Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Gritty T-Money mural along developing Lincoln Avenue, Lincoln Square

Seen walking home from The Atlantic
Artist T-Money has murals with a message around the city.  This one is painted on a curious property along developing North Lincoln Avenue that cuts northwest through Lincoln Square

The mural is painted on the yellow building on the right.  The building has operated as some type of club but really don't know what's going on with it. The property with the red fence is 5055 North Lincoln Avenue. A single structure sits on the double or triple lot.  The new construction building to the left was completed prior to this summer.
Sold condos along the 4800 to 5200 blocks of North Lincoln Avenue have a median price of about $550,000.  

Monday, October 15, 2018

Condo association dispute? Written policy is required by January 2019

Condo associations large and small must have a written policy for disputes available to owners by January 2019. Photo VHT.com and Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
I often read the long running Chicago Tribune real estate section question and answer series dealing with condo associations. I learned today an Illinois legislative act passed years ago to form an Ombudsperson office for condo association disputes has a couple important dates coming up. 

The state's Condominium and Community Interest Ombudsperson office was formed to educate the public and provide resources for condo associations. They may also field disputes and help resolve disputes between owners and condo associations when violations may have occurred. The act requires condo associations to have a written policy for association disputes by January 2019.

Helpful info:

Explanation of what is the Ombudsperson office (it is a real person) HERE

Office of the Ombudsman

You may read the Act here

Helpful home owners association information

Updated: Architectural Artifacts in Ravenswood to close shop

One of my older, and favorite, photos from Architectural Artifacts in Ravenswood. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
Crain's is reporting today that Architectural Artifacts at 4325 North Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago IL 60613 will close shop.  The one of a kind 80,000 sq/ft  antiques dealer will auction off it's inventory with Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.  For me this is one of the businesses that exemplifies the Ravenswood business, retail and residential corridor like no other.

The cavernous interior of the Architectural Artifacts retail shop and event space.  
Architectural Artifacts will remain selling online.    I am told by our local Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce the events space will remain operational.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Chicago murals: Ella and Pitr at Ten Cat Tavern

Mural at 3937 North Ashland, Chicago IL 60613 in Lakeview (Photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)
This mural is viewed from the parking lot of Play It Again Sports 3939 North Ashland in Lakeview.  Full shot below.  It has graced the Ten-Cat Tavern in Lakeview now for a couple years. Googled around and found it is by   French artists Ella & Pitr . What a coup by the long time building and tavern owners.  Where else but Chicago can you buy used baseball cletes and stop and stare at international works of art?


Google street view

Working with landlords... rookies and pros!

A new kitchen was installed at this North Center two bedroom, two bath rental. Our landlord associate offers really affordable rents for the area. 

Freshly renovated vintage apartments in North Center.  We often refer tenants to this great landlord and contractor. He refers his home owner clients to us when they need to sell. We're there for you too!

A professional landlord, client and friend of ours asked us to take a look at some of his renovated rental units.
  We had lunch in North Center and then took a look at finished units.  We also checked another building to consult on window and other exterior renovations.  We often act as advisers and sounding boards for our many clients. In this case we even snapped photos for the rental advertisements while there.

In this case our landlord associate wanted to get a pulse of market rate rents and improvements.  Even though he's a 30 year pro owning, renting and renovating real estate he still wants to hear from his trusted guys! We often work with his tenants and home renovation clients... finding their first homes or selling their newly renovated properties. 

Open House Chicago is here this weekend! Top picks

We have been lucky enough to sell a unit in Lake Point Tower.  The building is celebrating 50 years and may be viewed at this year's Open House Chicago. (All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)

Open House Chicago is here! One of the coolest events for anyone who loves the look and feel of our city. See iconic and meaningful architecture, significant blocks, inspiring interiors, important exteriors and private, rarely seen locations. 

Chicago architecture reporter Blair Kamin named Lake Point Tower as a top 10 must see at this year's Open House ChicagoThe event boasts 250 locations.  Check out his top picks.  They include Chicago Architecture Center, Poetry Foundation, Charles Deering Library, Northwestern University and more.

Spertus Building 610 South Michigan, Chicago IL 60605
Two of my favorite downtown sites in the past were the Spertus Building and Roosevelt University, Auditorium Building. 




Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Sold! Lincoln Square classic house closes after multiple offers

Before going back on the market we worked with our sellers and contractors to make significant improvements to the home.
Every real estate transaction is different.  This classic Lincoln Square house at 5043 North Oakley, Chicago IL 60625 with inviting front porch closed last week after multiple purchase offers. Despite enthusiastic offers over list price we had trouble closing the deal.  After the first two deals did not close we advised our clients to make strategic repairs and improve the curb appeal.  The result was a selling price $5,000 over the $599,900 listing price!

In this case the home seller lived out of state.  The house was tenant occupied during the first attempt to sell.  After they moved out we compiled a list of projects based on the home inspections and evaluation by a trusted independent contractor (including some structural work). We quickly completed the improvements and deep cleaning by managing the project daily. We sold the home the first weekend back on the market and avoided a long vacancy for the sellers.

If you are buying or selling single family homes, condos or multi-units on the North Side of Chicago and surrounding suburbs please contact us. 

Report! DeVry University coming to Ravenswood/ Lincoln Square Sears development

The vintage former Sears store at 1900 West Lawrence (all photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)
The Chicago Tribune reports DeVry has signed a lease for a commercial space at the Ravenswood/ Lincoln Square Sears store re-development.  The stalled project has ramped up due to the signing and new construction loans.  The neighborhood will see 59 new residential units soon enough. The great location steps from Ravenswood Metra, grocery stores, fitness centers, breweries and more will be a hit.

A zoning variance for Binny's Beverage Depot was shot down by neighboring stakeholders for the commercial space in the past.  I think a vocational school marks a diverse offering to the community.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Wicker Park single family home sales, median price up 15% from 2016

The house to the right is an attractive renovation with a dormer.  The house on the right is being sold as a tear down and will most likely be developed into a house or get a variance for a three-flat.
A client of ours is looking to build a new house in Wicker Park.  It is a challenging task to first find a tear down property or vacant lot and then build within a reasonable budget. We have to make the numbers work.  Our client is also open to new construction by builders/developers but has not liked what she's seen in "speculation" houses. Let's take a look at Wicker Park and greater West Town single family home sales.

Wicker Park single family home sales January 1st to October 5th, 2018
56 single family homes have sold so far this year. The median price in the Wicker Park sales area is $1,230,000.  The highest priced sold home is 1753 West Wabansia, Chicago IL 60622 for $3,125,000.  The lowest priced sold house is 1620 West Blackhawk, Chicago IL 60622 for $609,000.

I've seen standard city lots in Wicker Park ("tear-down/ vacant lot properties around 25'x125) selling from $470K to $550K but they are rare.  Competition for a build-able lot is steep.

Wicker Park neighborhood sales area.
In 2016, 46 houses sold with a median price $1,075,000. Four years ago in 2014, 47 homes sold with a median price of $1,050,000. Median price has jumped 15% from 2016 to 2018.

Looking over West Town
West Town single family home sales January 1st to October 5th, 2018
167 West Town single family homes have sold this year with a median price of about $990,000. The highest sold home this year is still 1753 West Wabansia in Wicker Park, Chicago IL 60622 for $3,125,000. The lowest priced home sold in greater West Town is 2550 West Thomas, Chicago IL 60622 for $270,000.  The original brick single family home on a short city lot was sold for re-development. The house is conveniently located between The Empty Bottle and Humboldt Park.



Friday, October 05, 2018

The Original Pancake House survives in Gold Coast

We took this photo on the weird hot Wednesday morning this week.  Patio season in October!
Most native Chicagoans pine for old places they have gone to all their life.  It's so great to have something that never changes and plants you firmly in your city.  The Original Pancake House at tony 22 East Bellevue survives among swanky updates to the neighborhood since 1976. There are still lifer "real people" in Gold Coast and you can find them here! As we get older we make sure to stop in favorites around the city while doing business in great neighborhoods.

Talk about good real estate... About 36 condos have sold on East Bellevue over the last two years within a block of The Original Pancake House.  The median price for a condo is about $524,000 and the highest priced condo sold over 24 months is $2,850,000.   Three single family homes have sold within a block over the same time period from $1.8M to $7.5M.  

