Saturday, November 29, 2014

Holidays in full swing in Chicago

Christmas trees from around the world at The Museum of Science and Industry.

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Go do something fun.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Photo! Construction rises on former Hunt Club site in Gold Coast

We snapped this photo early today of construction at 1100 N State Street in the Gold Coast neighborhood.
 After some legal delays construction of the mixed use development of the former and infamous Hunt Club bar and grill is underway.  The Gold Coast location at 1100 N State Street, Chicago IL 60610 can't be beat for retail and entertainment.

Pockets of development along Lincoln Square's Western Avenue

The commercial zoned property 5100 N Western Avenue, Chicago IL 60625 is listed under contract in the MLS asking $699,000.  The former Karaoke bar and restaurant sits on a 75' wide x 112' deep lot. I have inquired to the 40th Ward Alderman's office if there are development plans in the works. (All photos Bob DePalma, Broker, Kale Realty)

Western Avenue is Chicago's longest continuous street.  It's effectively a four lane highway from the South Side to Evanston.  While mostly an industrial and retail thoroughfare with some spotty underdeveloped areas some buyers and developers have turned to the cheaper property prices to meet demand in hotter neighborhoods.

Four blocks of North Western Avenue from 4800 North to 5200 North (Lawrence to Foster) in Lincoln Square/ Ravenswood has been active.  19 properties have either sold of are currently under contract over the last 12 months. Two are currently for sale. 5100 N Western Avenue shown in the above photo is under contract asking $699,000. My guess is it will be torn down to build a new apartment building mirroring several successful new construction buildings along Western Ave.

This frame renovated two-flat at 5141 N Western Avenue, Chicago IL 60625 on the left closed just two weeks ago for $415,000 (sold previously in 2011 for $215,000). 

The former Fruit Market at 5131 N Western Ave, Chicago IL 60625 (on pictured on the right) has been in development for over a year.  I have an update request in to the Alderman's office on the hold up.  The house on the left at 5139 N Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625 on a 37' wide and 103' deep lot is currently offered for sale at $649,000.

Another notable property sold is 5009 N Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625 for $560,000.  The renovated three-flat building fronts the sidewalk has a stated rent roll of $3,700 on the MLS listing. The property is two blocks to the main shopping and entertainment district of Lincoln Square.

Lakeview town house sales up, median price up over $50,000 since 2012

Town homes on the 3800 block of North Southport in Lakeview.  3842 N Southport, Unit L, Chicago IL 60613 located in Blaine School district (next door) is under contract asking $850,000.
I was in western Lakeview last week consulting clients on their town house sale planned for the New Year. Town homes can offer flexible space to more comfortably meet the needs of home owners.  The vertical layout can offer more privacy, versatile rooms (like lofts and family rooms), private rooftop decks, patios, small yards and attached garages that many single floor condos can not. Large town homes are often sold in multiple offers when priced reasonably among comparable homes.

Lakeview town house sales January 1st to November 22nd 2014 

114 town house units have closed in Lakeview from January 1st to November 22nd, this year. The median price is a healthy $509,000 up 6% over same period last year. 105 units changed hands over the same period in 2013 with a $480,000 median price.

The sales and median price increases account entirely for re-sale units.  To my knowledge, there have been no new construction Lakeview town house developments for years.

2014    114 town house units sold, median price $509,000
2013    105 town house units sold, median price $480,000
2012    96 town house units sold, median price $460,000
2011    77 town house units sold, median price $445,000
2010    95 town house units sold, median price $471,000
2009    82 town house units sold, median price $482,500

We listed and sold a unit in the popular Sweeterville development at 1251 W Fletcher, Unit I, Chicago IL 60657 this year. The asking price was $499,000 and sold at $526,000 in a multiple offer.  Our clients bought at $485,000 in 2010 and invested about $10,000 in renovations.

The Chicago housing market took a sharp turn UPWARD from 2011 to 2013. These prices remain very stable and sometimes up from 2013-2014.  Developers and home buyers rapidly purchased single family homes and small 2-4 unit multi-unit buildings at what now are considered huge bargains after the 2008 financial crash. People turned to large attached homes as an alternative to stay in their desired city neighborhoods.

