things" hit the fan my wife has been working A LOT and  I've been in full time charge of our kids E-Learning and well being. The kids have had an amazing attitude through most of this. The parents? Up and down.

That said my business partner Bob and our team at Kale Realty are working at full capacity.  We've had some interesting showings, home closings and conversations with clients. Otherwise, it is business as usual... without seeing people LOL.  We miss our clients, associates and friends. Please know we are only a phone call, text or email away and will provide resources and answer questions. If you find yourself needing or wanting to buy, sell, rent or renovate we will help. 

Mortgage interest rates are way down and Chicago home prices will be a better bargain than the start of the year. If you are looking to buy a home for the long term or re-finance you can do fairly well right now.  We have also seen attractive condo and house listings sell fairly quickly.  We know the number of real estate transactions will be way down this year and many of us will have reduced income due to the pandemic (our family included). Now more than ever we can help make educated decisions.




Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Lincoln Park vintage buildings on the 800 block of West Altgeld sell for $3,700,000, survive demolition

838-846 West Altgeld yesterday. These interesting vintage apartment buildings were purchased in 2018 for $3,700,000 and are in the process of gut renovation. 
Early this year we noticed work on these Lincoln Park vintage rental buildings at 838-846 West Altgeld.  Great clients of ours lived here about 12 years ago! The two building property sold in 2018 for $3,700,000 (according to public records, not on the MLS).  The facades are preserved. Interior renovation permits were issued to rehab and add duplex-down to the basement for a couple units. We're not clear if they will be converted to condos or remain rental apartments.


The cul du sac block is just west of North Halsted Street. This makes it a somewhat peaceful location right off a multitude of restaurant, bars, shopping and everyday services Lincoln Park delivers in spades.


The median price of a sold condo on the block is over $650,000 over the past two years.  A small three unit building needing rehab on a 59' x 83' sold for $745,000. Three condos are currently under contract on the block and three are actively for sale.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Landmark Lincoln Park vintage 3-flat sells $1,930,000, now converting to single family home

A Jameson/ Sotheby's sign posted at 2130 N Cleveland suggests a single family home is "Coming Soon" to the market.
This gorgeous Lincoln Park three-flat in the Mid-North Landmark District sold last year for $1,930,000.  A "Coming Soon" sign tells us 2130 N Cleveland will be converted to a single family home. A permit was issued in February for "interior demo only". It's a good thing the structure and facade are being conserved. Proposed renovations and new construction in Landmark Districts face greater scrutiny.  Personally I'd rather see it stay as a three-flat but thus is life in Lincoln Park.

What a beauty!
To many folks the architecture of  vintage multi-unit  buildings defines Lincoln Park as a special neighborhood in Chicago and the country.  Multi-unit buildings are a cherished way of life that help make city life vibrant. Loads of small multi-unit buildings have been demolished or converted to single family homes in Lincoln Park.  Many large residential apartment buildings have been built around the neighborhood in the last ten years replacing density. Losing so many these originals is still a shame. 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Tropical Smoothie Cafe to open in Lincoln Square Kiddie Academy building

A "Now Hiring" sign at the Lincoln Square location of Tropical Smoothie Cafe at 4847 N Lincoln Avenue.  The restaurant was to open in April and shares the new construction building with Kiddie Academy 
We passed the new Tropical Smoothie Cafe on one of our walks this week in Lincoln Square.  The location shares the new construction building with Kiddie Academy where beloved Lincoln Lanes once stood.  It was the first time my wife and I noticed the cafe was coming to town.  It is unclear if the restaurant will still open this month as scheduled. We're looking forward to checking it out when it opens up.

The new Kiddie Academy and Tropical Smoothie Cafe
The building is adjacent to the busy McDonald's. Parents will have to fight off their kids' Happy Meal cravings... the smoothies may come in handy.  I know many neighbors were disappointed a daycare replaced their local neighborhood bowling alley and Matty K's Hardware. Now the spot features two national franchises. When the vacant lot was for sale I was hopeful the entire corner lot shared with the McDonald's would get a re-design with a larger multifaceted development including residential units. 
The McDonald's plaza adjacent to the new Tropical Smoothie Cafe and Kiddie Academy building.  The large surface parking lot is an eyesore. I hoped the whole plaza would get redeveloped with a larger multi-use concept and residential units.