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2007: The year ahead: More Internet, higher rents, rising sales
Chicago Sun Times, Celeste Busk, 12/29/06
Economists and local housing experts have been busy analyzing statistics and trends to make their annual forecast for the housing market in 2007. To get an edge on predictions, estimates -- and even wild and far-flung guesses -- the Chicago Sun-Times polled local and national housing experts. We also had some fun and asked a Chicago psychic. Here's what we heard. Chicagoland Apartment Association. The 300-member association represents more than 2,500 apartment professionals responsible for 600-plus properties and 136,000 apartment units in the greater six-county Chicago area. The CAA sees rents in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs continuing to move higher by 5 percent to 6 percent in early 2007.....
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Lenders battle over Gouletas' River City
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 12/27/06
Two lenders are feuding in Bankruptcy Court over River City more than 10 months after developer Nicholas S. Gouletas defaulted on a loan to the South Loop condominium project. The dispute pits an affiliate of Chicago-based Marc Realty, which won a foreclosure judgment on the property?s commercial space in October, against an Ohio investor that holds a second mortgage on the space. The Ohio lender, a unit of the Cadle Co., forced a Gouletas-led entity that owns the commercial space to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy....
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REIT buys apartment property in Lombard
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 12/27/06
Amid a record year for sales of suburban apartment buildings, a Virginia-based real estate investment trust has paid $32 million for a 256-unit complex in Lombard. AvalonBay Communities has acquired the Covington, a 17-year-old property at 2101 S. Finley Road, from Prudential Real Estate Investors, confirms Walter Rebenson, AvalonBay?s vice-president of development. The Covington is the seventh Chicago-area apartment property for the REIT, which has been busy scouting the Chicago market for investments in recent years. Its local holdings include properties in Schaumburg and Arlington Heights, and the company is working on plans to build a 30-story apartment building on the north end of Lake Shore Drive.....
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Small communities still need to mind their own business
Chicago Tribune, Pamela Dittmer McKuen, 12/15/06
Small communities, with perhaps 20 or fewer residences, can be neighborly but they require just as much care and handling as the big ones. "It's easier to get things done," said Jim Kutill, treasurer of a six-unit association in Oak Park. "If you want to put a barbecue out back, it's not like first you have to go through a grounds committee and then a hearing committee. You just ask your neighbors, `What do you think?'" Another advantage, Kutill said, is that neighbors watch out for one another. "We take turns looking after each other's mail if someone is out of town," he said....
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Who Punched the Spike?
Chicago Sun Times, David Roeder, 12/12/06
The first rule a real estate developer adopts is: Don't risk your own money. Risk somebody else's. If he is to succeed in building a 160-story tower on Chicago's lakefront, developer Garrett Kelleher might need to break that rule and a few more. Kelleher, executive chairman of Shelbourne Development Group Ltd. in Dublin, has given city officials plans for a vast enlargement of what's being called the Chicago Spire. It's still a design of celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava, and it's still 2,000 feet tall, but almost everything else is changed. If City Hall consents, the building will be three times the size than under its initial plan. It will be fatter and, despite the name, will lose its spire. In its place will be 36 stories of the highest residences in the world, adding to the original count of 124....
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Giant condo tower raising big doubts
Chicago Tribune, Susan Diesenhouse, 12/8/06
The new design of a twisting skyscraper proposed for Chicago's lakefront, unveiled Wednesday, seeks to make it more financially feasible, but opinions about that seem to range from skeptical to dismissive. "It's financial suicide," Donald Trump, developer of a luxury condominium-hotel project going up not far away on the Chicago River, said Thursday of Shelbourne Development's plan to enlarge its proposed condominium tower on the river's north bank at Lake Shore Drive. But James Loewenberg, whose Magellan Development LLC is building Lakeshore East near Millennium Park, said, "It's a great project if they can pull off the numbers," referring to quickly selling the 1,300 luxury units for at least $1,000 a square foot....
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Apartment Market Rebounds in Chicagoland
Globe Street, Robert Carr, 12/6/06
The apartment market is returning in the metro area, according to market experts. Owners, lenders and analysts such as Marcus & Millichap and Appraisal Research Counselors say there are a number of reasons why the residential rental market is on an upswing, and should continue through 2007, such as an improved job market, higher interest rates, a shrinking of available units due to condo conversions and limited new construction. ?The apartment sector is fantastic,? says Tannie Schnell, managing director of locally based Meridian Capital Group LLC....
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Calatrava tower to drop spire
Crain's Chicago Business, Eddie Baeb and Alby Gallun, 12/6/06
The Chicago Spire is losing its point. The developer of the proposed Streeterville tower, right, that would be North America's tallest skyscraper on Friday plans to file design changes with the city eliminating the 430-foot antenna that tops the twisting design by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Instead, condominium units in the building are to rise all the way to the top at 2,000 feet, says Thomas Murphy, a Chicago attorney and spokesman for the project?s developer, Garrett Kelleher of Dublin, Ireland-based Shelbourne Development Ltd....
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Pritzkers put Presidential Towers on the block
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun and Thomas A Corfman, 12/4/06
Complex likely to sell for $450 million or more in big payday for Pritzkers - Eleven years after bailing out the Presidential Towers apartment complex, Chicago's billionaire Pritzker family is selling the 2,346- unit West Loop property, which could fetch $450 million or more. Built with public subsidies in the mid-1980s, Presidential Towers became a political embarrassment by 1990, when its developers defaulted on a $159-million, federally insured loan. Yet the apartment complex, the largest downtown by far, is poised to generate a huge payday for the Pritzkers, who saved it from foreclosure in 1995 with a $14-million cash infusion. The sale of Presidential Towers would rank among the largest real estate transactions in the city in the past several years, rivaling the prices paid recently for some of downtown's biggest trophy office buildings. Large institutional investors continue to pour money into real estate and the downtown apartment market is especially hot. "I think there's going to be a lot of interest" in Presidential Towers, says Ron DeVries, vice-president at Appraisal Research Counselors, a Chicago-based consulting firm that tracks the apartment market. "It's kind of a signature building. It has an identity." Daniel Levin, a co-developer of the project and now a minority investor, confirms that CB Richard Ellis Inc. has been hired to sell....
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Fireplace sales heating up
Northwest Indiana Times, Katherine Ling, Medill News Service, 11/30/06
Higher energy prices make them more attractive alternative - Fireplaces and stoves may be making a comeback as a major source of home heating, as higher energy prices and advancements in technology make them a more attractive alternative, or supplement, to a central furnace that heats a whole house. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association's biannual survey....
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Rental complex sells for 2nd-highest per-unit price in '06
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 11/29/06
An investment fund has bought a Naperville rental complex for $66.3 million, paying the second-highest per-unit price this year for a Chicago-area apartment complex. The fund of New York-based real estate firm ING Clarion Partners purchased Railway Plaza Apartments, a 417-unit complex. Wiseman-Hughes Enterprises, the Wheaton-based developer that completed the project in 2000, is receiving nearly $159,000 a unit for the property, the secondhighest local per-unit price this year, according to Chicago-based Appraisal Research Counselors, which tracks the local rental market....
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Reschke gets loan for Gold Coast condo project
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 11/29/06
Undaunted by the soft downtown condominium market, developer Michael Reschke has landed a construction loan of more than $95 million for a 121-unit luxury condo project he plans on the Gold Coast. California-based Fremont Investment & Loan has agreed to provide the financing for the 35-story project at 10 E. Delaware Place, says Scott Manlin, Fremont vicepresident and regional manager. The loan will cover about 80% of the construction cost, estimated at more than $120 million. The financing will also include a mezzanine loan covering about 20% of the construction cost, possibly from Chicago-based Capri Capital Partners....
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Consumer demand for fireplaces and stoves heats up
Northwestern University - Medill News Service, Katherine Ling, 11/29/06
Fireplaces and stoves may be making a comeback as a major source of home heating, as higher energy prices and advancements in technology make them a more attractive alternative, or supplement, to a central furnace that heats a whole house. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association's biannual survey, demand for fireplaces, stoves, inserts and log sets in 2005 rose eight percent from 2004. The growing size of a home is helping fuel the trend. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the average floor area in a newly built home reached a record high of 2,434 square feet last year.....
