Monday, January 26, 2015

Gut job! Busy Lincoln Square Starbucks to get full renovation

The Lincoln and Wilson Starbucks at 4553 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago IL 60625 (photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)
The busy, busy Starbucks next to Old Town School of Folk Music in Lincoln Square is closed for major renovation.  I stopped by today to work between appointments... lo and behold it is gutted to the studs!

I have not checked around on the ETA but these "Starbucks re-dos" usually go pretty quick (unlike any major renovation we've ever done at our homes).  Many Starbucks and other chains are re-investing in their existing stores. It's one more example of the truly amazing commercial development we've seen over the past two years around the North Side and downtown.

Furniture and dumpster on the Wilson side of Starbucks.  Photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
Call me a cynical Chicagoan but furniture out on the sidewalk usually means an eviction.  Whaaa, whaaaa.

Steady Eddie: Edison Park single family home sales in 2014

We are working with clients who'd like to buy a house in Edison Park's  Ebinger School district.  Edison Park residents enjoy the retail and entertainment along Northwest Highway.  It's a small town atmosphere on the edge of the city.

Home buyers look for value in Edison Park's rows and rows of modest homes... good schools, parks and retail.
109 single family homes closed in Edison Park in all of 2014.  The median price is about $333,000 for a sold house.  The highest priced house sold in 2014 was 6807 N Olcott, Chicago IL 60631 for $815,000.  The fully renovated traditional home has 4 bedrooms and sits on a 50'x147' lot.

8 homes have sold thus far in January with a double-lot (50'x147') new construction house fetching $895,000 at 6850 N Olcott, Chicago IL 60631.

105 houses sold in 2013 with a median price of about $325,000.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Under Contract! Buyer client deals on Wicker Park/ Noble Square new construction condo

We represented a client on the purchase of 1113 N Ashland #3, Chicago IL 60622 this week (offered at $699,900 by Related Realty brokerage).  The modern new construction "duplex up" sits just off Wicker Park's Division Street in the Noble Square neighborhood just steps to the CTA Blue Line.  The outstanding feature of the home is the private 1,100 sq/ft deck. Ridiculous!

The West Town greater area leads the city in modern new construction condos. 1113 N Ashland shown here offers front and back units with clean modern interiors.

Neighboring Wicker Park has been explosive over the last few years.  This has rubbed off on the Noble Square neighborhood where condo sales are up 33% year to year.  139 attached condo units (including town houses) closed in 2014 with a median price of about $395,000 in Noble Square.  That's up from 104 units sold and a median of $385,000 in 2013.  Only 62 attached condo units sold in 2011!

139 units sold with a median price of $395,000 in 2014
104 units sold with a median price of $385,000 in 2013
112 units sold with a median price of $346,000 in 2012
62  units sold with a median price of $326,000 in 2011
81  units sold with a median price of $352,000 in 2010
85  units sold with a median price of $355,000 in 2009

Noble Square neighborhood is part of West Town Community Area. Image Google Maps and
The contract is now in attorney review and inspection period.  Please call us to buy, sell or rent West Town area homes.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Showing commercial and mixed use properties in North Center

We viewed mixed use buildings along Western Avenue in North Center on Thursday.  Our client wants to purchase a building up to one $1 million for her business.  There are a couple of single lot buildings priced from around $400,000 to the $600,000s that will need major renovation.  However, only a handful of mixed use and commercial buildings come up for purchase in prime areas.

This strip of  4300 N Western doesn't look like much but several buildings have been purchased for development. The new buildings will join a handful of newer residential condo buildings that sit among mixed-use and commercial buildings along Western Avenue.  The insanely popular and active Welles Park (with all those people) is steps away (photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty).
The vastly improved condo and red hot single family home market over the last two years has been no less then head spinning.  We've also mentioned the increased major commercial development we've seen in the neighborhoods on streets like North Lincoln Avenue and  North Western Avenue.

