Thursday, April 30, 2020

Working during the coronavirus outbreak Eric Rojas, Kale Realty

Some of you know me and my family very well. For those who don't... I'm married to a Pediatric Nursing Director and we have four kids ages 13 years old to 5 years old. Since the closing of school facilities March 13th and "things" hit the fan my wife has been working A LOT and  I've been in full time charge of our kids E-Learning and well being. The kids have had an amazing attitude through most of this. The parents? Up and down.

That said my business partner Bob and our team at Kale Realty are working at full capacity.  We've had some interesting showings, home closings and conversations with clients. Otherwise, it is business as usual... without seeing people LOL.  We miss our clients, associates and friends. Please know we are only a phone call, text or email away and will provide resources and answer questions. If you find yourself needing or wanting to buy, sell, rent or renovate we will help. 

Mortgage interest rates are way down and Chicago home prices will be a better bargain than the start of the year. If you are looking to buy a home for the long term or re-finance you can do fairly well right now.  We have also seen attractive condo and house listings sell fairly quickly.  We know the number of real estate transactions will be way down this year and many of us will have reduced income due to the pandemic (our family included). Now more than ever we can help make educated decisions.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Lincoln Park vintage buildings on the 800 block of West Altgeld sell for $3,700,000, survive demolition

838-846 West Altgeld yesterday. These interesting vintage apartment buildings were purchased in 2018 for $3,700,000 and are in the process of gut renovation. 
Early this year we noticed work on these Lincoln Park vintage rental buildings at 838-846 West Altgeld.  Great clients of ours lived here about 12 years ago! The two building property sold in 2018 for $3,700,000 (according to public records, not on the MLS).  The facades are preserved. Interior renovation permits were issued to rehab and add duplex-down to the basement for a couple units. We're not clear if they will be converted to condos or remain rental apartments.

The cul du sac block is just west of North Halsted Street. This makes it a somewhat peaceful location right off a multitude of restaurant, bars, shopping and everyday services Lincoln Park delivers in spades.

The median price of a sold condo on the block is over $650,000 over the past two years.  A small three unit building needing rehab on a 59' x 83' sold for $745,000. Three condos are currently under contract on the block and three are actively for sale.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Landmark Lincoln Park vintage 3-flat sells $1,930,000, now converting to single family home

A Jameson/ Sotheby's sign posted at 2130 N Cleveland suggests a single family home is "Coming Soon" to the market.
This gorgeous Lincoln Park three-flat in the Mid-North Landmark District sold last year for $1,930,000.  A "Coming Soon" sign tells us 2130 N Cleveland will be converted to a single family home. A permit was issued in February for "interior demo only". It's a good thing the structure and facade are being conserved. Proposed renovations and new construction in Landmark Districts face greater scrutiny.  Personally I'd rather see it stay as a three-flat but thus is life in Lincoln Park.

What a beauty!
To many folks the architecture of  vintage multi-unit  buildings defines Lincoln Park as a special neighborhood in Chicago and the country.  Multi-unit buildings are a cherished way of life that help make city life vibrant. Loads of small multi-unit buildings have been demolished or converted to single family homes in Lincoln Park.  Many large residential apartment buildings have been built around the neighborhood in the last ten years replacing density. Losing so many these originals is still a shame. 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Tropical Smoothie Cafe to open in Lincoln Square Kiddie Academy building

A "Now Hiring" sign at the Lincoln Square location of Tropical Smoothie Cafe at 4847 N Lincoln Avenue.  The restaurant was to open in April and shares the new construction building with Kiddie Academy 
We passed the new Tropical Smoothie Cafe on one of our walks this week in Lincoln Square.  The location shares the new construction building with Kiddie Academy where beloved Lincoln Lanes once stood.  It was the first time my wife and I noticed the cafe was coming to town.  It is unclear if the restaurant will still open this month as scheduled. We're looking forward to checking it out when it opens up.