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Sears Tower owners plan to replace lease agent
San Jose Mercury News, Bloomberg News, 11/28/06
The owners of Chicago's Sears Tower, the tallest building in North America, will end their agreement with CB Richard Ellis Group as the building's management and leasing agent at the end of the year. The Sears Tower's ownership group, which includes Skokie, Ill.-based American Landmark Properties, and investors Joseph Chetrit and Josep Moinian, is interviewing brokerage firms to handle the account. Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis, which last month agreed to buy Trammel Crow for $1.9 billion, will remain the leasing agent until a new company is hired....
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Downtown landlords should enjoy another good year
Crain's Chicago Business, Thomas A Corfman, 11/27/06
With rents and occupancy at record highs, downtown apartment landlords are in the middle of a boom likely to last until early 2008, when a wave of new developments hits the market. Effective rent in newer, Class A apartment buildings was virtually unchanged during the third quarter, slipping a penny, to $2.22 a square foot, compared to the second quarter. But it was nearly 9.5% more than in the yearearlier period, according to a report by Appraisal Research Counselors.....
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City & Country: Lure of castles in the sky
The Edge Singapore, Robin Goldwyn Blumenthal, 11/27/06
Growing demand for trophy apartments is keeping the boom alive in the high end of the US housing market At the highest reaches of apartment heaven, where only the wealthiest of the wealthy can afford to perch, even the air has a different feel. There?s something deliciously heady and almost unnatural in the new US$5 million ($1 approx US$0.64), US$10 million and US$20 million layouts that are proliferating in big cities across the US. With their stately entryways, high ceilings and sweeping views of the world below, they exude a hushed grandeur....
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Developers advised to stand out
Chicago Tribune, Mary Umberger, 11/26/06
The downtown condo market has slowed from jet-propelled to a mere chug, chug, chug--but in the bigger real estate picture, that's not such a bad thing. "Right now, sales for newly constructed condos are down about 10 percent from last year," says analyst Gail Lissner. She adds that statistic doesn't really tell the tale because in 2005, the downtown market grappled with selling not only new construction, but also the conversion of 4,000 rental units to condos. Lissner, along with colleague Ron DeVries of Appraisal Research Counselors, specializes in tracking the minutiae of the downtown market, and their firm's current assessment, in her words, is that "downtown has done pretty well this year."...
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Downtown condo sales slow down, but developers don't
Crain's Chicago Business, Eddie Baeb, 11/20/06
Despite a sharp sales decline of new-construction condominiums and townhomes, developers are marketing new projects at a record pace. Sales in the third quarter fell 38% to 722, the third straight time sales have dropped from the previous quarter, according to a new study by Appraisal Research Counselors. Over the first nine months of the year, sales are down 7.6% from the year-earlier period. ?The mood in the market has changed,? Appraisal Research writes in its third-quarter report coauthored by Gail Lissner, a vice-president of the Chicago-based real estate consulting firm. ?Buyers are definitely taking longer to make purchasing decisions, with less sense of urgency in....
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New condo sales down again in 3Q
Crain's Chicago Business, Eddie Baeb, 11/18/06
Sales of new condos and townhouses downtown fell 35% to 1,324 in the third quarter compared to the year-earlier period. Sales dropped 11.5% from the second quarter, the second straight quarterly decline, according to a new report by Appraisal Research Counselors. Sales of condos newly converted from apartments or other types of space ? a small slice of the market ? rose 80%, but sales of new-construction condos dropped 38% from the second quarter. Appraisal Research predicts a record 6,500 new-construction condos will begin marketing this year, compared with 4,700 last year.
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Sky's the limit for planned Spire prices
Chicago Sun Times, David Roeder, 11/16/06
The developer of the proposed 124-story spire on the lakefront Wednesday disclosed the firms hired for the project as his Chicago spokesman declared the residential building will be marketed to the world's wealthiest buyers. Chicago attorney Thomas Murphy, spokesman for developer Garrett Kelleher, said the building should command condominium prices far above the Chicago market's upper limits. Kelleher is executive chairman of Shelbourne Development Ltd. in Dublin. Last July, he took over rights to the project's 2.2-acre site at 400 N. Lake Shore Drive for $64 million. The architect would be renowned Spaniard Santiago Calatrava. Twisting and skinny, the renamed Chicago Spire....
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Lap of Luxury
Barron's, Robin Goldwyn Blumenthal, 11/13/06
At the highest reaches of apartment heaven, where only the wealthiest of the wealthy can afford to perch, even the air has a different feel. There's something deliciously heady and almost unnatural in the new $5 million, $10 million and $20 million layouts that are proliferating in big cities across America. With their stately entryways, high ceilings and sweeping views of the world below, they exude a hushed grandeur....
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Empty nesters up the ante in the luxury condo market
Satisfaction Magazine, Jane Adler, 11/12/06
Bill Zanetis owns an apartment on the 11th floor of a new building on Chicago?s Gold Coast. Though the building?s exterior is Art Deco, Zanetis followed his passion for classicism and hired well-known New York designer Eric Cohler to create a Federal-style home with crisp detailing. The condo has formal....
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Market Report: Second Home Buyers On The Rise
Trump International Hotel & Tower - Chicago - Newsletter, Koenig & Strey GMAC Real Estate, 11/8/06
Niche buyers are driving demand in the Chicago condominium market. Second Home Buyers, Move-Up Buyers and Individual Investors are a few of the strongest segments of a very diverse buyer pool, according to the Appraisal Research Counselors. The ARC 2006 Q2 Market Report notes a rise in the number of out-oftown buyers "...with downtown Chicago becoming increasingly desirable to persons desiring a part-time residence. Whether snow-birds, suburbanites, out-of-towners, or splitters, this is a growing segment of buyers in the market." The report also attributes buyer activity to Move- Up buyers seeking newer and more luxurious condos to replace smaller, older units....
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Rising up along Roosevelt
Chicago Tribune, Susan Diesenhouse, 11/4/06
12-acre project will add high-rise and loft condos, smaller retail spaces in South Loop, where residential development is surging - A Chicago developer is set to kick off an approximately $900 million mixed-use project in the South Loop that should accelerate residential development and introduce a new type of retailing to an area where freight railroads and industry once thrived. On Nov. 16, Centrum Properties Inc. will begin marketing the first phase of the project, called the Roosevelt Collection, which, when finished, will comprise as many as 1,000 condominiums, parking for 1,700 cars, a 2.5-acre park and about 400,000 square feet of retail space....
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Columbus Hospital to make way for condos
Chicago Tribune, Susan Diesenhouse, 10/27/06
By late November demolition will start on the long-shuttered Columbus Hospital to clear the 3.4- acre site at 2520 N. Lakeview Ave. for construction of what one industry expert says is the first major multifamily project to go up in Lincoln Park since the 1970s. In about three years, at a cost of approximately $350 million, the affluent North Side neighborhood will have Lincoln Park 2520: a new triple-tower condominium high-rise designed by Lucien Lagrange Architects with perhaps 312 units and 13 townhouses, Chicago-based developer RMI LLC said Thursday. Traditional masonry design, luxury features and ample services will be "reminiscent of the finest 1920s and 1930s buildings in Lincoln Park," Peter E. Ricker, an RMI principal, said of the homes priced from about $550,000 to perhaps $10 million. "It's a special site because the views of North Pond, Diversey Harbor and the lake can't ever be blocked." The project, which will have towers rising 22, 31 and 38 stories, is a planned development approved by the city and community, and it has been a long time coming. It daunted one developer, American Invsco Corp., which last spring sold the site for $45 million to RMI and its financial partner, an affiliate of General Electric Pension Trust....
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Price cuts follow glut in housing
Chicago Tribune, William Sluis, 10/27/06
Median new-home price falls; incentives for buyers may grow - The economy may be showing signs of weakness, especially in the Midwest, but consumers are finding bargains as they pick over abundant backlogs of cars and new homes. Two government reports Thursday showed that the economy still is growing, but price cuts have become a fact of life for those selling the basics. Housing developers, who saw prices fall last month at the fastest rate in 36 years, are feeling it most. The Commerce Department reported that the median price for a new home sold nationally in September fell to $217,100, a drop of 9.7 percent from a year earlier, when the median price was $240,400....