60 East Scott in Gold Coast has a boutique building feel near the lake. We loved listing and selling a unit here. 
We've sold many Gold Coast and Near North condos.  Contact us and we'll meet you at The Original Pancake House before showings!

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Quick look! North Center real estate sales 2018

Anecdotally speaking there were far less new homes actively under construction along my walk than in the past few seasons. Usually there are crews in the streets and torn up sidewalks on every North Center block.  Fewer construction sites, but activity was not totally absent! All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty.
I was in North Center last week to evaluate a couple properties owned by a landlord we work with. Here's a look at some of the real estate sales numbers for the North Center community area this year.

193 single family homes have sold from January 1st to September 30th this year.  The median price of a closed single family home is about $1,045,000.  The highest priced sold home is 3530 North Seeley in Roscoe Village for $2,650,000.   The double lot luxury custom home was built in 2011.  The lowest priced single family home to sell is 2458 West Berenice for $300,000 cash.  The original bungalow was torn down to build a new house (not sure if it is completed yet or if it will hit the open market). 

Last year over the same period 214 single family homes sold with a median price of $1,095,000.  In 2016, 180 homes sold with a median price of $1,050,000.  Going back five years to 2013, 209 single family homes sold with a median price about $880,000.  Sales and prices have leveled off the last three years after a large spike from around 2012 where median price was about $800,000. 



A rare row of intact multi-unit apartment buildings in North Center.
North Center is also infamous for the number of small multi-units (usually two-flats) that are bought and either converted to single family homes or torn down to build a new house.

57 small multi-unit buildings (two-four units) have sold  thus far in 2018 with a median price about $620,000.  Five years ago in 2013, 70 buildings sold with a median price of $575,000.

This year, 38 of those buildings are two flats with a median sales price of $560,000.
15 of the sale were three-flats with a median price of about $615,000.
4 sales were four unit buildings sold from $675,000 to $1,173,500.

There is a healthy stock of older original frame homes in the neighborhood.  Most will be re-developed when sold.  It rare in the neighborhood from someone to just buy an old home and live in it.  The market numbers just don't favor that type of purchase.
One of the first major, larger new construction condo developments in the early 2000s condo boom at the intersection of Lincoln and Damen Avenues.

318 condo units have sold from January 1st to September 30th this year.  The median price of a condo is about $430,000.  The highest sold condo unit this year is 3844 North Damen Unit 1 for $960,000.  The tricked out new construction duplex down is located in Bell school district.  In 2013, 314 condo units sold over the same period with a median price about $349,000.

Please contact us if you are looking to buy or sell North Center condos, houses or multi-units.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

More homeowner fun: Peoples Gas relocates meters

Peoples Gas installs a new gas meter on the exterior of my home.
As part of the Peoples Gas enormous modernization project (yes the reason your street was torn up) Chicago gas meters are being replaced and moved to the exterior of the home.  A tech must enter your property and determine where the gas lines can be run to the new meter.  As a homeowner you want to make sure the meter is placed in a nondescript area of the house.  It is ugly. You don't want the meter by your front door.

Watch as a new hole is drilled into my basement.  Luckily we have an unfinished laundry room in the area where the gas meter will be placed.



In this case I welcomed the change.  We get the big ugly meter removed from the interior front of my basement. Our street is scheduled to be torn up next year for the gas line replacement. Yay.

Beautiful West Roslyn Place in Lincoln Park (recent sales too)

Little West Roslyn Place in tony East Lincoln Park packs the vintage punch! The second building in to the left at 422 West Roslyn (white building with the pillars)  sold in 2017 for $1,000,000   All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty.
Condo showings of Friday took me to the small block of West Roslyn Place between North Clark Street and North Lakeview in Lincoln Park. It's one of my favorite blocks to ogle on the North Side. Most (I think all) of the buildings are original vintage apartments and row houses. The location between the lakefront parks and Clark Street restaurant and bar action is fantastic. Only steps to The Pasta Bowl!

419 W Roslyn Place, a full interior renovation, sold last year for $1,427,000
This pretty courtyard condo building at 444 West Roslyn has had some significant sales in the last couple years.  Units have sold $330K to $900K and one unit is currently for sale at $1,035,000.  
Amazing property at the corner of West Roslyn and North Lakeview. 