Growing demand from confident consumers and investors, low inventory, improved schools in desirable core neighborhoods and available cash pushed up prices for "fee simple" homes and most property over the the past three years.  Attached town houses and large condos also followed this trajectory. 

Neighborhoods like North Center, Logan Square, Lincoln Square, Lakeview, venerable Lincoln Park and South Loop really have become very competitive to purchase in.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Realtor at work: It's electric!

We are on a property inspection today in Sauganash for our buyer client.  We knew the original fuse box in this 1950s single family home would need updating at some point.  Although these panels can work properly and safely it may limit installing additional appliances.  One should also check with their home owners insurance to make sure the fuse box is properly covered.

North Center's new drive-through Starbucks

You now have a local option to never leave your car...just in time for winter.
I took a spin through the new North Center Starbuck's drive-through at 3636 N Western Avenue, Chicago IL 60618 early Sunday morning a couple weeks back.  The new retail development also featuring a Potbelly Sandwich shop opened about a month ago.  There are a few remaining retail stores available. It's a nice addition for the North Center homeowners just west of Western Avenue.

I was through the drive quickly (about 8:00am on my way to Oak Park for some house showings).  I would usually hit the Dunkin Donuts at Irving and Western traveling southbound on North Western Avenue. We'll see how this personal coffee conflict plays out.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Walgreens rise in tony Lincoln Park locations

Construction at the new Walgreens drugstore at 843 W Armitage, Chicago IL 60614 (Photos Eric Rojas, Bob DePalma, Brokers, Kale Realty)
Walgreens may not be sexy but they sure can secure sexy locations.  I've been working in the Sheffield and Armitage area of Lincoln Park over the past few weeks and snapped a photo of the new Walgreens construction at West Armitage and North Dayton.

We posted about the sale of the property- formerly a Baptist church.

The empty lot at Armitage and Dayton in January of this year.
We also noted another well located Walgreens opened earlier this year at 2500 North Clark Street, Chicago 60614.  The store moved into the vacated space left by the Lincoln Park Market.

Walgreens at 2500 N Clark Street, Lincoln Park, Chicago 60614
We often here these types of stores in the neighborhood are the "suburbanization" of the city.  However, we grew up with a Walgreens "down the street" in Chicago I think there is a more balanced affect on the higher priced neighborhoods. The store chain meets demand and has some street cred too.

Sauganash Chicago single family home sales: Unit sales lower, prices UP 12.5% in the 60646

We negotiated a single family home purchase in the Sauganash neighborhood this week. The re-locating client who works in Streeterville was tempted by the burbs but quickly discovered that commute is no bueno! She was interested in the Forest Glen community area.  The Forest Glen area and the Sauganash neighborhood are favorite places to research and represent home buyers. The area offers diverse homes and  price points in attractive neighborhoods.

The Sauganash neighborhood is filled with unique, character filled homes.  The winding and angled streets set the neighborhood apart from typical city grids.  The aesthetic is very pleasing.
Need or want to stay in the city? Lincoln Square and North Center single family homes have priced you out? Need a well rated public elementary school? No problem.  It's time to look in the Sauganash neighborhood.

Sauganash boundaries as mapped by Sauganash is bounded by Bryn Mawr Ave (5600 N) and C&NW tracks north to Devon Ave (6400 N), Pulaski Rd (4000 W) and C&NW tracks west to Cicero Ave (4800 W)
 Sauganash Single Family Home Sales January 1st to November 14th, 2013

63 single family homes closed in Sauganash so far this year with a median price of 12.5% at $480,000.  78 homes closed over the same period last year with a median price of $427,000.  Once again we see a case of lower unit sales in the tight inventory market of 2014 but higher median prices.

The lowest priced house sold this year is 6105 N Lowell, Chicago IL 60646 closed at $205,000. This small two bedroom bungalow was pretty original from the late 1950s but looked like you could just paint and actually move in.  A nice location in a very good school district for $205K!

The highest priced home sold thus far is 6141 N Lemont, Chicago IL 60646.  The sprawling executive ranch on a 124'x124' lot (!) sold for $915,000 in May. Interestingly the property was purchased by revered institution Misericordia Home.