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Condo sales fall for 2nd straight quarter
Crain's Chicago Business, Eddie Baeb, 10/25/06
While the apartment market remains strong in Chicago and the suburbs, downtown condominium sales fell for a second straight quarter, raising concerns that a number of proposed high-rises may ultimately be scrapped. Condo sales in new buildings fell to about 700 in the third quarter, down from about 1,200 in the second quarter and 1,600 in the first quarter. Sales this quarter also marked a 26% decline from the same period a year ago, according to a report to be released next month by Appraisal Research Counselors, a Chicago-based real estate consulting firm....
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Daley seeks to slow condo conversions
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 10/23/06
Panel to scope out ways to curb drain on affordable housing - After more than a decade of relentless conversion of Chicago apartments to condominiums, Mayor Richard M. Daley has called for a task force to study ways to limit the loss of affordable housing in the city. Mayor Daley says he has asked Alderman Ray Suarez (31st), chairman of the City Council's Committee on Housing and Real Estate, to direct the panel. "We have to have something to offset condo conversions, at least partially," the mayor recently told Crain's Chicago Business' editorial board. Conversions have become a hot political issue in other cities, including Los Angeles and Las Vegas....
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Equity Residential in its first project in city
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 10/18/06
As it exits the Chicago suburbs, Equity Residential has acquired a taste for the city. In its first project ever in Chicago, the Chicago-based real estate investment trust (REIT) has teamed up with Dallas-based Lincoln Property Co. to develop a 278-unit apartment building in the South Loop. Due to be completed in 2008 at a cost of about $71 million, the project at 1401 S. State St. is already under construction, but Equity Residential?s involvement is not widely known. Equity Residential, one of three Chicago-based REITs chaired by billionaire investor Sam Zell, is the nation?s largest publicly traded owner of apartments, with more than 200,000 units in 32 states and the District of Columbia....
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Fund started by Allison Davis buys 1212 S. Michigan
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 10/4/06
Amid a surging downtown apartment market, a fund launched by real estate investor Allison Davis has paid $65 million for a 344-unit rental building at 1212 S. Michigan Ave. The 30-story building is the first acquisition of DV Urban Realty Partners I L.P., a real estate fund that Davis Group LLC started last year, says Jared Davis, managing partner of the fund and Mr. Davis? son. Built in 1981 and renovated in 2003, the high-rise is 95% leased. The building was ?a natural asset? to buy considering the Davis Group?s familiarity with the neighborhood, Jared Davis says. The company is building the Columbian, a 46-story condominium just north of the apartment tower, and it redeveloped the Roosevelt Hotel at 1152 S. Wabash Ave. into apartments a few years ago.....
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Texas firm wants to buy downtown site, build apartments
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 10/4/06
A Texas apartment company new to Chicago is negotiating to buy a property just east of the Merchandise Mart where it plans to build a 300-plus unit apartment building. San Antonio-based Lynd Co. is in ?advanced discussions? to buy the parcel at Wells and Kinzie streets from Sterling Bay Cos., the Chicago-based real estate firm that owns the lot, says Sterling Bay Principal Andy Gloor....
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Information Services of Illinois Offers Profiles for Chicago & Cook Condos
Business Wire, 10/2/06
Real estate agents, investors, developers and others use data to drive target-marketing efforts - Information Services of Illinois LLC, (ISI) a veteran Chicagoland real estate data provider, is now providing ownership information on individual condominium units via its Property Profile product online at www.InformationServicesofIllinois.com....
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Chicago market defies housing bubble but ultra-luxury sales are slowing down
New Homes Magazine, Don DeBat, 9/27/06
Reports of a ?housing bubble" may have been greatly exaggerated in downtown Chicago compared with other housing markets nationwide, real estate experts say. Downtown condominium sales slowed from the record levels of 2005 to a ?strong, extremely active market" in the second quarter of 2006, according to housing analyst Appraisal Research Counselors? latest Residential Benchmark Report....
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Conod prices near cliff
Chicago Tribune, Susan Diesenhouse, 9/23/06
Apartment developers cheaply taking over failed conversion projects - So far the housing slump has been marked by slowing sales. Now there are signs that rapidly falling prices could be on the way. Earlier this month a Chicago developer sold 150 condominiums in a two-hour lottery by discounting prices about 20 percent from what he would have asked last spring, an indication that industry observers say could signal widespread price reductions here and around the country. For the first time in his 37 years as a developer, Nicholas S. Gouletas, chairman of Chicago-based American Invsco Corp., held a lottery to sell his condos, in this case 150 moderately priced residences in a 292-unit vintage high-rise at 182 W. Lake St....
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Many South Side sites on Parade of Homes
Chicago Sun Times, Bill Cunniff, 9/22/06
Sixteen new developments will be showcased this weekend during the South Side Parade of Homes. The homes are on scattered sites in four neighborhoods. "These South Side neighborhoods -- North Kenwood/Oakland, Bronzeville, Woodlawn and South Shore -- are booming," said Mark Sutherland, one of the founding members of the Southside Builders Association, a recently formed trade organization of smaller developers that build on the South Side. He is also principal of Sutherland Pearsall Development Corp....
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Glut reaction?
Chicago Tribune, Mary Umberger, 9/17/06
Sellers acknowledge that market has slowed, but buyers see opportunity in the 'G' word - In the condo market, "glut" is becoming a fourletter word--at least for sellers. The once-exuberant market isn't dead--drowsy, maybe, but not dead--and it's a brilliant time to be a buyer, real estate experts say. "Buyers are expecting more. They know it's a buyer's market," according to Deerfield agent Honore Frumentino. "The sellers who are willing to play ball are getting their homes sold....
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Appraiser impressed by Cambridge's ability to quickly respond to borrower needs
Cambridge Realty Capital Companies e-PULSE!, 9/14/06
If you're looking for an FHA-approved MAP lender to leisurely guide you through the HUD lending process, Cambridge Realty Capital may not be the best fit for you. "Cambridge is an exceptionally competent senior housing/healthcare lender that thrives on getting even complex transactions done very quickly," says commercial real estate appraiser Michael Cooper. Mr. Cooper is Vice President and Director for the Senior Care Division of Chicago-based Appraisal Research Counselors. The highly diversified appraisal company works with virtually every type of real estate, from single-family homes to commercial high rise buildings, and has performed market analysis and appraisals for senior housing/healthcare care properties in three Midwestern states. "We've completed numerous assignments under HUD's MAP lending program for both Section 232 and Section 236 deals. In these transactions we typically incorporate a three-tiered approach for completion of the appraisal, market study and supporting forms. "We've been working with Cambridge for more than six years....
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50-story condo, hotel tower planned for Streeterville
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 9/13/06
Residential developer Draper & Kramer Inc. plans to build a 50-story condominium and hotel tower in South Streeterville, a neighborhood teeming with new condo projects. Designed by Chicago architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz, the high-rise on the west side of Fairbanks Court between Ohio Street and Grand Avenue would include about 170 high-end condos and 200 hotel rooms, says Donald Vitek, vice-president of acquisitions and development at Chicago-based Draper & Kramer....
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Merc to add real estate futures
Chicago Tribune, From Tribune news services (Ann Saphir, Bloomberg), 9/7/06
Commercial property contracts based on indexes; 10 planned - The Chicago Mercantile Exchange said Wednesday that it will offer futures and options on commercial real estate, allowing investors to bet on swings in the value of the $5.3 trillion U.S. market. The contracts, based on indexes developed by San Francisco-based Global Real Analytics LLC, will begin trading in the first quarter of 2007, the Merc said. The exchange will list 10 cash-settled contracts: a composite index, five regional indexes and contracts based on retail, office, apartments and warehouse properties. "There's quite a bit of risk out there," said Felix Carabello....
