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Old December 1st, 2005, 01:22 AM   #521
Adam186
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^That would be disgusting. I would hope Mayor Daley and the city council would prevent that. Afterall, it would need approval and I doubt that would ever happen.
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Old December 3rd, 2005, 06:23 PM   #522
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Interesting non-skyscraper stuff......

Harry Caray's to bail out Trader Vic's
December 3, 2005

BY DAVE HOEKSTRA Staff Reporter Advertisement

Holy Mai Tai!

Harry Caray's Restaurant Group is stepping in to own and operate a new Trader Vic's Restaurant Boathouse and Bar after the current location closes Dec. 31 in the basement of the Palmer House Hilton.

"We want to move as quickly as we can," Harry Caray's president, Grant DePorter, said Friday. "The time frame could be six months to a year. We're looking at one current restaurant we would convert, which would speed things up." Trader Vic's will stay in Chicago. The Magnificent Mile and River North are likely locations.

The late "Trader" Vic Bergeron and Caray were kindred spirits. Bergeron invented the rum-laced Mai Tai. Caray never liked to wear a tie. "We've always loved the Trader Vic's concept," DePorter said. "It seemed like a no-brainer for us. It's been undermarketed, and we'll update it a little bit." As part of the franchise agreement, Harry Caray's will bring along the current restaurant's bamboo, dimly lit shell lamps and original tree-carved tables.

Did DePorter ever see Caray hoist a Mai Tai?

"I have to ask Dutchie [Caray, his wife] on that one," he answered. "Remember, he had 300,000 alcoholic drinks in his lifetime, so the odds of him not having a Mai Tai would be pretty low."
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Old December 5th, 2005, 11:58 PM   #523
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BVictor posted scans of these for 535 N. St. Clair before. I found some nicer, clearer versions:

Click for full size



You can see a bit more of the base in the first one. I really look forward to this project, as it is one of the few forward-thinking designs in a long time.
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Old December 6th, 2005, 02:50 PM   #524
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Federal campus upgrade planned
Meetings to address the Dirksen options


By Thomas A. Corfman
Tribune staff reporter
Published December 6, 2005

Federal officials on Tuesday will unveil options for an expansion of the downtown courthouse and office complex, a project that would likely cost more than $550 million and take years to complete.

At two public meetings, officials with the U.S. General Services Administration will present plans that could include construction of as much as 1.5 million square feet of office space on a site along State Street between Adams Street and Jackson Boulevard. The site is adjacent to the Everett M. Dirksen U.S. Courthouse, 219 S. Dearborn St., a 30-story structure designed by Mies van der Rohe.

The mammoth project could be a boon to State Street, replacing a dreary stretch where the most prominent stores are McDonald's and Payless ShoeSource, real estate experts say. But the federal proposal also raises concerns that sterile office buildings would stymie the southward expansion of retail redevelopment along the street.

"It is unlikely that someone from the private sector is going to come along to make that kind of investment," said Michael Shields, an executive vice president with Chicago-based Northern Realty Group Ltd. "But the decisions that are made on this block are critical to the momentum that the street has enjoyed for the last several years."

Federal officials vow to build around the historic Berghoff Restaurant, 17 W. Adams St., built in 1872 and located between the site and the Dirksen building. But the block has several unique, but not landmark, structures whose future is now in question.

And the GSA, which has given heightened attention to building security, is also studying how to incorporate retailing into the complex.

Yet city officials acknowledge that this is one land-use game where the Daley administration doesn't hold all the aces, because the federal government isn't bound by local ordinances.

"We both understand that it is in everyone's interest to work together," said Constance Buscemi, a Planning Department spokeswoman.

One card in the administration's hand is a vacant, city-owned property at 208-212 S. State St., the only parcel the federal government doesn't control.

"We're optimistic and certainly hopeful that we will come to agreement sometime in 2006," said J. David Hood, the GSA's assistant regional administrator.

The federal government's plans to acquire the site have been known since February, when the government notified property owners.

The project, the first expansion of the South Loop's federal campus in nearly 15 years, is designed to meet the long-range space needs of the government, which currently leases about 1.1 million square feet of space in privately owned downtown office buildings.

The U.S. courts and various agencies also occupy nearly 2.3 million square feet of space in three buildings: Dirksen, built in 1964; the John C. Kluczynski Federal Building, 230 S. Dearborn St., built in 1974 and also designed by Mies; and the Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building, 77 W. Jackson Blvd., built in 1991 and designed by Joseph Y. Fujikawa, a Mies disciple.