For sale, under contract

22 homes are currently listed for sale in the Sauganash neighborhood. Listing prices range from $365,000 to about two million (the "lower end" priced homes are move in quality which makes this a good value neighborhood). 9 homes are priced under $500,000.

Eight homes are currently under contract.  Prices range from $249,000 to about $700,000.  The lower end homes in this range can also be moved in quality (not tear downs). 

The lowest home under contract is a short sale at 6330 N Kedvale, Chicago IL 60646 for $249,000.  The basic three bedrooms, two baths small brick bungalow is in good shape on a double wide lot (55"). I expect it will sell over the $250,000 asking price.  It appears to be a tangled up short sale process taking a long time to get sale approval from the lenders (this depresses the price).

Call us to stay in Chicago and widen your home search!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Oak Park single family home sales (south of I-290). Units down, median price up 12%

We've been in Oak Park showing houses the past couple weekends.  One client is looking for a "move up" house.  We represented them in the purchase of a house just over three years ago.  Two kids later - and with more purchasing power - they'd like to trade up.  A second group is looking for their first house and will move out of Chicago.

The quiet car-free streets of Oak Park on a weekend morning.  Oak Park has a "no overnight" parking ordinance.

Our client's current house is located in the Oak Park area south of I-290 (Eisenhower expressway).  Most of the houses we are looking at for a purchase reside in the southern area too. 

Oak Park sales south of I-290 between Austin and Harlem
Oak Park single family home sales January 1st to November 14th  (south of I-290)

85 single family homes traded hands so far this year. The median price is about $326,000 (up 12%  from last year). 110 units sold in 2013 over the same period. But median price was only $290,000. Oak Park is like many areas of the Chicago and the suburbs this year with low inventory (sometimes meaning lower unit sales) and higher prices.  

The highest sale price in 2014 is $685,672 for 1036 S Clinton Avenue, Oak Park IL 60304.  The fully gut renovated home on a double lot (50' wide) was originally sold as a foreclosure is 2013 for $252,000.

The lowest priced sale this year was $130,000 at 1173 S Ridgeland, Oak Park IL 60304.  The small stucco bungalow needs a complete renovation.

2014   85 homes sold with a median price of $326,000
2013   110 homes sold with a median price of $290,000
2012   72 homes closed with a median price of $289,000
2011   49 homes closed with a median price of $290,000
2010   54 homes closed with a median price of $300,000 (Federal First Time Home Buyers tax credit in effect)
2009   72 homes closed with a median price of $310,000 (Federal First Time Buyer credit in effect)

I always find myself in Oak Park in early and late winter months as clients plan their moves.  Photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
See you in Oak Park!

Photo: Icon, former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne shuts down Michigan Avenue

A line of Chicago's finest stretches down North Michigan Avenue as far as the eye can see. One of those moments when you remember where you grew up and that you're part of something unique here in Chicago. Photos Bob DePalma, Broker, Kale Realty

Just now.  Headed to Streeterville to write a purchase offer with a client when we stopped to view former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne's funeral procession down North Michigan Avenue.  The Chicago icon lived near East Chestnut and North Michigan

Only fitting we see a "Blues Brothers" like scene today.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Progress in Albany Park's development with "P-Streets"

StreetsBlog Chicago wrote a good piece about P-Streets and development in the 33rd Ward's portion of the Albany Park Community Area.

 Our client bought a twat o-flat 4517 N Sawyer Chicago, 60625 earlier this year for $375,000 in a multiple offer situation.  The property is in excellent condition and located just around the corner from the bustling Wilson and Kedzie Starbucks, the Kedzie CTA Brown Line stop, popular Noon-a-Kabob, Andy's Fruit Ranch and more.  The home is located just west of Ravenswood Manor and the river in Albany Park.

I've lived in Albany Park in the past and have written about buyers, listings and the market there from time to time. The eastern part of Albany Park around North Kedzie between West Montrose and West Lawrence had always, to me, a lot of development potential.  Start with the fact there are two CTA Brown Line stops at Kedzie and Kimball.  There is a lot of density with multi-units and the potential for many more housing units along Kedzie.

