Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cigar shop lonely in venerable Biggs Mansion, Gold Coast

Front of Biggs Mansion, 1150 N Dearborn Street Chicago IL 60610. Photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
 Il Mulino has been gone since 2012 and I think something called "Biggs Steakhouse and Wine Cellar" had a short run.  The "Biggs Mansion" top floors sit empty.  The lower level is occupied by Biggs Cigar Emporium.

A cigar store and smoking lounge occupy the lower level.
Side view on West Elm Street
Table Fifty-Two still occupies the carriage house on Elm.  I drive and walk by here often but have not heard about any rumors or recent developments for the main house.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friends of Amundsen MIXER this week in Ravenswood

Looking for a stress-free path to high school for your child? Join neighborhood parents and friends at Friends of Amundsen’s informal mixer and “selective enrollment decompression session.” The gathering will include a short progress update about Amundsen High School followed by plenty of time to socialize and share our collective thoughts about a quality K-12 education system right here in our community. Whether your family has recently survived the Selective Enrollment High School process, declined to participate in it or sees it on the horizon come share your experiences and ideas for a more peaceful path to high school for all our children.

  • What: Friends of Amundsen Social Mixer and Decompression Session; adult beverages and refreshments will be served.
  • Who: All parents, neighbors and friends in search of a quality neighborhood high school for their children. (Adults only, please Update: Middle schoolers are invited to attend with their parents).
  • When: Wednesday, March 4, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. 
  • Where: Borelli’s Pizza, 2124 W. Lawrence Ave, Chicago 60625
  • Why: Let’s discuss high school options in a stress-free zone and work together to ensure a quality neighborhood high school option for all our children.
  • Questions?

Sales explosion, great views at The Grant in South Loop

 Our clients have sold their Lakeview town house and want the downtown lifestyle.

The views! Photo Bob DePalma, Broker, Kale Realty
We recently viewed a unit at the "re-developed" newer construction luxury building at 1201 S Prairie Avenue in the South Loop 60605.  Acquired and re-branded "The Grant", 1201 S Prairie units have sold swiftly since being re-listed in late 2013 thus riding the wave of the resurgent lakefront burgh. 89 of the units in the 289 unit building have sold in the last 12 months alone. 

The remodeled lobby at The Grant
 The median price for a condo is about $780,000 with a $670/ month assessment.  8 more units are currently under contract and only 6 units are listed for sale on the MLS.

From Michigan Avenue Mag: For The Grant—a 54-story, 298-unit tower that will be the most luxurious building of the three—Related Midwest is taking the same strategy of leveraging the company’s national buying power for quality brands. The Grant’s units, which range from 787 to 3,000 square feet, will feature Snaidero cabinetry with high-gloss lacquer upper finishes, quartz counter-tops, Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, and Balitero wide-plank floors. New furniture will be added to public spaces like the rooftop deck, and the lobbies will be redone in a more sophisticated palette. “We look at what the finished package will be and how each detail can complete the full design,” says Ann Thompson, senior vice president of architecture and design at Related Midwest. “We are being thoughtful about what we choose and how it’s appropriate in terms of design, quality level, sustainability, and functionality for the short term and long term.”
The Grant is also being equipped with updated building amenities in addition to the existing pool and workout room. The media room and business centers are being redesigned, and there was so much extra space in the building, Related Midwest was able to add a bike room, a concierge room with dry cleaning service and package delivery, a playroom, and even a dog spa.

Let's check out that winning formula:

Checking out the Lincoln Square Starbucks new look

I took this photo last week and you've probably already have been. Nevertheless, the new look Lincoln Square Starbucks at 4557 N Lincoln Ave Chicago, IL 60625 is business as usual.
My seat at the new barista bar behind the Clover

 It comes with the Clover(R) Brewing System... one more step to robots taking over the world.  Gone are the window bar seating (natch) and large easy chairs replaced by more slender seating and hi-top tables.  Same great staff.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

DePaul Whole Foods finally open...TODAY

Students and residents of the DePaul/ Sheffield neighborhood rejoice!  The Lincoln Park Whole Foods Market at 959 W Fullerton Avenue, Chicago IL 60614 is officially open today.

Bob passes by the new Whole Foods Market in the DePaul neighborhood earlier today. He didn't test the crowds. 
The location replaces the Dominick's store that was closed over a year ago leaving this dense area with longer commutes for groceries. 