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C.A.R. Honors Trio at Gala - Newman, Stunard and Past President Little
Chicago Realtor, 9/1/06
C.A.R. will honor three outstanding individuals for their achievements and commitment to Chicago?s real estate community at the 123rd Inaugural Gala. 2006 Hall of Fame Inductee John R. Newman; 2006 Hall of Fame Inductee Eugene Stunard; and 2006 REALTOR® of the Year Darlene Little. Eugene Stunard, MAI, is a Partner in Appraisal Research Counselors®, which he co-founded in 1968 with his wife, Joan Stunard. Appraisal Research Counselors® is the largest commercial real estate appraisal, research and counseling firm headquartered in Chicago, dealing with investment grade property and a neighborhood firm appraising commercial, multi-family and singlefamily properties for local, regional and national clients. In addition to being active on a national scale with office, retail, hotel, nursing homes and industrial properties, Appraisal Research Counselors® was a major participant in the early development of the Chicago residential condominium market through pioneering appraisal, research and counseling for conversions, adaptive reuse and new construction product. The quarterly Benchmark publications have had a significant impact on real estate development in Chicago by providing meaningful research and counseling regarding the downtown and suburban apartment and condominium markets. Gene has dedicated over a half century of service to the real estate appraisal, research and counseling community. Starting in 1954 at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana with the first real estate appraisal course offered by Professor Robert Otto Harvey, Gene graduated with the first class with a B.S. Degree in Urban Land Economics. Gene continued his service to real estate education by teaching for Triton College, the Society of Real Estate Appraisers and the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers. Gene also continuously served the real estate industry through his activities with the Chicago Association of REALTORS®, the Society of Real Estate Appraisers, the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers and Lambda Alpha International, an honorary land economics society. The London Chapter of Lambda Alpha was created while Gene served two years as International President. In addition to numerous other honors and awards, Gene served on advisory boards for Triton College and John Marshall Law School as well as being on the Board of Directors for the Harbor Point Condominiums and a member of the Oak Park Plan Commission.
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Trump loses spot as most expensive condo project
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 8/23/06
The Ritz has trumped Trump. The Ritz-Carlton Residences, a high-end condominium project planned on Michigan Avenue, has unseated Donald Trump's skyscraper on the Chicago River as the most expensive new condo development in the city. The Ritz-Carlton project sold for an average price of $1,076 a square foot in the second quarter, compared with $1,040 a square foot for the Trump International Hotel & Tower, according to a report by Appraisal Research Counselors....
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Apartment wave forms on Chicago's horizon
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 8/20/06
As condos cool, rental construction heats up Amid rising occupancies and rents, the downtown apartment market is on the verge of its biggest construction boom in nearly 20 years. Developers will add more than 1,250 apartments to the downtown market this year and are working on plans to build as many as 8,000 units over the next four years, according to a report by Appraisal Research Counselors, a Chicago real estate consultancy. That would increase the total 44% to roughly 30,250 units....
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Downtown market for new homes cools in 2Q
Crain's Chicago Business, Thomas A Corfman, 8/16/06
After a torrid streak, the downtown Chicago market for new homes cooled during the second quarter but still recorded strong results. Sales of new condominiums, townhomes and condo conversions fell by a third to 1,496 units during the third quarter, compared to the prior period, according to the Downtown Chicago Benchmark Report by Appraisal Research Counselors. A huge wave of new projects should intensify the competition for developers who already ?are finding their margins squeezed by higher construction costs, a rising interest rate environment, and higher buyer expectations ?,? says the report, coauthored by Gail Lissner, vice president with the Chicago consulting firm....
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Condo sales dip in 2Q, but so does inventory
Crain's Chicago Business, Thomas A Corfman, 8/14/06
Sales of new condos and townhomes in the center of Chicago fell by a third, to 1,496 units, during the second quarter compared with the first quarter, another sign that the downtown housing market is slowing from its record-setting pace. Yet Appraisal Research Counselors says the inventory of completed but unsold new condos fell during the second quarter to 142 units, from 217, easing concerns about a glut.
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Suburbs see occupancy and rent increases
Chicago Tribune, Mary Umberger, 8/13/06
Renters, get out your checkbooks: A new report on the suburban rental market says that the struggle for landlords to keep apartments filled is over. The goal now--depending on which side of the check you're on--is to raise the rent. With suburban apartments at about 97 percent occupancy, the average rent per square foot is up 5.6 percent from one year ago, according to a survey of the suburban market by Appraisal Research Counselors in Chicago....
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Running ahead of Olympics
Chicago Tribune, Kathy Bergen, 8/13/06
Bronzeville and the surrounding area are undergoing a residential rebirth, and that growth might not help the city's bid for the 2016 Games. But retail outlets are still sorely lacking - The clanking and grinding of earth-moving machinery was unmistakable, even from the roof of the 33-story Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, which offers a sweeping view of the sites where the city hopes to host the 2016 Olympic Games. The distant clatter, from the first large-scale residential project to leapfrog the Stevenson Expressway in recent memory, the $150 million Eastgate Village just east of Mercy Hospital...
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Bloated home prices: Complaints against Illinois appraisers on the rise
Chicago Sun Times, Larry Finley, 8/13/06
Appraisers are taking the heat in Illinois and nationwide for what some see as a bloating in real estate valuations. A rising number of complaints against residential appraisers by Illinois consumers and financial institutions has spurred state regulators to ask for greater authority to crack down on abuses. The charges include over-inflated appraisals, underestimates and criminal fraud, according to Daniel E. Bluthardt, director of the Illinois Division of Professional Regulation....
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Suburban apartment sector on the rise
Crain's Chicago Business, Thomas A Corfman, 8/9/06
The suburban apartment occupancy rate soared during the second quarter, setting the stage for steep rent increases for the rest of the year. The occupancy rate rose to 97.1% during the second quarter, compared to 96.4% during the prior period and 95.8% during the year-earlier period, according to Appraisal Research Counselors, which surveys 212 apartment complexes totaling nearly 72,300 units located in the Chicago suburbs....
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New towers to rise near Scottish Rite
Chicago Tribune, Susan Diesenhouse, 8/5/06
The Scottish Rite Cathedral in the Gold Coast neighborhood has had its share of lives. Built as the Unity Church in 1869, it survived the Great Chicago Fire two years later but with extensive damage. It rose again, rebuilt in Joliet limestone as a towering Gothic presence at North Dearborn Parkway and Walton Street. In 1911, the Scottish Rite, part of the Masons fraternal order, purchased....
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Sweetening the Deal: Juicy incentives await those with
Chicago Sun Times, Larry Finley, 8/4/06
When the hot Chicago summer temperatures keep people close to home near the air conditioning or out of town altogether, it takes a little extra incentive to get them to think of buying a condominium. Especially during a market slowdown, condominium developers give away everything from flat screen televisions and bicycles to cut-rate mortgages and free assessments to get a little attention. "Anytime is a good time for an incentive," said sales agent George Schultz of @properties. "They are great when you have any kind of opening." Schultz just opened the sales center for the Lincoln Center Condominiums, at 2472 W. Foster....
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2006 Top Specialty Contractors; Contractors Scoring with Market, But...
Midwest Construction (McGraw-Hill Companies), Craig Barner, 8/1/06
The Midwest construction market is exciting enough to make specialty contracting executives want to roar, "Score!" Construction starts continue the trend of increasing - steeply in some cases. Indices and projections are strong, and backlogs are hiring appear to be increasing. But lurking in the backfield is the presence of commodity price increases that could cause some contractors to lose.....
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Affordable housing missing in boom areas
Chicago Tribune, Tom Walsh, Balanced Development Coalition, 7/26/06
Some look at the real estate boom in Chicago's South Loop and see great opportunities ("Looking south; Construction in the South Loop is booming, but buyers are taking their time," Real Estate, July 9). We look at the South Loop and see missed opportunities....
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The high life
New Homes Magazine, Alison Soltau, 7/26/06
High-rise builders offer hot designs, "wow" finishes in fiercely competitive market - When interior designer Hollis Savin went looking for a new highrise condo downtown, the empty nester promised herself that she wouldn?t settle for anything short of spectacular. Her future home would be steps from Mag Mile shops, so she could dive in and out of Nordstrom easily on cold days. Her condo....
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High-rises push south to Cermak Road as redhot South Loop bursts its borders
New Homes Magazine, Don DeBat, 7/26/06
With a lakefront location and plenty of vacant land for residential high-rise development, Chicago?s red-hot South Loop neighborhood is about to burst its boundaries. ?The South Loop housing market is outperforming all other downtown neighborhoods in the first quarter of 2006, capturing a whopping 44 percent of all newconstruction condominium and townhome sales in the downtown area," said Gail Lissner, vice president of Appraisal Research Counselors and co-author of the Downtown Chicago Residential Benchmark Report....