A long time Starbucks anchors the corner of Wilson and Kezie

Here is a list of five reasons to live in northeast Albany Park I wrote some time ago.  These and many other reasons remain the same.  With developments and designations such as P-Streets, long time business owners investing and the continual push in Chicago north and west for land to develop... this busy and diverse commercial area could see it's next bump in real estate values.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Video! Lincoln Park's landmark "Wrigley Mansion" is for sale again

The "Theurer-Wrigley House" at 2466 North Lakeview Avenue, Chicago 60614 in Lincoln Park, a designated Chicago landmark, is for sale again asking $8,695,000 (listed by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff). 

 Joe Zekas of takes a very interesting video tour of the the property back in 2011 that included an occupant of the house.  

At that time, the home was listed for sale for $9,500,000 from 2011 to 2012 A Lis Pending Foreclosure was recorded in 2011. The market has certainly improved since 2011 with Lincoln Park land and properties selling at record per square foot amounts according to some local builders. We wish a happy sale for a true Chicago treasure.

Home buying tips: Can you buy a Fannie Mae HomePath property?

The housing and financial crash of 2008 created difficult situations (hoops) for property owners, buyers, investors, sellers, lenders and real estate professionals (moi).  HomePath by the quasi-governmental agency Fannie Mae is basically a government program to help stabilize the housing crisis by quickly selling vacated homes (attained by foreclosure, deed in lieu of foreclosure or forfeiture).   Long story short on HomePath: The government owns the homes and enlists brokers to sell them.
Bottom line: HomePath has a national inventory of properties and you may buy them. The purchase process does not proceed like a "conventional" property sale. One of the best features is that home buyers looking for their primary residence get "First Look".  This allows you the opportunity to purchase a home you want to live in without the competition of investors looking to "flip" the house or rent it out.

As Real Estate Brokers Bob and I are experienced in consulting our clients on a strong, effective offers for HomePath properties.  We complete the cumbersome offer package quickly so your offer is considered. We immediately handle responses from the listing brokerage. Responses can go back and forth for some time.  Quick experienced actions will give you the edge in foreclosure purchases.

This long time deserted home in the Ravenswood neighborhood could end up on the roles of Fannie Mae and in the HomePath inventory one day.  It will sit until a bank or entity gets control of the home and lists it for sale.

HomePath properties are listed with real estate brokers on the local MLS just as all other listed properties.  There is no secret stash that you can buy.   I would send you these listings in the same manner as most homes.  However, you may also use the HomePath site to search their specific inventory.  This is helpful if you are interested in properties in other states or like to specifically deal with vacant homes and the "First Look" advantage.

We handle many different types of purchase scenarios.  Just ask!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Next stop... Gotham River

A friend just sent this photo at the Lawrence CTA Red Line stop at 1117 W. Lawrence Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640 in the Uptown neighborhood.

Check out more Batman v Superman photos at Curbed Chicago

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Realtor at work! Evaluating renovations and three bedrooms, two baths condo prices in Lincoln Park

I visited a property yesterday on the 2000 block of North Dayton in Lincoln Park (60614 zip code).  The condo is located in a fantastic spot near the tony Halsted and Armitage shopping and dining district and resides in well rated Mayer School district boundaries.  We research, show and sell many Lincoln Park properties and have a good feel for market prices.

The 2000 block of North Dayton in Lincoln Park (Photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)
 One of my main contractors Jon Hill of Artistic Construction and I were asked to evaluate if certain renovations would provide a better net return on a three bedroom, two baths condo sale. In this case, less was more.  We did not feel the proposed renovations the owner had in mind would net them much more on the sale after the initial investment. It would be a close call if they'd make more back than they would spend.  This takes into consideration the carrying cost of a vacant unit while the work is done. 

I felt other features of the condo (or lack thereof) that could not be changed would limit the top price the owner was hoping for. We suggested a different route for preparing the home and presented reasonable expectations should the owner list the property for sale.