Curious future of North Center's former "Lincoln Lodge" restaurant

4008 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago IL 60618
The former Lincoln Restaurant building has sat vacant for over a year now.  The restaurant/ lounge closed at the end of 2013 and was best known the last several years for a long running comedy night called Lincoln Lodge .  The zoning is B1-1, Business (September 2014) from public record culled by

There was/ is a Loopnet listing for leasing the space that also references the building and parking lot could be sold for $3.4M. I don't see the property offered for lease or sale by any broker.  The property was in foreclosure as early as 2009. There is a cancelled MLS listing for the entire property as late as 2011 for $1,750,000. 

The busy Lincoln/Damen/Irving Park intersection is the hub of desirable North Center where single family homes prices are through the roof.  The location is close to the CTA Irving Park Brown Line, condos, lots of services, restaurants and bars.  Commercial and residential development in Lincoln Park, Lakeview, North Center and Lincoln Square along commercial streets has been really hot over the past couple years.

It's not clear what the status of this property is at the moment.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

North Center, Lincoln Square Lou Malnati's looking for real!

Just drove by the new Lou Malnati's location under construction on Lincoln Avenue near West Montrose in North Center. Walls are up!

posted from Bloggeroid

Great weather for showings in North Center and Lincoln Park

My car thermostat says 31 degrees but it feels like summer showing our properties in North Center and Lincoln Park. Our phones exploded once the forecast was in the 30s.

I remember walking the kids to school on a sunny 1 degree day (no wind!) last year after the worst of the polar vortex. It feels great to be outside.

Views from the western tip of North Center

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, February 20, 2015

Chicago Auto Show still a hit!

Bob and I made our mandatory stop at the Chicago Auto Show yesterday (Photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)
We had a few showings in South Loop yesterday morning than headed several blocks south to the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.  The show has simply been a part of my life growing up in Chicago and nearby suburbs.  I like it now more than ever!

Bob and I wasted no time getting in and out of dozens of cars.  It's also pretty comfortable shooting out texts and emails from the back of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade.  We picked out our "realistic" favorites and our "fantasy" favorite.  So, keep calling us to work on your real estate transactions!

On a side note, there is some interesting construction going on South Prairie Avenue just north of McCormick Place Some larger lots are cleared for construction and a few historic properties had some interesting work going on.  Cool area to check out if you are looking to get near downtown.

A lot of demo and construction activity just north of McCormick Place in the South Loop.  Image Google Maps

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Big crane makes debut at 4 East Elm in Gold Goast

One of the more exciting luxury residential projects in Near North is underway.  I spotted the giant construction crane Monday at the new condo development at 4 East Elm, Chicago IL 60611. It made a striking juxtaposition among the more mid-rise and boutique buildings of this prime Gold Coast location.  How can those guys sit up in those things?

I had met with some clients at the Starbucks flagship at 1003 N Rush Street, Chicago IL 60611 for an early morning meeting.  The store is gorgeous and the staff wonderful. One of my favorite spots to meet and work in the city.

4 East Elm is near all the staple Gold Coast haunts.

The former Hunt Club new construction concept is coming along in the background.  Viewed from Mariano Park near the 4 East Elm location.

Rare modern new construction house on traditional Lincoln Square block

I noticed this new build going up on the 4800 block of North Seeley in Lincoln Square 60625. The boxy frame reveals a modern style... making it the only outwardly modern/ contemporary home on this two blocks of Seeley leading to the park. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
Most new construction single family homes in Lincoln Square mimic the traditional style frame homes that line the blocks... only built larger with high-end finishes. This is especially true north of West Lawrence Avenue and east of North Western Avenue where truly contemporary modern homes are basically non-exisitant.

These modern/ contemporary builds tend to be private custom projects... meaning it is not a speculation home for sale. It's a bold choice considering the more vocal neighbors want to maintain a particular character when it comes to new construction and renovations.  I enjoy seeing modern new construction and contemporary renovations and look forward to the finished house.

Typical style of new construction in Lincoln Square
The owners are taking advantage of the revitalizing West Lawrence (a couple houses to the south) and North Damen Avenues where the nearby Mariano's grocery and LA Fitness are being followed by hip restaurants and bars. There are a lot of amenities nearby before even crossing to the popular North Lincoln Avenue dining and shopping district at Giddings Plaza.  The location is close to the CTA Damen Brown Line and Ravenswood Metra station as well at 4800 N Ravenswood, Chicago IL 60640

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

This Week! Chappell Elementary Art Auction at Mariano's Ravenswood

Community members are invited to Chappell Elementary School's first Art Auction Fundraiser! Beautiful paintings, weavings, printmaking and multi-media works created by kindergartners through 8th graders will be featured and auctioned off to raise money for the school.