The new Kiddie Academy and Tropical Smoothie Cafe
The building is adjacent to the busy McDonald's. Parents will have to fight off their kids' Happy Meal cravings... the smoothies may come in handy.  I know many neighbors were disappointed a daycare replaced their local neighborhood bowling alley and Matty K's Hardware. Now the spot features two national franchises. When the vacant lot was for sale I was hopeful the entire corner lot shared with the McDonald's would get a re-design with a larger multifaceted development including residential units. 
The McDonald's plaza adjacent to the new Tropical Smoothie Cafe and Kiddie Academy building.  The large surface parking lot is an eyesore. I hoped the whole plaza would get redeveloped with a larger multi-use concept and residential units.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Oof! Lincoln Square single family home sales way down last 30 days and Q1 (year to year)

At the beginning of the year I noticed a good amount of new construction projects around Lincoln Square. A frame home at 4841 N Oakley was sold in 2019 for $405,000. A decent deal for the location and a standard 25'x124' lot. A new construction single family home is being built (above). All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
I look at all kinds of sales numbers around the markets we work in.  We are now a good 30 days into the pandemic and a few weeks into the shelter-in-place order for Chicago. I was curious to see how many sales made "the cut" before the outbreak.  My guess was unit sales may slow due to the lack of inventory and the slow start in contracts. I didn't know how slow. 

Unit sales are down in Lincoln Square significantly year to year from March 13th to April 13th.  Only four single family homes closed in the last 30 days of spring market. Fourteen single family homes closed over the same period in 2019. Since 2014 home sales in the third month of the year have been fairly consistent. 2009-2013 lower unit sales were most likely influenced by the 2008-2009 financial markets and mortgage crash. Once the mess cleared out unit sales and prices had mostly gone up in Lincoln Square.

Closed single family homes March 13th - April 13th
2020: 4 closed homes
2019: 14 homes closed
2018: 15 homes closed
2017: 17 homes closed
2016: 8 homes closed
2015: 14 homes closed
2014: 7 homes closed
2013: 1 home closed
2012: 12 homes closed
2011: 3 homes closed
2010: 3 homes closed
2009: 5 homes closed
A two-flat conversion to single family home in the works. 2115 West Sunnyside (situated on a 37'x125' lot sold early 2019 for $730,000. 
Lincoln Square 2020 Q1 Single Family Home Sales
First quarter homes sales are down in 2020. Twelve homes sold Q1 of 2020 with a median price of about $925,000. That's a big median price for Q1 homes and is reflected in the mostly higher asking prices and lower unit sales numbers we witnessed during the start of this year.
2019 nineteen homes closed with a median price of $740,000.
2018 twenty-five homes closed with a median price of $650,000
2017 twenty-eight homes closed with a median price of $815,000
2016 twelve homes closed with a median price of about $525,000.

Under Contract
Eleven homes are currently under contract with a median asking price of  about $625,000. Sales and median price will tail off for the remainder of the year.  I'm not sure we will see a bump due to pent up demand by the end of this calendar year.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Q1 Near North condo sales consistent over five years

SoNo condos on the left.  The popular Near North luxury towers bordering Lincoln Park and Old Town feature a condo tower and separate rental apartment building with 24/7 amenities for residents.  The surrounding area has countless dining, fitness, shopping and entertainment opportunities. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty.
Before the COVID crash I started the year spending some time in the Near North Side Community Area (with highly desirable Old Town, Gold Coast, River North, Streeterville neighborhoods). Let's take a look at greater Near North condo sales.

30 West Oak in Gold Coast of the Near North Side Community Area. The desirable luxury condo building known for large units was built in 2006-2007.

Near North attached sales (condo, townhouse) Jan 1st to March 31st

456 attached units sold in 1st quarter of 2020 with a median price of about $400,000.  The highest  priced sale in Q1 is 451 East Grand Unit 6311, Chicago IL 60611 for  $6,250,000 .  The lowest priced condo sold is 233 East Erie Street, Unit 1205, Chicago IL 60611 for $120,000. The one bed, one bath unit was a foreclosure sale.

In 2019 Q1 430 units sold with a median price of about $370,000.
2018, 543 units closed over Q1 with a median price of $415,000
Looking back at 2015, 488 units closed with a median price of  $390,000.

Gold Coast modern town homes at 1009 North Dearborn
Unit sales and median price have been consistent Q1 over the past five years with very similar numbers in 2015 and 2020. 