Three bedroom, two baths condo sales in Lincoln Park (60614) January 1st to November 7th

Sales for popular three bedroom, two baths condo homes have trended way up over the last few years. 55 of this type of unit sold in 2011 while 117 of these units sold same period 2014

117 three bedroom, two baths attached condos sold so far this year in Lincoln Park. Unit sales of this type of condo are up 39% (84 units sold same period last year in 2013).  The median price is up as well at about $550,000.  The median price same period 2013 was about $502,000. 

In 2012, 70 units sold from January 1st to November 7th with a median price of only $455,000.

2011 saw 55 three bedrooms, two baths condo units sell over the same period with a median price of about $495,000

We listed and sold 1307 W Wrightwood #106 this year for $575,000  The newer construction West Lincoln Park three bedrooms, two baths unit sold for over the median price (photo Eric Rojas and
Homes in the $550,000 price range this year are usually newer construction builds or recent gut rehabs, have a private outdoor space and a parking spot is included. 

68 of the condos sold this year in the "West" Lincoln Park area (west of North Halsted Street) with a median price of $565,000.  Approximately 39 attached three bedroom, two baths condos sold in the "East" Lincoln Park area (east of North Halsted Street) with a median price of about $550,000. 

Typically East Lincoln Park units will cost more per/square foot or have a lesser finish level at the same price compared to West Lincoln Park. Contact us to evaluate, buy, sell or rent properties in Lincoln Park.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Photos! Controversial Edgewater retail development taking shape on Broadway

There goes the neighborhood.  Photo by Bob DePalma and Eric Rojas, Brokers, Kale Realty
The long vacant and dilapidated parcel of land along the 5200 block of North Broadway in Edgewater is well into development.  There is some good background and a "before" photo at StreetsBlog Chicago.

The land formerly owned by Piser Weinstein Funeral Home (5206 North Broadway, Chicago IL 60640) had exchanged hands a few times.  According to my MLS records at one point the entire parcel 462'x125' was listed for over $8,00,000 in 2008 and by 2012 dropped to just over $5,00,000 asking.  The property was foreclosed.  A sale record for 2013 states the land sold at $1,500,000.

While some nearby neighbors did not want to see a large multistory development other stakeholders (including the Alderman) reportedly did not want to see a one-story type strip mall either. 

A recent story confirms a PetSmart and Chipotle will move in to the retail space.

One positive note is the new retail strip Near the West Foster and North Broadway intersection may provide a few extra restaurants and services to bridge the gap between the lake and the dreamy Andersonville Clark Street strip four blocks to the west.  In any event this is another example of the major commercial, mixed use and large parcel development BOOM in the North Side neighborhoods from Lincoln Park to Edgewater.

Live on the Edge! (shop at PetSmart)

Fun Cafe Tola turns two years old on Southport Corridor

Cafe Tola 3612 N Southport, Chicago 60613. All photos Eric Rojas and Bob DePalma, Real Estate Brokers, Kale Realty

Our favorite small business along Southport Corridor turned two years old this week. Congrats!  Check out Cafe Tola's great Facebook page to keep up on what's cooking!

This place hits on a lot of the flavors I knew growing up. Keep Chicago interesting by eating and drinking at Cafe Tola!

Monday, November 10, 2014

New web site Chicago Cityscape for development, permit data

 I'm always looking for research tools to help me and our clients with property information.  Some sites are just plain fun if you are a nosy neighbor or geeking out on real estate.

Curious about this development?  Try Chicago Cityscape
I came across a new online resource for checking on local Chicago developments, permits and properties. Chicago Cityscape provides aggregated information on properties by entering the address in their search box. Permits, property tax data, violations,maps and links are some of the data that pops up in one place.

Another cool feature is a list of nearby construction permits and property information accompanies your initial search results.  It's a good, quick primer on developments for any particular area of interest.    

Brought to you by Steven Vance and the awesome Steven Can Plan blog.

