Friday, January 31, 2014

Photos! North Center's Golden Angel site making way for new Lou Malnati's

The Golden Angel Pancake House sign "frozen" in time on Wednesday at 4344 N Lincoln Avenue (All photos Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker Kale Realty)
I stopped by the new Lou Malnati's construction site in North Center during my very long and enjoyable walk around the neighborhood Wednesday. Alderman Pawar's office reported on Facebook January 23rd "zoning for a new Lou Malnati's located at Lincoln and Montrose just passed committee!".  The popular deep dish pizza company will help improve the corner and anchor an already popular business and residential area.

Mixed use condo and apartment buildings line the 4300 block of North Lincoln Avenue overlooking the Lou Malnati's construction site. The residents enjoy convenient retail, restaurants, services and transportation.

The "triangle" site of the new Lou Malnati's at the bustling district where North Center meets Lincoln Square at Welles Park. Reports are the original structure will be torn down for new construction building.

 There had been a little controversy surrounding the proposed outdoor café along the Leavitt side of the property shown below.  The west side of the Lou Malnati's property faces pricey single family and row homes.  Malnati's wanted 60 seats outdoors... that has been scaled down.

The location is fantastic. Lots of driver traffic from Lincoln and Montrose Avenues.  The restaurant will be surrounded by other successful businesses Tiny Lounge, Julius Meinl and Monty Gaels.  More importantly, the family friendly chain is adjacent to Welles Park where sports league participants (young and old) will surely flock to the restaurant.  Not to mention Old Town School of Folk Music, Sulzer Library, The Davis movie theater and so much more nearby.

The Lou Malnati's on Roselle in Schaumburg was my favorite restaurant as a kid when our family moved from the city to the burbs. The "old timey" building felt like we were going to a cool house to eat.  We've also been really impressed with the newer Gold Coast location.

The Lincoln and Montrose intersection of North Center and Lincoln Square has become a powerhouse destination!

New condo construction across the street.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Under Contract! First-time buyer moves quickly on Lincoln Park condo near the CTA Brown Line

We recently represented a client on a purchase contract for 1050 W Diversey #2.  The newer construction two beds, two baths unit with garage parking showed great at an asking price of $369,000.  Our client jumped on the first day of showings for the property. 

The building at 1050 W Diversey in Lincoln Park.  Great location near the Diversey Brown Line, Lincoln Park Athletic Club, Sheffield and Diversey Starbucks and scores of shops, bars and restaurants. The condo has terrific unobstructed south exposure for great light.

Another similar unit nearby priced exactly the same also sold on the first couple days. A quick action secured the condo before a multiple offer common in this price range.  The contract is currently in attorney review and inspection.

LSAC across the street among many, many area amenities.
Seeing property and understanding what will move quickly in this current market helped our first-time buyer client make a confident decision.  Although fewer properties are listed in December and January it still can be a good time to purchase a well priced, quality home.  Even in our freezing weather, the demand is out there waiting for the next good place.   We've personally represented several transactions over the last December and January that were listed and sold quickly.

New renovation of gorgeous Lincoln Park "short-sale" greystone

We snapped a photo of this terrific greystone at 533 W Belden in Lincoln Park last week.  The property sold as a short-sale all cash to a real estate development company in May 2013 for $930,000.  A very good deal and PRIMO location.  Renovation of the property is underway.

Photo Bob DePalma, Real Estate Broker at Kale Realty
Building permits at Chicago Data Portal call for the renovation of the existing building per plans at an estimated $380,000.  I don't immediately see any zoning request information.  It looks like it may remain a multi-unit investment but it could also be a conversion to a single family home (let us know if you know... ya know?).
56 Lincoln Park multi-units  (2-4 unit buildings) closed in Lincoln Park for the year 2013 with a median price of about $800,000.  533 W Belden is one of the better combinations of architectural curb appeal and location.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Esquire Barber Shop in Andersonville

Barber Justin Albrecht (All photos Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker)

Bob's been going to Esquire Barber Shop in Andersonville for awhile. I've been complaining about my haircuts forever and Bob told me to "just get over there already!". I finally got in to see Justin Albrecht a couple weeks back for an awesome (and efficient) shorter cut, watch a little tennis... and hot the towel!  You can follow Justin HERE. Smart dude.