As if the Roslyn Place block and buildings were not charming enough... gas lamps! The property in the foreground 429 West Roslyn (right) sold in 2017 for $1,245,000.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

De-conversion? Investor buys Lincoln Square condo building for over $2 million


A 12 unit condo building association located at 2335-2343 West Ainslie sold out to a developer in entirety. The building is getting a major remodel and will likely come back as rental apartments.
The entire corner condo building of West Ainslie and North Claremont in Lincoln Square was sold for about $2,000,000 early this year.  The building was not listed on the open market.  Rather an investor purchased each and every condo unit individually for $168,500 according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. Either the association sought out a buyer or the investor approached the building after noticing individual owner's difficulty selling.  In either event it takes a 75% owner vote to make an entire condo building sale happen.

I had shown these one bedroom condo units in the past.  They are good size with a deck but I did notice the values were not coming back to what many owners had paid originally. However some owners made a good $75,000 on the investor sale due to buying the distressed properties in the building after the crash. The building is in the process of a gut renovation and the apartments will likely be rented out.

The de-conversion trend of condos back to apartments is old news to many. Often an investor/ developer will purchase all the condos in a building at a higher per/unit rate than if owners sold their condos in the open market individually.  The investor then renovates and rents out the units.  However, many owners struggling to sell their condos have not looked at this option with their condo association.

The former condo building has addresses from 2335 West Ainslie to 2343 West Ainslie. It is a great location with an easy walk to the heart of Lincoln Square and the Western Avenue CTA Brown Line.  This was a great buy for the investor, slam dunk rentals.
If you are having trouble selling your condo for a value you bought it for feel free to contact us to discuss your options.  

The building sits across from St Matthias School.  Living across from a school could be a minus for some home owners while others may like the quiet neighbor in summer months.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Old Children's Hospital garage will be shops at Lincoln Park's massive Lincoln Common

I think the additional ground floor retail and the attractive new construction office building really improves the streetscape. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
The old parking garage for the former Children's Memorial Hospital gets a new look with shops, restaurants and an adjacent office building. This is a part of the Lincoln Common development I really like.  The garage structure has always been stark and unattractive. My wife used the garage when she worked on the old main campus. One good thing is the roof had great views of the Chicago Air Show practice days 😀

It's all starting to take shape now. This will be a bustling strip and the little Starbucks space across the street may not cut it!

Check out the rendering HERE



I can see the Lincoln/ Belden Starbucks currently across the street moving into one of the new commercial spaces.


Above is a photo of the elevator column before additional ground floor retail structures were added (below).



Check out the towers of Lincoln Commons below located across from the parking structure and new retail.



Here you can see West Fullerton in the foreground and the parking structure along North Lincoln Avenue to the right of the photo. The photo is taken from the challenging Lincoln/Halsted/ Fullerton intersection

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Rogers Park multi-unit sales, median price up 67% since 2014

We sold this Rogers Park two-flat earlier this year for $355,000... $5K over the asking price. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty and VHT.com.

We recently sold a Rogers Park two-flat for an out of state client.  Rogers Park is seeing an upturn in their real estate as buyers are priced out of the Edgewater market.  Yet, those in Rogers Park get many of the same amenities from CTA access to the lakefront.

Rogers Park multi-unit sales (two-four flats) Jan 1st to Sept 21st

Eighteen two-four flats sold thus far in 2018 with a median price of $570,000.
Ten of those sales are two flats with a median price of $570,000.
Seven sales were three unit buildings with a median price about $570,000
One four unit building sold for only $312,000.  This looked more like an old frame two flat that had some small units carved out.


Over the same period in 2017, twenty-seven multi-units sold with a median price around $533,000.
In 2016, twenty-one multi-units sold with a median price of $455,000.
In 2015, twenty-seven multi-unit buildings sold with a median price of  $411,000.
Over the same period 2014, only eleven multi-units sold with a median price around $340,000.

The multi-unit segment of the Rogers Park housing market has really roared back!