La Colombe Coffee Roasters coming to Andersonville soon

La Colombe comes to a vintage corner building at 5158 North Clark.   Photos Bob DePalma, Broker, Kale Realty
The attractive and classy La Colombe Coffee Roaster cafe is closer to opening in the Andersonville neighborhood just south of Foster.  Bob snapped this picture with the cafe name up in the windows over the weekend.  The Wicker Park La Colombe, to me, definitely has a different almost exclusive feel than the many surrounding cafes.  I'd compare the atmosphere to a heady craft beer establishment rather than your common pub.

The large corner space shares a great block with venerable Hopleaf and Konak Bar and Grill next door. La Colombe is a nice addition to the southern end of the Andersonville that serves new (and newer) residential developments on North Clark between West Lawrence and West Foster.  The cafe will also serve the many residential buildings and houses just west of North Ashland Avenue that make up a nice area of Uptown/ Ravenswood.  Those residents will have a shorter walk to a quality cafe.

Click here to check out condo sales numbers on this strip of North Clark Street in Andersonville.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Photos! Belgravia's 50 West Loop condos sold out in pre-construction

Under construction.  The successful run continues for Belgravia with CA: Condos on Adams.
 We were viewing a West Loop condo at the Promenade 1201 W Adams Chicago IL 60607 last week when we walked past the CA development under construction.  The large luxury condos are sold out according to the Belgravia web site

Road hog.  Condos on Adams under construction adjacent to the recently completed CA3 condos by Belgravia just to the east.
I don't know about you... but to me it says something about the West Loop and this market to pre-sell a 50 unit building with prices starting at $624,900. Pretty good.  The highest priced unit under contract in the building (listed on the MLS) is a "top floor combined top floor" at $1,689,800.

I spoke to a long time real estate advertiser and client vendor of Belgravia this week.  We both agreed the development company has been on a tear!

West Loop three bedrooms or more condo sales 2014

198 three bedrooms or more attached condo units have sold to this date in the West Loop Community Area.  The median price for a three bedroom plus unit is about $600,000.

This photo isn't great but you get a fantastic view of the iconic Willis Tower straight down West Adams. It's those little things that keep me excited about everyday living in Chicago.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Bowmanville Half Acre Beer Company construction photos, update

Half Acre Beer Company was hopeful to have production up and running in new Bowmanville location in October of this year.  Things are taking longer but the massive renovation is well under way. Photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty

The building at 2050 W Balmoral features a unique "U" shape with interior courtyard and parking.

The Lincoln Square/ Ravenswood community looks forward to a great new neighbor and business. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Seen in downtown: Robot butler delivered on Mag Mile

Photo this afternoon by Bob DePalma, Broker, Kale Realty
The beginning of the end or just Mag Mile crazy? Beep beep.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

$360,000 foreclosure sale is the next Ravenswood million dollar home

We recently pointed out the construction fencing around 5150 N Claremont in the northwest Ravenswood/ Lincoln Square neighborhood.  The property was sold as a foreclosure for $360,000 in 2013 and later deeded to an LLC for development.

5150 N Claremont is now listed for sale pre-construction by Sergio and Banks Real Estate on the MLS asking $1,099,000.  Looks like a good opportunity to pick out some finishes and make customizations without the stress of building the whole thing on your own. 

If you are interested in buying homes in the Lincoln Square/ Ravenswood area please contact us anytime.  We are aware of other off-market homes in the works now and other times throughout the year.

Trumbull School development in Andersonville: Thursday November 13th meeting at Trumbull

Photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
Trumbull Development meeting Thursday November 13th, 6:00pm Edgewater/ Andersonville neighborhood  5200 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60640.

A community meeting to discuss development proposals for the recently closed Trumbull School building will be held Thursday November 13th 6:00pm at the school. The Edgewater/ Andersonville community has been very engaged in the future of the large and ornate property.

Please visit 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O'Connor's web site for a list of proposed developments and meeting updates:

Real estate in the 4 block radius surrounding the school has been very strong.  The Andersonville retail and cultural community around North Clark Street is a huge draw with something for for almost any Chicagoan to enjoy.  There have been many nearby recent residential and commercial developments in the past two years including town homes and new condo construction along Clark Street, the Mariano's and LA Fitness and the Ravenswood Station apartments (150 units). Not to mention several new construction and gut renovated single family homes.