Make an appointment NOW online at

Esquire Barber Shop, 1511 W Foster Ave in Chicago

Monday, January 27, 2014

The coolest renovation in Ravenswood (right now)

Doblin Residence renovation in progress.  I took these photos on a frozen day last week (All photos Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker Kale Realty).

The modern renovation of a former commercial building at 5017 N Ravenswood is getting a second story (and adding to the history of this excellent property).  View our past post with links about the original development HERE.

The Doblin Residence is a great example of some of the cool gems located along the North Ravenswood corridor. 

The second story addition also reflects the increased popularity and rising home values in the northern Ravenswood area.  It makes a lot of sense for the enjoyment of the owner and resale of the property to increase the interior square footage at this location.  We wish the owners a successful and uneventful construction process.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

View Chicago building permits, crime, potholes (and such): Chicago Data Portal

If you're a nosy neighbor and curious about a construction building site (single family home, commercial etc..) or pot hole fillings last week go to the City of Chicago Data Portal.

5011 N Oakley shown here (well, it use to be here) has a building permit for renovation, new second story and back decks at an estimated $130,000. I looked it up using the City of Chicago Data Portal. Photo Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker at Kale Realty
The data portal for building permits is located direct at this link.  I often look up information when clients have questions about development near a property they are interested in for example.  As neighbors we look up the developer permits to make sure they are within the scope of their project.  Recently, neighbors halted work on house with an "interior renovation permit" for estimated $80,000.  The house was suddenly torn down without permit and neighbors stopped the project.

First-time buyer nabs hot Lincoln Park two bedroom condo with parking, sales up

Our first-time buyer client recently went under contract on a Lincoln Park two bedroom condo.   Her 2001 built two bedroom, two bath unit with garage parking was listed at $369,000 and we jumped quickly. Another almost identical unit nearby listed at the same time and price also went under contract immediately.

 One of the better values we viewed was 2333 N Geneva Terrace listed by Grace Volk, Baird and Warner  (All photos Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker Kale Realty)

One of the nicer condos we viewed but did not offer on is at 2333 N Geneva Terrace 6C asking $379,000 with a $335.00/ month assessment.  The condo features two sizable bedrooms, two baths, a master suite, two terraces and dedicated outdoor parking. Laundry is located on the same floor but not in the unit.  The block is quintessential Lincoln Park block amongst original brick and stone buildings.  I'm usually not a fan of 1970s built condo buildings but this place somehow blends into the block and is in great condition.  In other words, it's a nice looking building.

2333 N Geneva Terrace is a rare boutique elevator building with 20 units on a quiet residential street.  Most elevator buildings are located on busier mixed use throughways or in high-rise buildings.  The light and views in the condo are fantastic.  A real wow factor. The style wasn't quite right for our client but we all felt this is one of the best values considering price/ assessment and taxes for a unit under $400,000 in Lincoln Park.

Great views for this location looking north to south along the lakefront

The 2300 block of North Geneva and surrounding blocks feature attractive original buildings and well kept properties. There is an older "East Coast" feeling in this area.

Two bedroom, one bath condos with designated parking 2013
48 condos closed with exactly two bedrooms, one bathroom and a designated parking space. The median price was about $290,000.  36 units sold in 2012.  Several of these sales have parking listed but it's secured rental parking with a fee.

The lowest priced unit sold was a foreclosure at 2430 N Southport Unit #1F for $135,301 cash.  The small unit was in the back or a converted frame unit.  However, that's a great deal with instant cash flow for the investor or cheap living in a good location for the new owner.

The highest priced two bedroom, one bath with parking sold was 1872 N Clybourn #503 for $395,000.  This was a larger than average loft space near all the North/ Clybourn/ Halsted retail and restaurant action.

Two bedrooms, two bathroom condos with designated parking 2013
308 condos with exactly two bedrooms, two bathrooms and designated parking closed in 2013.  The median price was about $405,000 for the year.  Several of these sales are listed with dedicated or available rental parking with a fee.