Those government-owned buildings are fully occupied, but space isn't expected to become tight until 2009, according to a report by the Chicago office of real estate firm Staubach Co.

The GSA is studying whether it can meet its needs while preserving two terra-cotta structures on the site: a 21-story office building at 220 S. State, and a vacant, 15-story building at 202 S. State designed by Holabird & Roche.

"We know the city is very interested in our attempt to preserve 202 and 220," said Hood, adding that federal law also requires a study of alternatives to demolition.

One option would be a narrow, midrise office building that would connect the two older structures into a single building totaling about 377,000 square feet of space.

The GSA's other scenarios include various combinations of these plans:

- At the corner of Jackson and State, an office building that would range in size from 12 stories and 300,000 square feet to 46 stories and 1.1 million square feet.

- Replacing the terra-cotta structures with a 36-story, 900,000-square foot structure.

- Two towers, each 31 stories and about 750,000 square feet.

- A single building along State Street that would range in size from 1.36 million square feet to nearly 1.5 million square feet, which could allow for the preservation of 202 S. State.

And the GSA has moved more quickly than it planned on a retailing study.

"We chose to accelerate the development of that based on the comments we received from the city," said Hood.

As a security measure, federal plans also include closing West Quincy Street between State and the Dirksen building. A more lively landscaped plaza would take its place, Hood said Friday during the first public meeting on the GSA's plans.

The government controls the 1.3-acre site after reaching purchase agreements with the owners of four parcels, at a total cost of $22.4 million, and filing eminent domain lawsuits to take title to three properties.

The eminent domain cases include 202 S. State, where a proposal for a hotel conversion ended in foreclosure earlier this year; and 10 W. Jackson, owned by a partnership that includes Chicago developer Klaff Realty LP. In court, the government said those parcels are worth nearly $14 million.

The public meetings Tuesday will be held in the conference center of the Metcalfe Building at 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

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Old December 6th, 2005, 03:51 PM   #525
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Nice. Hopefully they'll preserve the buildings in any scenario.
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Old December 6th, 2005, 08:48 PM   #526
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Yes. If I understand correctly, the City controls the land between the two old buildings and can use that to "manipulate" the government. I am glad they will close down Quincy Street. More green! And hopefully they will put some retail in the development other than a Taco Bell or Walgreens. With the development of State Street, the federal campus would break up the flow of the street.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 05:11 AM   #527
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyguy999
BVictor posted scans of these for 535 N. St. Clair before. I found some nicer, clearer versions:

Click for full size



You can see a bit more of the base in the first one. I really look forward to this project, as it is one of the few forward-thinking designs in a long time.
I really like all the greenery. The right side looks like a vertical greenhouse. What if they put a small "grove" of pine trees on the roof? I think that would top it off nicely and take "green roofs" to the next level...
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Old December 7th, 2005, 02:48 PM   #528
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Condo tower back on track on S. Michigan

December 7, 2005

BY DAVID ROEDER SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST

The parking lot that is the 1000 S. Michigan site is one of the largest gaps in the streetwall that serves as a backdrop for Grant Park. But development plans are on track for the site now that it has new owners.

Oak Brook-based Renaissant Development Group LLC, where veteran builder Warren Barr is president, has purchased the site from a group headed by Guy Gardner, who secured city approval to build there but never could line up financing. Barr will pursue Gardner's objective of a 40-story, 350-unit condo tower designed by Chicago's DeStefano and Partners Ltd.

Barr declined to comment on terms but a source said the entire development site, which includes parcels on Wabash that could be built on later, went for $43.8 million. Its value was enhanced because Gardner, even as he was struggling to pay lenders, managed to get his plans through a long and expensive zoning process.

A sales office will open on the site by late January and construction could begin in October, Barr said, adding that he's evaluating "two or three'' proposals for construction loans. He said he hopes to make a positive impact on the southern end of the Historic Michigan Boulevard District.

The project could generate sales leads for another deal Barr contemplates in the same neighborhood at 830 S. Michigan. Barr has shown community groups plans for a 70-story condo tower that would be built behind an eight-story former YMCA at that location. He said the scope of that project is still under discussion with the city.

The former Y would be preserved because it's viewed as integral to the landmark streetwall.