The auction will be held in Vero Cafe on the first floor of Mariano's at Lawrence and Ravenswood  
1800 West Lawrence Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640
6-8 pm on Thursday, Feb. 19

Come learn about the great things that are happening at Chappell and see the beautiful pieces created by our talented students!

Chappell Elementary School
2135 West Foster Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 534-2390

Under Contract: Sunny Lakeview town house commands multiple offers asking $649,000, watch video!

Under contract!
3053 N Lakewood, Chicago IL 60657
Asking $649,000  
We met with and began advising our clients on the sale of 3053 N Lakeview  over a year ago.  We helped them make important decisions on where to invest in the home prior to selling.  The planning and investment has paid off in multiple offers on the first days of showing.

Panoramic of the living room via
3053 N lakeview is a sophisticated corner FEE SIMPLE town home with an extra-wide floor-plan.  Three bedrooms, three and one-half baths, family room, top floor office, large private patio, roof level deck, back deck and more! The home gets fantastic east, south and west light. The outstanding layout allows for both formal and open rooms, privacy and flexibility to fit your living needs.  It has a private flagstone patio, roof deck and garage parking with access right into your patio area.

Both the kitchen and master bath are newly renovated and look outstanding.  I love the attractive bright, center staircase and access to the outdoor deck and patio from both the dining area and the awesome family room.  This is a unique low traffic Lakeview location just steps from the action on Southport Corridor and close to both the Brown and Red Line (with Purple Line access to Evanston and downtown).
Stores, bars, restaurants and services pack Southport Corridor

New luxury master bath with heated floor, towel warmer, air tub, 8 plus ft walk-in shower and dual vanity.
The home is FEE SIMPLE with no condo association or assessment. It's really like owning a house!  The purchase contract is now in attorney review and inspection. We look forward to a smooth transaction with the lucky buyer!

Check out more photos HERE

Offered by
Eric Rojas and Robert DePalma, Brokers
Kale Realty
542 W Roosevelt Road
Chicago IL 60607

Did you enjoy the video walk through? Contact us to buy, sell and rent homes in the Lakeview area and greater North Side of Chicago.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Three new construction homes on 2200 block of West Wellington in Hamlin Park, North Center

Looks like two "speculation" homes being developed on the 2200 block of West Wellington just east of North Oakley and near Hamlin Park.  There is no listing up on the MLS as of yet for the houses.
Developers and home buyers continue to redevelop the landscape in the hottest neighborhoods.  These new construction homes show here are situated in a small "out of the way" block west of Hamlin Park in North Center.  The block is a handful of new and original single family homes"one way" headed east.  Each end of the block has a commercial building.

The immediate area is a mix of a few remaining commercial buildings and residential blocks.  The block is tucked away making it very quiet yet close to Roscoe Village dining and the big box shopping of Cylbourn Ave.

Another new house just a few doors down to the east. No MLS listing up yet.

Almost half this side of the block is now under construction.
The new construction boom continues into 2015.  We've noticed the impact of commercial construction on major arterial streets over the past two years. We see no let up in new house construction around the city as well. You can save money buying and building on the "fringe" of the hottest areas. These houses will cost less than homes built just east of North Damen Avenue in the same neighborhood.

Image of Hamlin Park area, Google maps and

58 homes closed in the last 12 months in the Hamlin Park sub neighborhood of North Center. These houses include the Picardy Place development of small single family homes.  The highest priced closed home in Hamlin Park last year was 1909 West Fletcher, Chicago IL 60657 for $1.7 million.  The new construction home is built on a 31.5 foot wide lot (wider than a standard Chicago lot).

The lowest sold home of 2014 was 3044 N Clybourn for $325,000.  The converted two-flat was a foreclosure in need of gut renovation after sitting vacant.

The median price of a house in the last 12 months in Hamlin Park neighborhood is about $624,000.

For Sale! Top floor super sunny condo near Roscoe Village, North Center $319,900

3044 N Oakley #3N, Chicago IL 60618 asking $319,900. Watch the video walk-through!

We just listed this attractive top floor unit in the Hamlin Park/ Roscoe Village neighborhood of North Center. The condo is located near Roscoe Village dining, popular Hamlin Park and all the shopping along the Clybourn corridor including Costco!  Whooooo!