Thursday, April 09, 2020

New construction starts on Planet Granite in Lincoln Park / Old Town... also listed for sale $22.4 million

Construction of the new Planet Granite Lincoln Park/ Old Town at 1450 N Dayton.  The property is being marketed for sale as well for $22,460,000 on  All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty

We've had several appointments in the Lurie Children's Hospital offices at 1440 N Dayton in southern Lincoln Park/ Old Town area. A new Planet Granite climbing gym is being built next door at 1450 North Dayton Street as part of a larger Shops at Big Deahl mixed use development. The general location is home to several office buildings, condos/ apartment buildings, services, entertainment establishments, community centers and retail shopping (New City shops/ apartments).  The British International School is across the street, REI building is just west along the river and Whole Foods steps away at 1550 N Kingsbury.

The vacant lot at 1450 N Dayton  (West Blackhawk and North Dayton) before the construction ramp up. SoNo East Apartments and condos are in the background to the north. A parking facility and The British School are directly east.
We've wondered about progress on the large vacant lot while visiting this location for some time. In addition to the Lurie Children's offices we've frequented the former Pump it Up and Menomonee Club Drucker Center within the block. It's a unique spot with a crazy array of work places, amenities, fitness options, schools and entertainment for kids and adults... packed into a two square block with even more coming!

Photos taken from the 2nd floor at 1440 North Dayton
According to public records a special warranty deed was recorded at 1450 N Dayton with an amount of $16,000,000 in 2015. I found a for sale advertisement on for the Planet Granite single tenancy building asking $22,460,000.  The Real Deal had a story when the property was first listed a year ago.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

A look at new construction, 1st quarter home sales in Bowmanville (up 200%!)

New construction on three contiguous houses continues yesterday on the 5300 Block of North Bowmanville Avenue in the Bowmanville neighborhood of Lincoln Square. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
Since the late 1990's Bowmanville has seen many new construction single family homes replace the smaller frame cottages known for the area. It's rare however to see three contiguous new homes built.
5349-51 N Bowmanville Avenue closed last October for $765,000 by Bowmnaville Development LLC. A loan of about $1.73M was taken out on the property.  The property consisted of three contiguous lots measuring 75 feet across (they are shorter than standard lots). An old frame two-flat was torn down.

5349-51 N Bowmanville Ave house construction early this year.
Bowmanville neighborhood of Lincoln Square.  I base the sales stats on the above area.
Bowmanville single family home sales
Three houses sold 1st quarter 2020. That's a 200% unit sale increase over the same period of 2019! How about that!? Only one house sold 1st quarter 2019.
In 2018, ten homes sold in the 1st quarter with a median price of about $775,000.
In 2017, three homes sold 1st quarter.
In 2016, five homes sold in 1st quarter.
In 2015, seven homes sold 1st quarter with a median price of $830,000.

Only two houses are currently under contract in the neighborhood. Eight homes are currently listed for sale on the MLS (I've seen about three or so more houses listed in Private Listing Network of the MLS and Top Agent Network that is only open to Top 10% of Brokers who subscribe). Going to be a slow year for unit sales 😐

Early this year, anecdotally speaking, I noticed single family home new construction and complete gut renovation activity was greater than in the past couple years around Bowmanville/ Lincoln Square. It will be interesting to see how sales shake out after the outbreak quiets down later this year. 

Monday, April 06, 2020

Lakeview Treasure Island site cleared for 208 rental apartments

The former Treasure Island grocery store at 3460 N Broadway has been cleared to make way for a large rental apartment complex. Photo taken last week - Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty.
I passed the site of the Optima Lakeview apartment development at 3460 N Lakeview, Chicago IL 60657. The former Lakeview Treasure Island property was sold for about $12,850,000 according to public records (I looked it up).  Anybody miss the Treasure Island?  A Jewel-Osco and Whole Foods are also nearby in this heavy grocery store area. 

The development is approved for 208 units and 97 parking spaces.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Old Town Triangle has a message for you (sales stats too)

In case you forgot...  wash your damn hands!       (All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)
There have been a bevy of inspirational messages posted in windows and on front gates around Chicago. These homeowners in Old Town Triangle neighborhood of Lincoln Park care about your safety.  Message heard loud and clear.  I also love the red door.

Brick sidewalk and a red door, messages in the window... charm for days.

Old Town Triangle sales area I use to compare stats over time. If choosing a house apples to apples in size for my family this is probably my top location in Chicago. Not going to happen (and Lincoln Square is just fine too). 
Only one single family home has sold in Old Town Triangle first quarter of 2020 (January 1st to March 31st). 438 West Eugenie Street sold for $4,100,000 cash before being listed on the MLS. Do yourself a favor and flip through the photos. I feel it's one of the more attractive home renovations I've seen in awhile. Five single family home properties sold over the same time frame in 2019 with prices ranging from $665,000 to $1,900,000.