Business owners like the draw of Welles Park and the critical mass of other business and residences around the park. Much improvement is on the horizon for adjacent blocks of North Western Avenue in North Center/ Lincoln Square
The 47th Ward has been a boon to smart business and residential development.  Infrastructure and street-scape improvements are now the norm and help entice property and business investment. One recent example is the new Starbucks/ Potbelly and retail space replacing a former car wash site at 3636 N Western Avenue, Chicago IL 60618.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Strong sales and showing activity in "hot" West Loop

West Loop is arguably Chicago's hottest neighborhood right now (photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)
The condo market has seemed to take off like a rocket as of Monday January 11th this month.  It did not take long to shake off the holiday season.  Any good looking new listing is getting showing action.
The West Loop offers a variety of city skyline, urban and industrial views... city living! (Photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)
Last night (a Wednesday) we were showing new listings at 1035 W Madison, 728 W Jackson (Haberdasher Square Lofts) and 123 N Green Street (Emerald Condos) in West Loop.  Each property was newly listed within a week.  All three had a revolving door of showings during our time slots.

It's not rare in this improved market to have a good listing (house or condo) get a lot of attention and showings right away.  Demand is so strong right now in West Loop that all new reasonably listed condos seem to be attracting large amounts of showings at the first possible appointment time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cash is King! 34% of Chicago's Near North condo deals all cash

Views from 451 W Huron in the River North neighborhood of Chicago's Near North.  About 34% of attached unit sales were all cash transactions in 2014. (All photos Eric Rojas and Bob DePalma, Brokers, Kale Realty)
Boy we love cash!  And so do Chicago sellers.
We took a look at cash deals in four of our more active markets.  Downtown/ Loop (Area 32), Near North (Area 08), Lincoln Park (Area 07), and Lakeview (Area 06). Looks like big spenders spent big cash.  Here are the percentage of cash deals on attached homes (condos/ townhouses) for each of these neighborhoods in 2014.

2014 average sale price and percentage of cash deals

Near North had 2,538 attached home sales (condo and townhouse) with an average sale price of $565,226.  About 34% of those deals were recorded in our MLS as all cash. Interestingly the cash deal average was a whopping $634,552.  Financed sales averaged less at $528,558.

About 32% of Loop condo deals were all cash.
Downtown/ Loop had 788 attached unit sales with an average price of $475,254.  About 33% of those sales were all cash. Cash sales averaged $447,919 while financed sales averaged $488, 484.

About 18% of Lincoln Park sold condo deals were cash in 2014
Lincoln Park had 1248 attached unit sales with an average price of $530,948.  About 18% of those sales were cash.  Cash sales average price was $472,934.  Financed sales averaged $543,847.

About 17% of condo units sold in Lakeview were cash deals.
Lakeview had 1798 attached unit sales with an average price of $370,981 (far less than the other three examples).  About 17% of those sales were cash with an average price of $283,307.  Financed deals averaged $389,317.

All stats gathered and interpreted by Eric Rojas and Bob DePalma, Kale Realty from our member MLS.  Call us to buy, sell, rent in South Loop, Downtown/Loop and the greater North Side.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Alderman O'Connor to address Friends of Winnemac Park this Tuesday at Amundsen High School

You're invited!
This month's Friends of Winnemac Park meeting will feature 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O'Connor as we discuss volunteering, issues, programs and more events. 
Announcing MORE Movies in the Park dates!

Tuesday, January 20th 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Amundsen High School Library
5110 N Damen Avenue
Enter Main Center Door on Damen Avenue

Alderman O'Connor addresses past Friends of Winnemac/ Winnemac Neighbors volunteers (Photo Eric Rojas)
There is growing interest and support for Friends of Winnemac Park as we look to increase resources and events. Please attend the meeting and consider nominating yourself for the Friends of Winnemac Park Board.  Play a role, big or small, in preserving the quality of Winnemac Park.
 Board member and officer elections to be announced in the near future.

Contact for more info!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Curious vacant buildings in prime Oak Street, Gold Coast location

It was a little surprising to see these three contiguous vintage buildings still vacant at approximately 108 West Oak to 112 West Oak Street just a couple blocks west of the recent $14 million dollar Starbuck's building sale. The two furthest east properties have Quality Excavation signs posted. The parcels are zoned C2-5 for mixed use commercial and residential. Photo Bob DePalma and Eric Rojas, Brokers, Kale Realty

We just read a story in Crain's Chicago Business this week that the flagship Starbuck's property on 1003 N Rush Street, Chicago IL 60611 at Oak Street in Gold Coast sold for $14 million last month.  Then we walked by these properties (pictured above and below) on West Oak Street and noticed the green Quality Excavation signs on the two furthest two properties to the east. 