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An ethnic edge - Immigrant buyers, developers make their marks on housing market
Chicago Tribune, John Handley, 7/15/06
Condo buyers in the South Loop aren't referring to an old movie when they declare, "The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!" In fact, the Russians--and other ethnic developers--already have landed. Immigrants are a key factor in the Chicago-area real estate market. And as they buy up thousands of homes, developers from overseas also are coming to the area. This includes two natives of the former Soviet Union who are building their future along the city's skyline near the south end of Grant Park. The pair arrived in the U.S. with nothing except a desire to change their lives. Their American dreams have come true in the form of a skyscraper on South Michigan Avenue, with another on the way. Alex Vaisman and Jacob Bletnitsky have their roots in Odessa, in what is now Ukraine, but their careers have blossomed here. They are general partners in Russland Capital Group Inc., the builder of 29-story Michigan Avenue Tower, a 221-unit condo at 1250 S. Michigan Ave....
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Developer hit with foreclosure suit over River City
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 7/12/06
Developer Nicholas S. Gouletas has landed in court over a soured investment in River City, the prominent South Loop condominium project designed by Bertrand Goldberg. An affiliate of Marc Realty filed a foreclosure suit in April to collect on an overdue $12.3 million loan for the commercial portion of the project, which is owned by an entity led by Mr. Gouletas, according to court documents. In May, a Cook County judge appointed Daniel J. Hyman, president of Chicago-based real estate brokerage Millennium Properties Inc., as receiver of the property at 800 S. Wells St....
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Looking South - Construction in the South Loop is booming...
Chicago Tribune, John Handley, 7/9/06
To see what's going on in Chicago's South Loop, take a drive or walk around what could be called "Crane City." New condos are sprouting up in all directions. Signs advertise new projects at almost every corner. The South Loop outperformed other parts of downtown in 2005 newconstruction residential sales and has increased its share of the downtown condo market to 44 percent, according to Appraisal Research Counselors, a Chicago firm that tracks residential sales. "Huge activity is going on in the South Loop. It's the most active part of the city," said Gail Lissner, vice president of Appraisal Research. "The South Loop has had dramatic growth. In 2000, the area had 7,700 housing units. By the end of this year, it will have 13,600, almost double."....
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High-rise condominium boom fuels Manhattanization of downtown Chicago
New Homes Magazine, Don DeBat, 7/7/06
The Manhattanization of Chicago likely accelerate in the second half of 2006 record number of new high-rise condominium projects moves from the drawing board construction sites, appraisal experts "The biggest story for 2006 is the amount new-construction condominium inventory announced this year," said Gail Lissner, Appraisal Research Counselors and Chicago Residential Benchmark Report....
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As home sales cool, apartments regain favor, market tightens
The Times (Ottawa, IL), Jonathan Bilyk, 7/6/06
Jonathan Spears admits to being a little particular. For more than a year, Spears, 30, of Peru, had searched for an apartment that could be closer to his job, tending bar at the Row House in downtown Ottawa. "I must've looked at 35 to 45 places," said Spears. "I wasn't just going to settle." Ultimately, his search ended late last month, when he signed a lease on a loft studio in downtown Ottawa for $500 per month....
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Real estate - Residential
Crain's Chicago Business, Focus: Market Facts, 7/3/06
Rents are growing fastest and vacancy rates are highest in the suburbs. While home values continue to climb throughout the city, we are lagging compared with the nation and have a long way to go to catch San Francisco....
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Ultra-Luxury The Buzz Word for Downtown Condos
DeBat Media, Inc., Don DeBat, 7/1/06
Ultra-luxury is the buzz-word for Chicago?s downtown condominium market in 2006. ?We expect very little new-construction condominium inventory to be priced under $300 per square foot in 2006, with the bulk of the new projects in the $300 to $399 per-square-foot range,? said Gail L. Lissner, vice president of Appraisal Research Counselors Ltd., co-author of the ?Downtown Chicago Residential Benchmark Report....
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Skyscraper projects booming in Chicago
Canton Repository, (AP), 6/26/06
In this city where the skyscraper was born, it is being reborn. Luxury condominium towers and office buildings that climb 600 feet or more ? some way more ? into the sky are sprouting up all over downtown. Along the Chicago River, the Trump International Hotel and Tower is inching its way up to what will be its full 92-story height. Nearby, plans are in the works for a 124-story skyscraper called the Fordham Spire that would knock the Sears Tower....
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Chicago developers reach for the sky
Crain's Chicago Business, (AP), 6/23/06
Construction boom adds 40 buildings of 50 stories or more since 2000 - In this city where the skyscraper was born, it is being reborn. Luxury condominium towers and office buildings that climb 600 feet or more - some way more - into the sky are sprouting up all over downtown. Along the Chicago River, the Trump International Hotel and Tower is inching its way up to what will be its full 92-story height. Nearby, plans are in the works for a 124-story skyscraper called the Fordham Spire that would knock the Sears Tower....
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Liberty Property starts building 2 warehouses
Chicago Tribune, Susan Diesenhouse, 6/21/06
With demand growing for warehouse distribution space in the Chicago area's approximately 1 billion-square-foot industrial property market, Liberty Property Trust will break ground Thursday on two such buildings in Aurora. The $30 million project at its Liberty Business Center near Interstate Highway 88 will total 800,000 square feet. And the Malvern, Pa.-based real estate investment trust is so confident about this market that the larger building, a 600,000-square-foot warehouse, is being built on speculation for occupancy this fall. "Business is picking up, and companies want space near Chicago and the airport," explained Don Schoenheider, a vice president at Liberty, which has a market capitalization of $3.9 billion. The risk might be minimal. Earlier this month Duke Realty Corp. of Indianapolis leased an 805,000- square-foot warehouse that it built on speculation at Park 55 near I-55 in Romeoville to Kimberly- Clark Global Sales Inc., said Andy James, a senior vice president at Duke....
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Late to an area? Make a nice profit anyway
Crain's Chicago Business, Lisa Bertagnoli, 6/19/06
Buy a popular type of property, or on the fringes, and reap rewards of city's hottest neighborhoods - Tales of investors making obscene amounts of money because they spotted the next hot area when it was still lukewarm are a dime a dozen. But some savvy buyers skip the urban-pioneer life and still rack up healthy profits. Charlie Heekin bought a threebedroom, 1,800-square-foot condo in 2004 near Irving Park Road and Southport Avenue....
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'Bloodbath' ended first condomania
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 6/19/06
Is Chicago immune to a crash? Anyone who remembers the collapse in the '80s says no; selling at a 50% loss - Sara Benson acquired her first condominium in the city at the peak of the boom, back when speculators traded condos like stocks and the value of some units doubled in as little as a year. It turned out, she paid too much: $24,000. That became clear when she sold the onebedroom walkup in Buena Park for $13,000 four years later, after the Chicago condo market crashed. It was 1983, a good year for Michael Jackson, whose album "Thriller" was selling....
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Aon building mulls condos
Crain's Chicago Business, Thomas A. Corfman, 6/19/06
Joins other landmarks seeking relief from slumping office market - Aon Center's owner is weighing a residential conversion of the top floors of the trophy tower overlooking Grant Park, in what is becoming a familiar formula for hard-pressed office landlords: If you can't lease it, turn it into ritzy condos. A fixture on the Chicago skyline since 1973, the former Standard Oil Building ? later known as the Amoco Building ? would be the most prominent example on a growing list of towers considering converting some of their vacant space to other uses. While the John Hancock Center is reviewing hotel proposals, IBM Plaza and 55 E. Monroe St. are studying residential plans; 900 N. Michigan Ave. is already marketing 48 condos made out of vacant offices....
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How to survive soaring rents
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ruth Simon, The Wall Street Journal, 6/13/06
It's no longer a renter's market. For years, rents have been flat or falling in cities nationwide -- a result of the booming home-sales market, which transformed scores of renters into owners. But as the housing market cools, rentals are once again in demand, liberating landlords in many markets to raise rents at the fastest pace in years. They're also cutting back on the goodies that previously helped lure tenants, such as a free month's rent or a free DVD player....