27 single family homes sold in the 4 block radius of Trumbull over the past 12 months. The median is $700,000 over that time.

168 condo units sold over the last 12 months with a median price of $312,900.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Weather bad? Kid's Island in Lincoln Park

Stanley plays with buddies in the indoor sandbox at Kid's Island in Lincoln Park.
The winter weather sends shivers down parents' spines... and it's not only the cold weather.  It is the prospect of entertaining our kids over the months of darkness. Every little play area and niche helps.  On a cold, rainy early October day our au pair and youngest checked out Kid's Island in Lincoln Park.

The kids had a great time over the better part of two hours. A two hour pass is $12.00 for the first kid, $10.00 for each sibling and you can check the many updates at their Facebook page.  The location at 1358 W Webster is fantastic.  Lots of lunch places (Potbelly!), a movie theater and Clover play-lot (in good weather) are steps away from the cafe.

The twist of this place is for the parents. A cafe featuring Julius Meinl goods and nail spa round out the offerings while the kids play.

Realtor at work: The coffee shop buddy system

The coffee shop buddy system is imperative for sales road warriors, study sessions, loungers and free WI-Fi hoarders.  We are brothers and sisters at the cafe. Photo last month at Dolce Casa Cafe in Ravenswood (Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty).

Here's to you coffee shop buddy for watching my stuff while I use the washroom.  I will always pay it forward with a wink, nod and total attention to your laptop and messenger bag.

Condo sales in West Loop's Skinner West school district: Prices up

We were viewing properties  in West Loop a couple weeks ago near the well regarded  Skinner West school at 1260 West Adams.   (All Photos Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker, Kale Realty)

The school campus sits on the east end of Skinner Park.  The Skinner West school district is basically a large square just west of the river extending to South Ashland on the west border and West Kedzie to the Eisenhower expressway (290) north to south.

Approximate Skinner school district.  There is a small portion of the northeast corner of the shaded area above that is actually out of district (that resides in Ogden school). 
This particular West Loop area located in Skinner West school is already know for restaurants, tech, tons of housing development, production industries (Harpo Productions) and proximity to major employers in the Loop.  This combination of desirable school, nightlife and industry usually makes for pricey homes in Chicago.

Here's a look at condo sales in the Skinner West neighborhood attendance boundaries so far this year.

Residences across from Skinner West at the corner of South Throop and West Adams.
Three or more bedrooms unit sales January 1st through October 31st

125 units with three or more bedroom closed so far in 2014. Unit sales are up 37% over same period last year.  The median price is a robust $682,000.  91 units sold over the same period in 2013 for a median price of about $590,000.  Median price of current sales is up almost $100,000 year to year.  Price is reflective of what was available for sale but also signals a strong market for larger, higher end units.

The lowest priced  three bedroom unit sale this year  is 222 S Racine Unit 607 for $376,000.  The historic Daily News building unit included deeded garage parking and great outdoor space.  The large 93 unit building came with a $501.00 assessment (includes heat).

The highest priced condo sale in the Skinner school district this year is 122 South Aberdeen Unit 6N for $1,601,844.  The new construction penthouse unit is listed at over 4,200 sq/ft and features a private elevator.

 Two bedroom unit sales

319 two bedrooms units sold thus far in 2014 (down 7%).  However, the median price is up about $25,000 over last year at $3750,000.  343 units sold same period in 2013 with a median price of about $350,000. This may be reflective of the high demand and low mortgage interest rates running into lower inventory.  Most new buildings completed have been strictly rental apartments making popular (and more affordable) two bedroom quality condos a little more rare.  Prices of the offered units pushed up a little.

One Bedroom unit sales

Converted lofts cut from industrial buildings and a spattering of high-rise and mid-rise buildings provide a good number of one bedroom condo homes in West Loop.

248 one bedroom units sold so far in 2014 with a median price of about $255,000.  258 one bedroom units sold same period in 2013 with a median price about $245,000.    

Again, we see a slight uptick in median price.  However, we still have bit more short sale and foreclosure action in this sector over other types of residential property. One bedroom units were probably the hardest hit in the market crash. 

Path and play lot at Skinner Park

Cool views from school!