"Oak 112" at 112 West Oak Street, Chicago IL 60611 (furthest left) was operating as a bed and breakfast/ guesthouse up until June of 2014 according to their web site.  The 112 West Oak property sold for $1,500,000 according to public records recorded in January 2014 (off the MLS).  Photo Bob DePalma, Eric Rojas, Brokers Kale Realty.
The really cool Chicago Cityscape web site shows vacant building violations at 108 W Oak Street from 2009  and vacant building violations at 110 West Oak Street from 2012. 

There is little information in general about 112 West Oak Street as a business.  Lonely Planet did a short recommendation for the guest house.  However, the property was listed for sale several times on the MLS from about 2011 to 2012 for about $1.7 million.  The property was recorded as sold in January 2014 for $1.5 million to a family trust here in Chicago.

Looks like the end is near for this original Gold Coast row house at 108 W Oak Street.  Development and noteworthy real estate transactions have really ratcheted up in the past 12 months.  The properties from 108 to 112 West Oak are zoned C2-5. Photo Bob DePalma and Eric Rojas, Brokers, Kale Realty
  • Zone: C2-5, Commercial / Mixed-Use
  • Shopping centers. Allows more business types than B1 districts, including liquor stores, warehouses, and auto shops. Apartment allowed above the ground floor.
The 112 West Oak purchase at $1,500,000 looks like a great buy.  The $14 million Starbucks building sale (pictured below) is reported at $3,191 per square foot.  That's some expensive space you're taking up with your lap top.

Starbucks at 1003 N Rush Street in the Gold Coast. Bob DePalma and Eric Rojas, Brokers, Kale Realty
The three contiguous parcels have flexible zoning and are prime for development. What will the venerable Gold Coast get next?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Trumped! Top 3 Condo Sales in Chicago's Near North for 2014

A near 15,000 square penthouse at Trump International Tower and Hotel, 401 N Wabash, Chicago IL 60611 was the highest sale in Near North Community Area this year at $17 million cash. It is reportedly the highest ever price paid for a condo in Chicago. Photos Eric Rojas and Bob DePalma, Brokers, Kale Realty
The List: Top 3 Condo Sales in the Near North Community Area for 2014
A Trump Tower unit led an impressive year of luxury condo sales in 2014. Price per square foot for luxury homes in the most desirable locations seemed to know no bounds this year.
1. $17,000,000, Trump Tower, 401 North Wabash, Unit 89A, Chicago IL 60611.  The "5 Bed, 7.2 Bath" 14,260 square foot River North unit Closed 10/7/14, Cash deal.  The condo is raw, unfinished space and had an asking price of $32 million. Trump Tower had 55 closed sales in the MLS for 2014 with a median price of about $1,170,000.

 2. $7,400,000, 209 East Lake Shore Drive, 11-E, Chicago IL 60611. 3 Bed, 3.2 Bath, 5,700 square feet. Closed 6/26/14. Cash deal in a Co-op building.
 3. $5,250,000, 159 East Walton, 21A Chicago IL 60611  "Pamolive Building". 3 Bed, 3.1 Bath, 4,732 square feet. Closed 7/3/14. Conventional mortgage financing. The Pamolive Building had 14 unit sales in 2014 for a total of $22,334,375 in sales volume.
All sales stats gathered and interpreted from by Eric Rojas and Bob DePalma.
Photo from Michigan Avenue Bridge, Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty

Friday, January 09, 2015

Taylor Street, that great (restaurant) street: Condo sales in Little Italy, University Village

We had a great dinner in Little Italy Saturday with friends at the long time hip, yet warm Davanti Enoteca, 1359 West Taylor Street, Chicago IL 60607
Everyone knows that Taylor Street has a ton of great restaurants.   With all the great choices now in Chicago to eat and live we may forget about an original foodie destination... Little Italy.  The area is also a robust residential area to live serving many close by Chicago institutions, universities, transportation, highways and the Loop. What's it cost to live in a condo in Little Italy/ University Village neighborhood?  How are sales looking?