Bright east facing unit with vaulted ceilings, sky lights, fireplace and sound!
Hamlin Park neighborhood in North Center. Image and Google Maps
Top floor, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, garage parking, vaulted ceilings, skylights, back deck, master suite, wired for sound, Juliet balcony, in-unit washer/ dryer, storage room and hardwood floors.

Juliet balcony allows doors to open for summer breezes.
Kitchen island w/storage overlooks the living/ dining spaces.
Really warm and attractive kitchen.
Spacious master with vaulted ceilings, sound, sliding glass doors and en suite bathroom.
Master bathroom with jetted tub.
Big deck with lots of wide open exposure!

Center entrance newer construction building with only 6 units. 
3044 N Oakley #2N offered exclusively by:
Eric Rojas and Bob DePalma, Brokers
Kale Realty
542 W Roosevelt Road,
Chicago IL, 60607

We buy, sell and rent North Side homes.  Please call us to work with experienced brokers at reasonable commissions.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Meeting clients, contractors for "final walk-through" in Sauganash this morning

Our client is buying on an attractive block in Sauganash, Chicago.  The snow drapes the original custom homes that line the winding blocks.
 I was out in this morning's cold and snow to attend our buyer's "final walk-through" at 5846 N Kingsdale, Chicago IL 60646 in Sauganash.  Our buyer client will be closing a home this week. Typically we'll try to have the final walk-through the day of closing when the home is vacant.  In this case the current owner will be in the home for one day after closing.  The special circumstance was part of the over-all home purchase deal. 

We had a few minor details to check.  The seller had repairs made to the home as part of the purchase agreement.  Bob and I make sure our client and her closing attorney have the invoices for the work.  

The cold and snow did not dampen our client's excitement in anticipation of her upcoming closing.
We arranged for some of our regular contractors to meet at the house during this morning's walk-through.  Our home buyer client wants to begin work ASAP on a few projects before she moves in. By meeting during the walk-through the contractors can look at the scope of the work, make some estimates and plan on starting work on the day after closing. 

I'm also meeting the contractors at the house this week to get them started while our client is at work.  Our years of experience and long time industry relationships are available to make our client's lives easier and home ownership less stressful.  We look forward to a smooth closing!

Fun facts:
4 homes have closed this year so far in the the Sauganash neighborhood ranging from $310,000 to $650,000.
 9 homes are currently under contract and about 18 homes are listed for sale in the neighborhood.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Lakeview and Lincoln Park showings

Photo just now on West Wrightwood in Lincoln's cold!

Bob and I have been busier showing property for both buyers and sellers in January and February as I can remember over the past 10 years.

Great re-sale properties are coming on the market. There is also a lot of new construction in the works and nearing market. We are both spending the day showing our new listings in Lincoln Park and Lakeview.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Video! Lincoln Park duplex 2 beds, 2 baths, 2 parking, wet bar asking $349,900

New for Sale!  
1637 W Wrightwood 1N, Chicago IL 60614 in Lincoln Park
Watch the video walk-through

Open kitchen with attractive granite counter tops.

1637 W Wrightwood #1N, Chicago IL 60614 for sale at $349,900
2 beds, 2 baths, 2 car tandem parking!
Two floors with fantastic space for the location and price.
Lower level family room with wet bar.
Large walk-in closets for both bedrooms.
Huge common back yard deck.
Many updates to unit and building.
Small 4 unit building with low, low assessment. 
Drain tile and extra insulation at lower level.
Really cool entry foyer, 20 ft from floor to ceiling!

Bright lower level family room with wet bar!!

Room for a huge flat screen and poker table!
Main level open floor plan with dining area.
Living room gas fireplace.

The dramatic entry foyer is one of several cool features of the home.

Main floor bathroom.
The Lincoln Park location is surrounded by mostly newer construction single family homes. Attractive Wrightwood Park (with a pool, track, basketball courts etc...) is a block to the east.  Easy to boutique shops, bars and services up and down West Wrightwood and West Fullerton. 

Listed by Eric Rojas and Robert DePalma, Kale Realty
542 W Roosevelt Road,
Chicago IL 60607

Pre-approved buyers please.  If you are working with an agent have them contact us direct. Or better yet, just work with us.

Think warm thoughts and summer parties on the deck.