The lowest priced sale was at 1850 N Clark Unit 1103 for $162,500.  The hi-rise unit has a $912.00 per month assessment  and parking is rental  at an additional fee in the building.

The highest two bedroom, two bathroom sale was at the all new luxury high-rise at Lincoln Park 2550 for over $1.3 million.  The 1500+ sq/ft unit located at 2550 N Lakeview Avenue features full amenities such as elevator, doorman, pool and exercise facilities.

Currently for sale:
Six two bedroom, one bath units with designated parking are currently listed from $299,000 to $485,000 (with a couple good deals in the mix).   64 two bedroom, two bath units with designated parking are listed for sale from $259,000 to $1,442,000.

It's getting tough to find a Lincoln Park condo with at least two bedrooms, a parking spot, outdoor space and assessment under $350.00 is getting tougher under the $350,000 budget. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

"CHILLY" but good: Home sales up 30% in northern Ravenswood/ western Andersonville

This guy loves living in the Ravenwood/ Andersonville area (seen at Winona and Ravenswood). All photos Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker, Kale Realty
It's cold! But home sales were hot in 2013 (I said it).  The northern portion of Ravenswood and western portion of Andersonville mesh to form a terrific and distinct community. It's located in three community areas of Chicago: Lincoln Square, Uptown and Edgewater. Those seeking parks, transportation, retail, new and old restaurants, diversity (in many ways), a "Green" mentality and a little quieter residential experience will enjoy the grounded, yet, convenient city life north of Lawrence Avenue.

The northern Ravenswood, western Andersonville area defined by the major streets Lawrence to Peterson and Ashland to Western.  The area straddles the Metra line and benefits from the fantastic commercial areas of Andersonville's North Clark Street on the northeast and Lincoln Square's North Lincoln Avenue at the southwest (and the spillover from both). Map generated from
Single family home sales

82 homes closed in the above boundaries (Lawrence to Peterson and Ashland to Western) with a median price of $555,000 in 2013.  This includes houses along the major streets of Western and Ashland that sell at a discount from interior streets.  Sales were up 30% over the same period in 2012 while median price id up $100,000 over 2012.

A median priced house at $550,000 in the area will most likely be a small to mid-size (1500-1800 square feet above grade) move-in ready three bedroom home.  Larger  4 bedroom+ homes at the median price and in locations closer to transportation or the retail strips will require structural renovation work or substantial updates and repairs.  Many properties sold under $450,000 are now torn down for new construction or completely gut renovated.

5034 N Ravenswood built in 2007 (second house from left) sold quickly for $1.275 million in 2013.
The highest sale hit $1.5 million at 1650 W Winona.  This new construction home on a 37.5 foot wide lot is steps from the Andersonville action. The increasingly high profile and popularity of Andersonville has certainly impacted new construction activity and home prices. 

Million dollar sales

Eight homes in these boundaries topped the $1 million sales price for 2013 and nine more homes topped $900,000.  The highest sale was $1.5 million in 2013.  In 2012 five homes topped $1 million with $1.3 million the highest sale.  Only two more homes topped $900,000.

Watch some of my Ravenswood area and property videos going back seven years.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A sunny and safe winter walk at Winnemac Park, Ravenswood

Amundsen High School sits on the northeast portion of the Winnemac Park campus
All photos Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker at Kale Realty

Winnemac Park has a nice circuit of paths to walk, run, bike or cross country ski (as appropriate).  The sun was out yesterday and the main paths around the park were cleared.  It was time to shake the weather blues and get out for a walk no matter what!  Walking the park was a relief from the slippery, sloppy roads and sidewalks.

The main paths were cleared after another snow episode.

Going off-road in the snow was good exercise.

No stadium track today at Jordnt Field.

Click to check out more of my property videos around Winnemac Park.

Lincoln Park snowy house sales

A spectacular double-lot Lincoln Park home at the 2200 block of North Orchard steps from Oz Park (not for sale). Photo Eric Rojas, Broker Kale Realty
We were out over the weekend (during another snow event) looking at Lincoln Park single family homes. Only three Lincoln Park homes have closed in January thus far. 