University Village neighborhood map Google Maps and

Little Italy/ University Village condo sales 2014
Sales mimicked many of Chicago's desirable sub neighborhoods where we see actual units down a bit and median prices up a bit.

149 attached units (condo, town houses) sold in 2014. Many on streets with "Village" and College" in the name.  The median price for a condo in this near Loop location is about $275,000. 170 units sold in 2013 with a median price of $262,500.

The highest priced attached home sale in University Village  for 2014 is a town house style  at 727 S Racine Unit A, Chicago IL 60608 for $640,000.  The large "Tuscany Club Villa" home was built in 1994, has three bedrooms, three and one-half baths, a finished lower level, two car garage (with additional two car parking pad) and is a few blocks from the heart of Little Italy dining.

The lowest condo sale is 1550 S Blue Island Ave, Unit 1019, Chicago IL 60608 for $80,000.  The two bed, one bath condo sold as a short sale with a conventional loan (not cash).  The condo has a modern concrete loft style and looked to be in great shape.  The 1550 S Blue Island condo building had the ten lowest sales out of the 149 unit sales. 9 of 10 of those units were listed as one bedroom units.

The University Village neighborhood shares its name with a large residential and commercial development that began in the late 90s. The neighborhood is part of Near West Side, one of the city's 77 official community areas.
The neighborhood's boundaries are 16th St to the Eisenhower Expressway, the Dan Ryan Expressway to Ashland Ave (1600 W). Little Italy / Taylor Street is a part of University Village.
ZIP codes: 60607, 60608.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Old Town? More like Cold Town

Sideways snow at North and Wells intersection (photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)
I like my spot here in the pretty awesome Old Town Starbucks at North and Wells than out there... it's for the dogs.

Winter fun at Warren Park skating rink, sledding hill in West Ridge

Amalia watches Ryne hit the deck on the large skating rink at Warren Park, 6601 N Western Avenue, Chicago IL 60645 in the West Ridge Community Area (Photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty

We had one shot last weekend at some winter fun before the deep freeze and we took it.  For "North Siders" Warren Park offers the closest option for ski resort life.  The easily accessible ice rink and sledding hill (there's a parking lot!!) will make sure your city kids get outside for proper winter sports.

Here is a list and hours of Chicago Park District Ice Rinks

A "warming house" with bathrooms and $6.00 skate rentals sits in the background.
The sledding hill is more than adequate for elementary school and teens to get a thrill. Great for snowboard practice. The photo doesn't show it well but the incline is good and stairs make it easier to get up the hill.

Last time outside for a week!
 West Ridge single family home sales

About 153 homes sold in West Ridge over the last three months with a median price of about $318,000.  The median price can get you a totally rehabbed raised ranch three bedroom house near Warren Park, Indian Boundary Park AND Rogers School Park.  Like parks?  Get a move-in ready house well under $400,000 and enjoy the outdoors.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Timber lofts in Steeterville... Really?

The entrance at 540 N Lake Shore Drive, Chicago IL 60611. All photos Bob DePalma, Broker, Kale Realty
 We were recently contacted by a condo owner at 540 N Lake Shore Drive in Streeterville. We quickly recognized the address as a vintage loft conversion. Yes, it's true. In this dense luxury high-rise neighborhood -where new construction seems to have  no end in sight- is a unique timber loft property. If that is your style, the location at 540 North Lake Shore Drive can't be overlooked.

Not your typical Streeterville building these days. 540 N Lake Shore Drive, Chicago IL 60611 is a timber loft throwback at the lakefront in a densely populated glass and steel jungle. It's more famous neighbor Lake Point Tower at 505 N Lake Shore Drive peeks over the top.  Photo Bob DePalma, Broker, Kale Realty
Built in 1912, and converted in to condo in 1992, 9 loft style homes sold in 2014 ranging from a short sale studio apartment at $171,500 for 772 square foot unit (quite a deal) to $750K for a combined duplex unit of approximately 2500 square feet. has a nice write up from about two years ago with a little history on 540 N Lake Shore Drive.