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Modern Ravenswood nine unit development gets permit... again

Site of the proposed 4540 North Ravenswood in December 2016 (all photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty).
I took a look at this proposed development site at 4540 N Ravenswood back in December 2016. A construction permit was issued in April of this year and again this week after corrections as reported by Chicago Cityscape.com. I like the modern project and would love to see lots of units in this particular location.  Wish this development was taller.  Check out the plan here

According to public records it looks like the property sold in 2009 for about $497,000 and sold again to the current owner/developer for $895,000 in 2017.  Nice play.


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

You asked for it! Lincoln Square single family home sales 2018

Our listing at 5043 N Oakley in Lincoln Square asking $599,900 is under contract and pending closing in early October.
Most early mornings I walk my kids to school and then run errands around Lincoln Square. A neighbor, homeowner and friend asked me during my walk yesterday how the Lincoln Square house market is doing.  Well, here you go Tom!

Lincoln Square single family home sales 2018

From January 1st to September 14th this year, 110 single family homes have sold.  The median price of a sold house is $660,000.  The highest priced sold home is 2121 West Eastwood, Chicago IL 60625 for $1,917,000.  The new construction house features six total bedrooms, six full baths and two half-baths (eight toilets!).  5544 North California Avenue, Chicago IL 60625 for $259,000.  The two bedrooms, one bath raised ranch resides on a busy stretch in Budlong Woods area of Lincoln Square. Nice deal!

- 104 homes sold over the same period last year with a median price of about $692,000.
- Over the same period of 2016, 79 homes sold with a median price of about $655,000
- Same period 2015, 95 homes sold with a median price of $675,000
 Median price has bounced around a bit staying within $40,000 of the high point over four years.  Unit sales have generally gone up.

Check out one of our recent sales steps from Winnemac Park with some drone footage.




Single family home sales around Winnemac Park  in Lincoln Square

The residential neighborhood around Winnemac Park shown above is popular for its housing stock, community activities and transportation options. The Winnemac Park area of Lincoln Square sales have been strong (North Ravenswood to North Western and West Lawrence to West Foster). 
Tom was really asking how are home sales in OUR area doing. The Winnemac Park area of Lincoln Square sales have been strong (North Ravenswood to North Western and West Lawrence to West Foster).  From January 1st to September 14th this year, 17 single family homes have sold with a median price of $850,000 in this footprint.  

We sold this Lincoln Square home last year.  Only a couple blocks from Winnemac Park.



In all of 2017,  28 single family homes sold in the Winnemac Park sales area (shown above) with median price of $755,000.  It looks like median price in 2018 will be up for homes surrounding Winnemac Park while unit sales will be down a few. Four homes are currently under contract around the park.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Little building boom on North Clark Street in Lincoln Park asking premium prices

2050 North Clark, a 32 unit rental building, nears completion.  We last wrote about the project in 2017 after the existing building was demolished. 12 units are shown as rented on the MLS as of last week. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty.
2050 N Clark Street in 2017 after the existing property was demolished.
The back of the 2050 N Clark Street development on North Orleans Street.
If you live in Lincoln Park or drive through the neighborhood you know it's a construction mess! Large developments and street work everywhere.  This is true for one of my favorite areas of the city to eat and enjoy the lakefront. Two new developments are taking shape just one building apart from each other along the 2000 Block of North Clark Street in Lincoln Park. 

2050 N Clark Street  called Twenty Fifty Lincoln Park (shown above) is a fairly straight forward 32 unit luxury apartment development.  The previous structure was a 1970s looking retail structure and no great loss. 12 units are shown rented on the MLS with monthly rents ranging from a one bedroom unit for $2,650 to $5,995 for a three beds two baths unit (about 1,750 sq/ft).  Several units are shown available on their web site.


2036 N Clark Street shown above was the former Buddy's Garage building. The condo development was a little more controversial according to reports.  225 public, rent-able parking spots were eliminated. The facade of the building remains while a modern glassy addition pops up top. The DNAinfo report quotes the developer suggesting the condo building would have asking prices from about $1M to $3M per unit.  Both buildings stretch back to North Orleans.

The back side of the 2038 North Clark Street development along North Orleans. In a rare gesture both the front and back facades remain in the luxury condo development.

The North Orleans side of the 2036 N Clark development.