2329 N Greenview closed for $905,000, 2517 N Bosworth closed for $1,360,000 and 2250 N Janssen for $2,430,000.  All homes went under contract at the end of 2013.  The low amount of house closings this January reflects low inventory for market price single family homes at the end of last year.

Winter wonderland on North Orchard in Lincoln Park (not for sale). Photo Eric Rojas, Broker Kale Realty
Under Contract
25 homes are currently under contract with a median asking price about $1,800,000. High end homes look to be doing very well.  Two new construction homes are under contract for over $5 million and $6 million respectively.  Three homes are under contract for over $4 million and four more homes are under contract for over $3 million.

A gorgeous expanded brick cottage on a wide lot located at the 2300 block of North Geneva in Lincoln Park (not for sale).  Photo Eric Rojas, Broker Kale Realty

Currently offered for sale
54 homes are currently listed for sale in Lincoln Park. The architectural styles, features and lot sizes of Lincoln park homes vary greatly.   Of those for sale, only one two bedroom house is offered for under $1 million dollars.  The median price of homes offered is about $2.5 million.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Developer renovation begins on Lincoln Square foreclosure house

5011 N Oakley in Ravenswood, Lincoln Square (All photos Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker Kale Realty)
5011 N Oakley was listed as a foreclosure and closed in October of last year for $360,150 cash.  The listing price was $294,900 for the small original property on a narrow 20' wide by 128' long lot. 
The owner is listed as
Jjb Real Est Investments LLC, 626 W Randolph, Chicago


The building permit for the property calls for a new second story, a two-story addition off the back, new decks and new masonry garage.  The estimated cost on the permit is $130,000.  It does not appear any variances were requested.  Hopefully this developer will be a good neighbor.  The bungalow at 2236 W Carmen had an interior renovation permit estimated at $80,000 and then the house was torn down (and construction halted by neighbor complaints).

There were five single family home sales between the 4800 and 5200 blocks of North Oakley in the past 12 months.  Two houses closed for over $800,000, one closed for $945,000 and one for $1,010,000. 

I think 5011 N Oakley was a good deal.

Monday, January 20, 2014

"Urban Chalets" and North Park Chicago single family home sales

The various North Park neighborhoods are home to blocks full of classic brick home with fantastic architectural details. Find your large or small custom Georgians, Tutors, "urban chalets" and octagon bungalows with great curb appeal here (all photos Eric Rojas, Broker Kale Realty).

The North Park community area is home to many enclaves of brick homes on quiet leafy streets. I like to describe some of the charming brick homes as "Urban Chalets" due to their Swiss, Austrian and German village influences.  

Various architectural details give many North Park homes a mountain chalet feel.
The neighborhood is tucked away just northwest of Lincoln Square and south and east of Sauganash/ Forest Glen.  North Park is a great neighborhood for those working at Northeastern Illinois University, Swedish Covenant Hospital, North Park University, various CPS schools or institutions along the North Shore just outside of Chicago.

62 single family homes closed in the North Park neighborhood in 2013.  The median price is about $270,000.  Homes in the median price range will typically be smaller 3 bedroom homes that need updating.  However, I consider many of the homes under $300,000 to be move-in ready and very pleasant as well.

A super charming North Park corner brick cottage with an addition located near Northeastern Illinois University.
Unit sales have remained very consistent since 2010 (between 48 and 63 house sales a year).  Median prices were up about $20K over 2012 prices. Median price was $300,000 in 2010, dipped to $248,000 in 2012 and back up to $270,000 last year. Median price has been pretty stable in general.

North Park offers move-in homes or renovation opportunities in a much more liberal price range than many North Side neighborhoods that are close to Lincoln Square amenities.  You CAN have your house and a yard in a pleasant, leafy city location!

Tre Kroner Restaurant patio... a gem!

Please contact me and Bob if you are looking for a house on the North Side and want to explore your options.  We are experienced home owners and Real Estate Brokers and will help you find value.

Check out some more North Park details and photos HERE with YoChicago

H and R Block flash mob! in Lakeview

Bob gets a show crossing West Belmont this weekend
The good people of H and R Block in Lakeview want to remind you tax time is coming.  File in City Living.