While 540 N Lake Shore perseveres new glass towers continue to rise in Streeterville.
Call us to buy or sell or rent Streeterville units... Bob is a veteran of the neighborhood!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Moving on up! Unit Sales Up 27% in 2014 at 2 East Erie in River North

2 East Erie, Chicago IL 60611 in River North.  Photos Bob DePalma, Broker, Kale Realty
 We often view 2 East Erie, Chicago IL 60611 in River North.  Client's like the fact it's a more recent 2002 construction high-rise in a very desirable "eastern" location of River North. Views, iconic buildings, hot new mega-spots like Eataly, old touristy classics like Shaw's Crab House and Howl at the Moon or shopping at Bloomies... you name it.  2 East Erie is in the middle of the action and close to CTA Red Line stations.

Old spots, new trends and icons within every direction of 2 East Erie
Here's a snap shot 2013-2014 unit sales at 2 East Erie.
Unit sales in 2013 = 22
2-Studio units sold with average price $205K
11-1Bed/1Bath sold with average price $263K
3-2Beds/1Bath sold with an average price $361K
6-2Beds/2Baths sold with an average price $494K

Unit sales in 2014 = 28 (up 27%)
4-Studios aver price $184K (although the lowest sale was $131,000 while the three others averaged $205,000)
12-1Bed/1Ba ave price $311K
2-2Beds/1Baths ave price $346K
10-2Beds/2Baths ave price $509K

The largest price jump is average price of a one bed unit up 18%. All of that does depend on finish level, floor, parking spot, view etc.  However, it appears buyers were paying more for a one bedroom units in 2014 than then they were in 2013.
2 Beds/2Baths average price was up only 3% and the other style units dropped a little.

There are many high-rise buildings with one bedroom homes in River North.  However, once you factor building amenities, age, location price and assessments it gets easier to narrow down the good choices in budget.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Boom Town: West Lakeview getting Target... just like Brooklyn! UPDATE: Could be bigger Whole Foods

The new "city sized" Target site at 3201 N Ashland, Chicago IL 60657 (the Lincoln and Belmont intersection) in Lakeview (all photos Bob DePalma, Broker, Kale Realty).

UPDATE  2/7/15: This location will likely be a new Whole Foods Market
In case you have not heard the busy, bustling Ashland / Lincoln / Belmont intersection in the western portion of Lakeview (the moniker West Lakeview has stuck) will be getting a city Target store.  Here are some photos we took of the demolition site just before the December holiday season hit.

Going smaller for  "big box" stores in vibrant, dense locations are reported as a trend.  Brooklyn is getting a Target... that makes Lakeview cool too right?

There is also a new retail development leasing space at Ashland and School across the street from the Whole Foods Market (retail photo below). This is truly a location that has everything withing walking distance... grocery, gyms, dry cleaners, coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, clothes and small to big box retail.

New "vanilla box" retail is being marketed at West School and North Ashland in Lakeview 

Near North: Sandburg Village one bedroom condo sales

Walking up to Sandburg Village last week (Photos Bob DePalma, Broker, Kale Realty)
We've spent a lot of time viewing and researching one bedroom condos with our clients in the Sandburg Village development of Near North Community Area.  The location is directly between Old Town nightlife and Gold Coast shopping.  Owners and renters of the Sandburg Terrace buildings also have access to outdoor pools (about $140.00 for a season pass) and tennis courts in the warmer months.

James House at 1560 N Sandburg Terrace, Chicago IL, 60610
OK, let's take a look at 2014 sales. Around 60 one bedroom units sold across all the Sandburg Village buildings after you strip out all the junior one beds. A closer look at a couple buildings we work in often reveals typical price ranges from $200,000 to $275,000.

1560 N Sandburg Terrace, Chicago IL 60610 (James House) is the largest, newest and nicest (in our opinion) with 520 units. 17 one bedroom units sold in 2014, ranging from $200K for a low floor, no view unit to $273,500K for a high floor east facing unit.

1355 N Sandburg Terrace, Chicago IL 60610 (Dickinson House) is more typical on the Sandburg campus with 243 units. 10 one bedroom units sold in 2014 from $189K to $247K.

The leafy primo location offers a terrific Chicago high-rise lifestyle at a relatively affordable price.  Amenities, views and quick access to several of the city's most venerable neighborhoods can be found in Sandburg Village units. Someone new or old to Chicago can also find a common bound with neighbors in this "campus" environment.