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Rising Rents Jolt Tenants
Wall Street Journal, Ruth Simon, 6/10/06
Cooling Housing Market Adds To Demand in Many Cities; How to Find Some Good Deals. It's no longer a renter's market. For years, rents have been flat or falling in cities nationwide -- a result of the booming home-sales market, which transformed scores of renters into owners. But as the housing market cools, rentals are once again in demand, liberating landlords in many markets to raise rents at the fastest pace in years. They're also cutting back on the goodies that previously helped lure tenants, such as a free month's rent or a free DVD player. While renters have had an easy ride for years, the current bout of rent increases could prove to be a jolt for many Americans, from seniors looking to downsize to recent grads looking for their own place. Average effective rents -- or what tenants pay after taking concessions into account -- are expected to rise 3% this year, according to Reis Inc., a real-estate research firm. Rents began picking up last year after several years of softness. As recently as 2002, rents fell 1%....
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Grand Plaza developers seek buyers for east tower
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 6/7/06
The developers of the Grand Plaza apartment complex in River North are seeking buyers for the property?s 481-unit east tower, retail space and parking garage, which could fetch $240 million or more. After completing the project in 2003, the developers sold its 283-unit west tower last year for $91 million to Chicago-based Terrapin Properties, which is converting the apartments into condominiums. The buyer of the east tower, at 540 N. State St....
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Insiders Make Sense of Trizec Sale
Globe Street, Dana Dubriwny, 6/6/06
Monday?s announcement of Trizec Properties and Trizec Canada selling to a joint venture between New York Citybased Brookfield Properties Corp. and the Blackstone Group for $8.9 billion came as a surprise to many industry insiders. Yet, after reviewing the details of the deal, several sources tell GlobeSt.com that the transaction makes perfect sense. The sale consisted of 61 office properties totaling 36 million sf in nine US markets. Jason Mattox, executive vice president with real estate investment firm Behringer Harvard....
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South Loop comes full circle
Northwest Indiana Times, Makiko Kitamura, Medill News Service, 6/4/06
Michael and Angelique Parker of west suburban St. Charles are proud parents of seven children, six of whom are grown and out of the house. Their seventh is still 13 years old, but they are wasting no time in preparing for their empty-nest years. "We've been thinking about this for three years," Michael Parker said. About a month ago, they scouted out Chicago's Printers Row....
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Developments Newsletter: May 23, 2006
DePaul University - The Real Estate Center, 5/23/06
On Monday, May 15th, The Real Estate Center hosted its 4th annual Founding Sponsor Luncheon featuring keynote speaker John Norquist, President and CEO of Congress for the New Urbanism. His remarks focused....
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Rental housing on the upswing
Northwest Indiana Times, Corina Quinn, Medill News Service, 5/21/06
Nationally, the apartment industry has seen improving occupancy levels and rental rates for the fourth consecutive quarter, according to a report released earlier this month by the National Multi-Housing Council, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group. "We're definitely seeing a rise in occupancy, and anecdotally in talking with some large owners of luxury high-rises downtown, (those building are) 100 percent occupied," said Judith Roettig, executive vice president for the Chicagoland Apartment Association. "And we're seeing rental rates being pushed....
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Suburban Multifamily Sales On Record Pace
Globe Street, Mark Ruda, 5/21/06
Suburban multifamily property sales are on track to break the record set in 2005, says Appraisal Research Counselors. Vice presidents Ron De Vries and Gail L. Lissner report first-quarter sales totaled $386.7 million, more than 40% of last year?s record $898.1 million. A normal year, according to the Appraisal Research Counselors database....
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Condo Sales Hot While Converters Cool
Globe Street, Mark Ruda, 5/19/06
While Downtown condominium conversions are returning to normal levels, 2006 could be a record year for new multifamily construction, according to Appraisal Research Counselors. The multifamily sages report marketing efforts have begun on 14 projects, involving 3,382 units, through the first four months of the year. Sales also are running at a record pace, with 1,624 units going under contract or reserved during the first quarter. It is the largest number Appraisal Research Counselors has seen since it began tracking sales in 1997....
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More renters, more rent money
Northwestern University - Medill News Service, Corina Quinn, 5/17/06
While home- and condo-owners may be alarmed by the shifting housing market, landlords are likely perking up as the rental side shows signs that it's tightening. Nationally, the apartment industry has seen improving occupancy levels and rental rates for the fourth consecutive quarter, according to a report released earlier this month by the National Multi-Housing Council, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group. In Chicago, landlords have been pleased with the change, said Judith Roettig, executive vice president for the Chicagoland Apartment Association....
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Conversion slowdown hits downtown condos
Chicago Tribune, Sharon Stangenes, 5/16/06
The number of buyers of downtown condominiums fell about 11 percent in the first quarter of 2006 from a year earlier, a pullback blamed by an analyst on a slowdown in condo conversions. Buyers signed contracts or reservations for 2,243 units in the quarter, a drop from 2,517 a year earlier. But sales of newly built units rose as sales of units converted from rentals fell. "Overall, sales were stronger last year, but a lot of that [strength] was condo conversions," said Gail Lissner, vice president of Appraisal Research Counselors, which released the figures Monday. The real estate consultancy tracks inventory and sales for an area from North Avenue to Cermak Road and from Lake Michigan to Ashland Avenue....
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Rents in Class A apartments rise in first quarter
Crain's Chicago Business, Thomas A Corfman, 5/16/06
Rents in newer, Class A apartment buildings rose by about 4.6 percent in the first quarter, to $2.07 a square foot, compared to the prior period, while the occupancy rate held steady, according to the Downtown Chicago Residential Benchmark Report by Appraisal Research Counselors. ?The market is undersupplied at this time,? according to the report, coauthored by Ron De Vries, vice president with the Chicago consulting firm. ?Concessions for the most part are gone.?....
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Downtown condo wave keeps rolling - Supply is rising. Can demand keep up?
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 5/15/06
Undaunted by talk of a housing bubble, developers piled into the crowded downtown condominium market in the first three months of this year. After record sales in 2005, developers announced plans for 2,382 condos in the first quarter, exceeding the average annual number of units announced in the past 11 years, according to real estate consultancy Appraisal Research Counselors of Chicago. The firm projects that developers could add as many as 8,600 units to the downtown market this year ? up 80% from last year ? though that number could fall if some projects get pushed into 2007. "We haven't had anything like this," says Appraisal Research Vice-President Gail Lissner. "There are so many people vying for the attentions of the buyer."...
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5 pockets stand out in city makeover
Chicago Sun Times, Mark J. Konkol and Art Golab, 5/14/06
Chicago is a city of evolving neighborhoods, tiny enclaves separated by the size of paychecks and the color of skin. They're squeezed so close that every few blocks yuppies give way to junkies, and whites to Latinos to blacks to Asians. And just five years after the U.S. census provided a snapshot of our town, many communities are markedly transforming. Hispanics are moving into Chicago in droves, whites have started to disappear and the black community remains stable. In fact, all but five of 77 community areas saw an increase in Hispanic residents, U.S. census data and market research projections show. Hispanics, for the first time, became the majority in Archer Heights, West Elsdon, Albany Park and Irving Park....
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Rent: It's not just a stage play anymore
Chicago Tribune, Mary Umberger, 5/14/06
For landlords, the housing boom has been the worst of times -- years of empty apartments, declining rents. For tenants, it's been the best of times, as apartment owners wooed them with incentives - - months of free rent, more amenities -- anything to keep them from buying condos. But now, the for-sale housing market's loss is the landlords' gain: The apartment business is finally looking up. For the fourth consecutive quarter, the apartment industry reported that the market is getting "tighter." That is, units are filling up, according to the National Multi-Housing Council, a trade group in Washington. It's the same story here, according to Judith Roettig, executive vice president of Chicagoland Apartment Association....