Busy, popular Dolce Casa Cafe in Ravenswood

Locals around Winnemac Park in Ravenswood love Dolce Casa Café 4947 N Damen Avenue on a cold day.  I love eating and working here when the home office is packed with my wife and kids on their days off.

A busy Café Dolce Café on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The café serves unique food along standard coffee drinks.  In addition to an old school café experience, Dolce Casa and it's proprietor Ross Outten have become sort of a neighborhood institution in a short period of time.  It's common to see Dolce Casa sponsor or host neighborhood groups and fundraisers.  There is often live music too.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Weird home improvement need? Clark and Devon "Do It Best"!

I needed a few spindles for my vintage brass doorknobs and lock sets.  I go here!

The Clark and Devon Hardware at 6401 N Clark Street on the North Side is famous for it's expertise in all things home improvement and construction.  The place has a pretty legendary chaotic atmosphere of contractors and property owners speaking dozens of languages. 
One of the overlooked services we provide our real estate clientele is sourcing materials and property related information.  Resources like Clark and Devon Hardware, Studio 41 for finish products and design, Tile Outlet and Crest Lighting, A and B Hardwood Flooring, contractors, attorneys, and mortgage brokers help our clients purchase, sell and make home improvements with confidence.

Under contract! First time buyers nab East Village duplex in multiple offer

Our first time buyer clients have recently secured a contract on 934 N Wood #1 in East Village.  The asking price is $519,900 and is listed by Jeff Lowe, Prudential Rubloff.

Photo Bob DePalma, Real Estate Broker
The property received multiple offers.  Bob and I were able to turn around a contract immediately after the showing... while our clients were headed towards the airport.  We try to educate our clients and prepare them for this very situation so things will go smoothly come offer time.

We attended the property inspection today. The contract is currently in attorney review.

Long time home inspection pro Gene Bobrov of Accu-Spection International provides a summary for our clients at 934 N Wood.  Gene can be contacted at
We look forward to a positive home purchasing experience for our first time buyers (and look forward to happy clients).

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Condo unit sales in "gritty" Old Town up 22%, median up $25,000

We looked at a renovation opportunity on the 1500 block of North Orleans in Old Town on Sunday.
We viewed a two beds, two baths unit at the above building 1500 N Orleans asking $325,000.  The unit is being advertised as needing a "full renovation". I agree and its a nice project for the right buyer to live-in and add value.  No parking is available with the unit. The building faces the elevated tracks and the block still has an old Chicago feel. (All photos Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker).

The 1500 N Orleans is right around the corner from tony North and Wells.  The building catches the eye with it's ornate bay windows and larger stature than it's modest neighbors.  But, the CTA Brown Line train tracks run across Orleans and then adjacent on the east side of the street leaving a gritty urban imprint (lest you forget where you are).

Looking south down the 1500 block of Orleans. Half the block is developed with newer construction buildings.
 Condo sales in the Old Town boundaries in 2013: 

From The Old Town neighborhood is bounded by Division St (1200 N) on the south, North Ave (1600 N) on the north, Clark St (100 W) on the east and Clybourn Ave and Larrabee St (600 W) on the west. Visit for neighborhood boundary maps!

272 condos and attached units (town homes) closed  in 2013, up 22% over 2012 unit sales.  The median price was an affordable $250,000.  But that price is a little misleading for the area.  Many of the sold units are very small high-rise units with high assessments on the eastern portion of Old Town (LaSalle Street  and Sandburg Village buildings for instance).  223 condos with median of $225,000 sold in 2012

... and the not-so-gritty Old Town on North Wells Avenue (Photo Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker)
The highest condo sale was at 1515 N Wells #6E for $1,690,000.  The 1999 has 3600 sq/ft on one floor, 5 bedrooms, 3 parking spaces and views, views, views.

The lowest sold condo was 1360 N Sandburg Terrace #2009 for $115,000.  The floor floor studio/ junior one bedroom has terrific south city views and a $322.00 assessment.

Old Town is one of our favorite neighborhoods to work with clients.  Meeting for drinks or dinner after some business is easy!