For the new construction at 1000 S. Michigan, Barr said the DeStefano design makes ample use of terra cotta to make it fit with adjacent structures that date from the early 20th century.

Under Gardner's ownership, the project's sales team reported that buyers reserved 240 units with nonrefundable deposits. Barr said he's going through those deals to see which are solid and has confirmed 150 so far. The discrepancy reflects the project's drawn-out nature and not any dishonesty by the seller, Barr said. "They've been very open with us throughout this process. Their word has never been a problem,'' he said.

Gardner, who could not be reached for comment, has been involved in several small-scale projects but was new to the high-rise game. He's part of the family that used to own Chicago's Soft Sheen hair care firm.

Despite having financial headaches over 1000 S. Michigan, Gardner apparently gets a hefty profit from the sale. Property records indicate his partnership acquired some of the parcels included in the development for just $4.8 million in 1998.

Barr also gets zoning authority for two 32-story buildings on Wabash. They would contain about 323 units and would be built if demand warrants.

The law firm DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary advised Barr. The sale short-circuits a strategy of selling the property through sealed bids.

INLAND 'STEAL'? Inland Real Estate Group of Cos. Inc. said it bought what it thinks is the largest apartment complex in the suburbs, the 1,156-unit Stonegate Apartments at 440 Gregory Ave., Glendale Heights, for $70.5 million. The complex consists of 33 two-story buildings spread across 66 acres and has an occupancy of more than 90 percent.

An Inland spokesman said the company is "exploring all options'' for the property, including conversion to condos. The sale was large enough to directly involve Inland Chairman Daniel Goodwin and Vice Chairman Joe Cosenza in the bargaining.

Property records indicate the seller, an affiliate of Alliance Holdings, bought the complex in June 2003 for $64.7 million. Inland said Alliance bankrolled a $4 million renovation. Given that, the sales price seems low.

CONDOS NEAR O'HARE: RDM Development, which is raising its profile as a condo converter, has acquired the 427-apartment complex at 902 Ridge Square Dr., Elk Grove Village, for $37 million. The eight-building complex is being marketed as a condo project called the Terrace of Elk Grove Village.

RDM partner Robert Mosky said the units are going for $105,000 to $150,000, positively cheap to anyone used to downtown prices. But he said he's also managing to undercut competition in the northwest suburbs and that the project was well-maintained by the previous owners, an affiliate of the Archstone-Smith Trust.

'BIG BOX' BONANZA: Home Products International, which sells consumer products such as plastic storage bins and ironing boards to the big-box retailers, has signed a 10-year lease for a 205,000-square-foot building at 5501 S. Archer, part of the Midway Business Center. Paine/Wetzel Oncor International and Epic/Savage Partners/TCN Worldwide were brokers in the deal.

WHAT'S GOING UP: Construction has started at 30 W. Erie, where Schillaci Birmingham Development Inc. promises a 13-story condo building with two units per floor. Prices start at $1.1 million.

DOING THE DEALS: Elmhurst-based North Development Ltd. sold a fully leased 25,000-square-foot warehouse at 1201 W. Lake to investor Noel Bushala for around $2.6 million. CB Richard Ellis Inc. assisted. ... In a relocation from 120 N. La Salle, the Gallup Organization leased 17,000 square feet at 111 S. Wacker, with the help of NAI Hiffman.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 11:59 PM   #529
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...i-business-hed

Beacon to buy 200 S. Wacker tower

THOMAS A. CORFMAN
Published December 7, 2005

In a bet on the continued demand for West Loop office space, Boston real estate investment firm Beacon Capital Partners LLC has a deal to acquire 200 S. Wacker Drive for more than $121 million.

Beacon, whose principals are longtime investors in the local market, has agreed to pay between $160 and $165 a square foot for the building, sources said. The total price would be between $121 million and $125 million, based on 756,600 square feet of space.


A Beacon spokesman declined to comment. Executives with the seller, New York investment house Morgan Stanley, and its real estate adviser, CB Richard Ellis Inc., could not be reached for comment.

Built in 1981, the 40-story structure is 87 percent leased, according to research firm CoStar Group. But the price is regarded as aggressive because of the expected defection of two key tenants: Chicago online travel firm Orbitz and a unit of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which combined have 144,000 square feet.

The deal comes less than a month after Beacon disclosed that it was putting up for sale its most recent Chicago acquisition, 222 S. Riverside Plaza.