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Trump touts triumphs in growing condo market
Chicago Tribune, Susan Diesenhouse, 5/11/06
Real estate developer Donald Trump bragged Wednesday that sales have been brisk and that construction is ahead of schedule and under budget for the 92-story Trump International Tower and Hotel being built on the former site of the Chicago Sun-Times. "We're here to tell you how well we're doing," Trump said at a news conference here. "We sold 78 to 79 percent" of the units and are "up to about $725 million" in sales, almost the cost of construction, he added. "It's a great tribute to Chicago and what's happening here." Trump, flanked by his son and daughter, estimated total development costs....
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Trump cranks up publicity machine for final push
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 5/10/06
ust in case people didn?t know that condominiums in the Trump International Hotel and Tower were selling well, Donald Trump himself dropped by the building?s sales center Wednesday to deliver the message personally. With about 79% of the skyscraper?s condo and hotel units under contract, the Donald cranked up his publicity machine one more time in hopes of selling a few more?even after raising prices on them by 15%....
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Trump says sales towering
Chicago Tribune, Susan Diesenhouse, 5/10/06
Real estate developer Donald Trump bragged Wednesday that sales have been brisk and that construction is ahead of schedule and under budget for the 92-story Trump International Tower and Hotel being built on the former site of the Chicago Sun-Times. "We're here to tell you how well we're doing," Trump said at a news conference here. "We sold 78 to 79 percent" of the units and are "up to about $725 million" in sales, almost the cost of construction, he added. "It's a great tribute to Chicago....
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Spire overshadows Trump tower
New Zealand Herald, Bloomberg, 5/10/06
Chicago's edifice complex is back. Real estate magnate Donald Trump's 92-storey hotel and condominium tower in Chicago, a plan that had grabbed headlines, is losing the spotlight to a project by local developer Fordham that Trump dismisses as unworkable. The planned 124-storey Fordham Spire, which will start selling condominium units in the next month, boasts a design by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, bragging rights as North America's tallest building and a site closer to Lake Michigan....
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Trump Loses Bragging Rights as Chicago Tower Grabs Design Buzz
Bloomberg News, Keven Orland, 5/5/06
Chicago's edifice complex is back. Real estate magnate Donald Trump's 92-story hotel and condominium tower in Chicago, a plan that had grabbed headlines, is losing the spotlight to a project by local developer Fordham Co. that Trump dismisses as unworkable. The planned 124-story Fordham Spire, which will start selling condominium units in the next month, boasts a design by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, bragging rights as North America's tallest building and a site closer to Lake Michigan. That may let prices challenge the city's record $965 a square foot at the $800 million Trump International Hotel & Tower....
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Rent hikes spur some to buy homes - New leases showing bigest increase in 5 yrs
Chicago Tribune, Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, 4/29/06
Kim Burris is a veteran of the rent-versus-buy debate. For almost two years, the Highland Park native has dithered about whether to trade the flexibility of her month-to-month lease in the West Loop for the rewards of home ownership. Now, with the spring moving season in full bloom, Burris, 26, thinks she may finally be ready to enter the buying game. "I'm interested in looking again because that's where the market is going," said Burris, who is exploring condo options in the South Loop....
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Condo market: Hanging tough?
Crain's Chicago Business, H. Lee Murphy, 4/24/06
Worry, sure - but sales remain healthy; builders "still bullish" -- What if they build it ? condominiums in and around Chicago, that is ? and nobody comes? Amid a continuing binge in local condo construction, developers ponder this question as the residential real estate market ? in the face of rising mortgage interest rates ? begins to show signs of slowing. In white-hot cities such as Miami and Las Vegas, condo construction....
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Rent vs. Buy
Chicago Tribune, Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, 4/17/06
Kim Burris is a veteran of the rent versus buy debate. For almost two years, the Highland Park native has dithered about whether to trade the flexibility of her month-to-month lease in the West Loop for the rewards of homeownership. Now, with the spring moving season in full bloom, Burris, 26, thinks she may finally be ready to enter the buying game. "I'm interested in looking again because that's where the market is going," said Burris, who is looking at condos in the South Loop....
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Falor's trail - Brash hotel-condo developer faces numerous lawsuits
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 4/3/06
Robert Falor has emerged as one of the most aggressive promoters of the hottest real estate trend in downtown Chicago: selling hotel rooms as condominiums. But as the 38-year-old tries to build a condo-hotel empire stretching from the South Loop to Miami's South Beach, he is leaving behind a trail of lawsuits from creditors and a business associate. Many stem from a hotel supply business that was forced to shut down several years ago. Meanwhile, Mr. Falor pushes ahead with his biggest project in Chicago: converting about 300 of Hotel 71's 454 rooms into condos and rebranding the 71 E. Wacker Drive property as a Solis Hotel....
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Tips for spring apartment hunting with rent hikes liiming
Pioneer Press, Don DeBat, 3/30/06
If you are planning to buy that first condominium, better hurry because the cost of renting an apartment in the Chicago area is going up this spring. Financially squeezed apartment building owners say they are planning spring rent increases ranging from 3 percent to 11 percent in the Chicago area, and rental experts say it?s about time. ?For the first time since 2001, Chicago area rental property owners are forecasting rent increases,? said Judith Roettig, executive director of Chicagoland Apartment Association (CAA), which represents owners or managers of more than 600 properties with more than 136,000 apartments....
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Biggest rent hikes in 5 years
Chicago Sun Times, David Roeder, 3/24/06
Chicago area apartment owners plan to ring up their most substantial rent hikes in five years with this spring's lease renewals. Average rent hikes are expected to range from about 3 percent in some suburbs to 11 percent in Streeterville on the city's Near North Side, said the Chicagoland Apartment Association, a trade group for landlords. Experts said steady job growth has sent more renters into the market, as the number of available apartments has declined. Many rental buildings have converted to condominium ownership, and few new apartments have been built lately. "It was a renter's market for four years. Now we're entering into a landlord's market," said John Jaeger, first vice president at real estate firm CB Richard Ellis....
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Chicago, Under Siege by Geese, May Add Dogs, Shrubs to Arsenal
Bloomberg News, Duncan Moore, 3/23/06
Chicago's Grant Park, the expanse along Lake Michigan that's surrounded by $5 million condominiums and a $475 million arts and entertainment complex, is getting buried under layers of waste from Canada geese. To deter the birds on the so-called front yard of the third- most-populous U.S. city, park officials may unleash border collies, plant bushes and install sculpture. The geese threaten efforts to attract more visitors through outdoor summer movies and the Taste of Chicago....
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Housing pace slips, still solid - 7.9% slide in starts is less than expected
Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg News. Tribune staff reporter Sharon Stangenes contributed, 3/17/06
The pace of housing starts fell less than expected last month, suggesting housing demand is holding up in the face of higher mortgage rates. The Commerce Department said Thursday that builders broke ground on new homes at an annual rate of 2.12 million in February, down 7.9 percent from January. Building permits, a sign of future construction, fell 3.2 percent, to an annual rate of 2.145 million. Economists expected starts to fall to a 2.03 million rate in February, and permits were forecast to fall to a pace of 2.11 million. Builders kept up the momentum in February after unusually mild January temperatures let them get an early start on the construction season. "Housing starts are still on a rising trend despite all this talk about housing cooling off," said Kevin Logan, chief U.S. economist at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein....
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BOOM - The South Loop is Chicago's biggest residential Boomtown
Pioneer Press, Don DeBat, 3/16/06
The South Loop now is Chicago?s biggest new-home boomtown, and the trend likely will continue for years to come because of abundant vacant land, real estate experts say. ?The South Loop housing market outperformed all other downtown neighborhoods in 2005, capturing 36 percent of all new construction condominium and townhome sales, and it looks like the volume may be even stronger in 2006,? said Gail Lissner, vice president of Appraisal Research Counselors....
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Magnificent Mile chief plans to add to grandeur
Chicago Sun Times, Ted Pincus, 3/14/06
Even when you're sitting in the catbird seat, there's always another spot more appealing. So it is with the spokesman of Chicago's Magnificent Mile -- a retail corridor that's the envy of the nation -- upon returning from an even more chic urban enclave. Just back from casing the ambience of Zurich's elegant Bahnhofstrasse, John Maxson, president of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, tells me that the paragon of Swiss shopping venues is "almost exclusively high-end retailing, devoid of vehicular traffic and sports a superb circulator system...."