A typical frame house in Old Town Triangle proper. The buildings and lots tend to be smaller in the true historical potion of the neighborhood.

A good handful of single family homes will be available at any time in the greater Old Town Triangle luxury market of Chicago. However one sold (closed) home in any three months period is a rare low number.  Five homes are currently under contract with asking prices ranging from $1,250,000 to $1,875,000. 17 homes are listed for sale. Most have high market times (they've been on for awhile). Only one home was listed NEW in the last two weeks. Three homes have been put on temporary status which means they are unavailable for showings. 
A pretty condo building in the middle of Old Town Triangle
Thirty-three condo units (attached units) have closed from January 1st to March 31st, 2020.  The median price of a closed condo is about $431,000. Only 26 condo units sold last year over the same period with a median price of about $257,500 (the median price suggests high-rise units on North Clark and small vintage condos made up the bulk of sales first quarter 2019).

Twenty-six attached units sold in 2018 with a median price of $338,000
Twenty units sold same period 2017 with a median price of $323,000
Twenty-five units sold in 2016 with a median price of about $390,000

Friday, April 03, 2020

Owner cashes out on three Lincoln Park properties for $2,685,000, new construction "two-unit" condo buildings on the way

Three contiguous detached properties at 2768-2672 N Burling in Lincoln Park sold last year to two separate owners. Two small frame cottages are being redeveloped while the three-flat to the right remains for now. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
I've been a fan of North Burling Street in Lincoln Park since waaaayyy back. Like 1998! I especially like the 2400 Block of North Burling (it was between my old office and the old Children's Memorial Hospital campus where my wife worked). The 2400-2800 blocks of Burling in Lincoln Park offer an eclectic mix of old and new residential housing. The blocks have also maintained several rental multi-units in what has become a very expensive area in the city.

Bob came across a couple new construction projects on the 2600 Block of North Burling yesterday. The small frame cottage at 2668 N Burling was closed on 9/20/19 for $875,000 and the cottage  at 2670 N Burling on 9/27 for $875,000. The lots measure 25'x109' ($321.00 per sq/ft for the dirt). A few months 2672 N Burling (three unit building to the far right in the above photo) was also sold on 12/13/19 for $935K. The three contiguous properties were offered up by the same owner.  The three-unit building at 2672 N Burling looks like it will remain an owner occupied three-flat.

As far as the development goes make way for 4 new construction condos in what looks like two single family homes. Two unit condo buildings are not that common and it is an interesting choice for developers. Only one new unit is presently being marketed as "coming soon" at 2668 N Burling, Unit 2...a 3 Beds, 2.1 Baths penthouse for $1,375,000. No mention whether parking was included at that price?

Times have changed! Back in 2011 I wrote about these single family home foreclosures on the same 2600 Block of North Burling.  Read the post HERE

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Chicago TIF policy gets retool but reforms don't go far enough for many

The Lincoln Yards development became the poster child of all that was wrong with the Tax Increment Financing Program. In many citizen's eyes a huge successful developer received precious tax funding for an area that would be developed privately anyway.  Photos taken March 30th last week. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
Most resources are currently directed at fighting the corona-virus outbreak. That said the City Council still needs to govern and we'll need good policy going forward more than ever. New construction development was a top policy debate prior to the outbreak. Some Alderman in Logan Square even pushed for a development moratorium for properties along the 606 Trail. 

Lincoln Yards development site is situated between the Lincoln Park and Bucktown neighborhoods along the Chicago River.. Many of the residential and commercial spaces will afford spectacular skyline views.

The Tax Increment Financing Program (TIF) was a big mayoral campaign issue. Back in February WTTW did a story on Mayor Lightfoot's plans to reform how TIFs are utilized in Chicago. The Daily Line revisited the subject late last month.  We went out and took a few photos of the Lincoln Yards development site on March 30th. Lincoln Yards became Ground Zero for the TIF dispute during the last Mayoral election.

From my reading Lightfoot is promising more oversight and transparency into the actual process of determining which projects should be eligible for TIFs. The changes do not appear to rule out more prosperous areas of the city or large developers from benefiting from TIF funds to build private residential and commercial units. 

At West Dickens 

On West Cortland

Looking West