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Geese wearing out their welcome in Grant Park
Crain's Chicago Business, Gregory Meyer, 3/10/06
What?s good for the goose is not so good for Grant Park, at least as far as human users are concerned. Fans of Chicago?s front yard have been alarmed by what they see as a Canada goose population boom in the park this winter and are now organizing to take away the welcome mat. The nonprofit Grant Park Conservancy is meeting Monday to discuss the goose and its refuse, bringing along a University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) biologist for his input. ?They?re beautiful birds. There was time when it was such a rarity to see a Canada goose in Grant Park or anywhere near downtown,? said Bob O?Neill, conservancy president....
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Apartment shortages squeeze young, poor - as units dwindle, rents march higher
Chicago Tribune, Sharon Stangenes, Brenda Richardson and Suzanne Cosgrove, 3/9/06
LaDonna Dennis and her 9-year-old son want to live in a safe neighborhood on the South Side. But to do that, she may have to spend more than half of her $1,400-a-month income on rent. The 48-year-old single mother, like many other renters in Chicago and across the country, faces dramatically higher rents as the housing boom has swept away old buildings and turned others into expensive condominiums. Cook County is losing about 3,400 rental units each year, part of 200,000 units disappearing annually across the country. The shortage was outlined Wednesday in the first comprehensive study of the U.S. rental housing market by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. It was sponsored by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago....
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Pre-spring dip in mortgage rates boost home buying opportunities
Pioneer Press, Don DeBat, 3/2/06
If you are planning to buy a new home or condominium early this spring, there appears to be a slim window of opportunity still open to get a good deal on a home mortgage. After five straight weeks of interest-rate increases, the mortgage market took a breather in late February and interest charges eased a bit, home-loan experts said. ?Tame core-inflation figures and market confidence that the Federal Reserve Board will continue to keep inflation low kept mortgage rates in check,? said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist....
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10 ways to spend $300,000
Today's Chicago Woman, Danielle Tullier, 3/1/06
Where you end up and what you purchase funnels down to one principle : What's important to you? "There's not one right answer," says Gail Lissner of Appraisal Research, a leading firm that analyzes real estate transactions and property values....
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Equity Office buys Pointe O'Hare I building
Chicago Tribune, Thomas A Corfman, 2/22/06
Equity Office Properties Trust is boosting its presence near O'Hare International Airport, buying the Pointe O'Hare I building from developer Orix Real Estate Capital Inc. The Chicago real estate investment trust would pay about $225 a square foot, sources said. That would put the total price at about $59 million, based on a measurement of nearly 263,000 square feet of space. An Equity Office spokeswoman declined to comment. The transaction is the latest in a flurry of deals in the area, including last year's blockbuster purchase of the Riverway office complex and O'Hare International Center by Indianapolis-based Duke Realty Corp., an Equity Office rival. Located at 9550 W. Higgins Rd. in Rosemont, the 11-story structure Equity Office is buying struggled after construction in 2001 but is now 89 percent leased, according to research firm CoStar Group.....
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Apartment building sales top $1B in 2005
Crain's Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, 2/20/06
Heavy demand for condo-conversions drives activity - Sales of apartment buildings downtown and on the North Side more than doubled to a new high last year amid surging demand from developers who convert apartments into condominiums. Nineteen properties changed hands for a combined $1.1 billion, up from 11 buildings and the previous record of $510 million in 2004, according to Chicago-based real estate consulting firm Appraisal Research Counselors. The Chicago rental market is coming back....
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Downtown future in the bag
Chicago Sun Times, David Roeder and Sandra Guy, 2/12/06
Fresh from a record year for condominium sales, downtown Chicago is proving irresistible for retailers more accustomed to building near suburban rooftops. They're now scrambling for land within the city's man-made forest. Each high-rise stands as a treasure of disposable income to the big-volume grocers, hardware stores and discounters who are staking claims on the downtown dollar. The retailers' arrival signals a new phase in the central city's evolution as a place where people live, not just work. Four large-scale stores -- three groceries and a Home Depot -- plan openings by 2007. The size of the Home Depot, planned for the southeast corner of Roosevelt and Jefferson, will rival what the hardware chain builds in the suburbs. The groceries are Dominick's, Jewel and Whole Foods.....
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Reaching higher - more home buyers are choosing to live in condos, townhouses
Chicago Tribune, William Sluis, 2/11/06
If you're looking for a new home in 2006, there is a growing chance that you will be living higher off the ground or in tighter proximity to your neighbors. That's because more home buyers are deciding to buy a townhouse or condominium, instead of a single-family house. Home builders and analysts say the share of so-called attached housing in the Chicago area, especially in the suburbs, continues to grow. And it's not just because of the soaring price of land. "Townhouses and condos are being built in all parts of the region, even in the distant outlying areas," says consultant Steve Hovany. "It is not simply a matter of saving on costs." Buyers young and old are looking to avoid shoveling snow and cutting grass, said Hovany, of Strategy Planning Associates in Schaumburg. According to statistics....
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4th-quarter sales slip; year sets record
Chicago Tribune, Tribune staff, 2/10/06
The downtown market for new homes cooled during the fourth quarter of 2005, reaching the lowest level in two years, according to a forthcoming report by Appraisal Research Counselors. Nonetheless, full-year sales reached 8,162 units, shattering the previous record of 6,298 units, set in 2004. Fourth-quarter sales slipped 9 percent, to 1,225 units, compared to the same period in 2004, said Gail Lissner, vice president with the Chicago residential consulting firm....
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Grant Park coming out of the shadows
Chicago Tribune, Noreen S Ahmed, 2/5/06
Grant Park, the lakefront gem that languished while Millennium Park grabbed headlines, is poised for a makeover of its own. Driven by a small group of longtime enthusiasts and growing legions of newcomers to the booming South Loop-- and boosted by the acclaim that greeted the new park to the north--plans are under way for a series of new features. Construction in Grant Park....
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New Vision for Grant Park
Chicago Tribune, Noreen S Ahmed, 2/5/06
Grant Park, the lakefront gem that languished while Millennium Park grabbed headlines, is poised for a makeover of its own. Driven by a small group of longtime enthusiasts and growing legions of newcomers to the booming South Loop-- and boosted by the acclaim that greeted the new park to the north--plans are under way for a series of new features. Construction in Grant Park will begin soon for the city's most expensive dog park yet, gussied up with a doggy fountain and a canine refreshment stand. The city's "front yard"....
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South Side rising again
Chicago Sun Times, Larry Finley, 1/27/06
The South Loop and Near South Side will lead the 2006 parade of new housing in Chicago with more than 8,000 units getting under way. Three major developments are to begin in the South Loop, with other new projects in the works along the lakefront. "The South Loop housing market topped all other neighborhoods in 2005, capturing 46 percent of all new-construction condominium and town-house sales through the third quarter, and it looks like the volume might be even stronger in 2006," said Gail Lissner,
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Just add water
Chicago Tribune, John Handley, 1/14/06
It's the No. 1 New Year's resolution--losing weight--but it's never easy to keep. Some people, however, have a major advantage. The key: they have a full-scale gym, and perhaps a swimming pool, just an elevator ride away. Downtown Chicago's new condo buildings are running full-speed ahead with an increasingly popular trend--elaborate fitness facilities....
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Residential real estate market still strong in city
Crain's Chicago Business, Alan D Lev, President, Chicago Chapter Home Builders Assn of Greater Chicago, 1/9/06
Recently, a new movie came out about Chicken Little, who thought the sky was falling. If the movie is a flop, maybe the little fellow can set up shop as a real estate prognosticator. Fortunately, Chicken Little is fiction. But when the subject is residential real estate, doom-and-gloom predictions are all too real, too common and too often way off the mark. Once again, there may be less here than meets the eye....
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A towering time's peak almost in view
Chicago Tribune, Thomas A Corfman, 1/1/06
In real estate, as in comedy, so much depends on timing. "It was certainly time to sell everything in the last year or so," said developer John Buck, who in December sold his latest skyscraper at 111 S. Wacker Drive for a reported $410 million. "If you haven't sold, you might have missed the peak." That wouldn't be funny to downtown landlords who are stampeding to the market with buildings worth more than $3 billion to sell, about 50 percent more in value than the total sold in 2004.....
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