Kuwaitis gain toehold: Developer Alter Group has sold a 90 percent joint venture stake in three suburban office buildings to Kuwait-based Global Investment House in a deal that values the 402,882-square-foot portfolio at $7.1 million.

The deal is the first investment for a $100 million American real estate fund sponsored by the Investment House and advised by Chicago investment manager Heitman LLC.

Included in the transaction were Corridors I and II in Downers Grove and a 102,882-square-foot building in suburban Washington, said James I. Clark III, managing principal of Entrust Realty Advisors, Alter's finance affiliate.

Entrust also arranged a $53.4 million loan issued by Lehman Brothers.

Changing Fortune: Fortune Brands Inc. is moving its headquarters from Lincolnshire to the Corporate 500 Centre in Deerfield, where the consumer products company's Jim Beam Brands has signed a long-term lease renewal, said Mark Delph, real estate director for Fortune.

As a part of the deal, Jim Beam increased its space by 15 percent, to 130,000 square feet, in one building at Corporate 500, while the headquarters staff will occupy 35,000 square feet in another building.

The office complex at 500 Lake Cook Rd. is owned by Equity Office Properties Trust. CB Richard Ellis advised Fortune.

Suburban scene: The occupancy rate for the suburban apartment market held steady during the third quarter at nearly 96 percent, the highest level in more than two years, but landlord concessions rose sharply, according to a report by Appraisal Research Counselors.

Median net rents, not including concessions, were virtually unchanged at $1.02 a square foot but should increase 6 percent to 8 percent over the next nine months, said Ron DeVries, a vice president at the Chicago firm.

But 51.1 percent of the 225 apartment complexes surveyed are offering concessions, an increase from 44.3 percent during the second quarter.
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Old December 8th, 2005, 12:01 AM   #530
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Record sales price for Buck tower
111 S. Wacker tops $400 a square foot

By Thomas A. Corfman

Tribune staff reporter
Published December 7, 2005

Chicago developer John Buck Co. has closed on the sale of its newest skyscraper at 111 S. Wacker Drive to a German investment fund, surpassing a 15-year-old price record that once seemed unbreakable.

DIFA Deutsche Immobilien Fonds AG last week purchased the 1 million-square-foot tower, which was completed in June and is 85 percent leased. Tenants include accounting giant Deloitte & Touche LLP, law firm Lord Bissell & Brook and printing giant R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., Buck Co. confirmed.
An announcement is expected Wednesday.

The price is $410 million, or more than $400 a square foot, sources said. The Chicago office of Eastdil Realty Co. advised Buck, which will continue to manage the skyscraper.

On a per-square-foot basis, the price is the most paid for a downtown office building, surpassing the $385 a square foot paid by a Japanese insurance company for 181 W. Madison St. in 1990, when sales prices last peaked.

But the square-foot price of 111 S. Wacker is boosted significantly by a 389-car garage, unlike the top-dollar office buildings of 15 years ago.


"When you take that into account, you really bring the pricing in line with those record-setters in the Japanese era," said Kent Swanson, chief financial officer of Buck Co., who declined to comment on the price.

Despite inflation, many real estate experts doubted that the 181 W. Madison price ever would be surpassed, especially in light of the slow growth of downtown office rents.

But experts say the sustained surge in commercial real estate prices is the result of several factors, including low interest rates, which boost buying power; the weak performance of alternative investments, such as stocks; and growing international ownership of trophy properties, which has increased the competitiveness of bidding.

"The reality is that we are in a new pricing paradigm," said Bruce Cohen, chief executive of Chicago real estate investment firm Cohen Capital LLC.

The deal had been expected since September, when the Hamburg-based firm signed a contract to buy the 51-story tower. DIFA manages a $17.35 billion portfolio, with 220 properties in Europe and North America.

"The stable cash flow in combination with the rent growth potential at this premium site make the acquisition ... a highly attractive investment," said Reinhard Kutscher, a member of DIFA's management board.

Rapidly rising construction costs have driven up the price of constructing a similar tower, and DIFA's return, or capitalization rate, is better than comparable investments, Swanson said.

"From the standpoint of replacement cost and from the standpoint of capitalization rate versus U.S. Treasuries, they have a vastly better deal than was made in the late '80s," he said.

Huge pools of capital continue to drive up prices, said veteran Chicago developer Marvin Romanek.

"Money comes down to supply and demand. It has never been more complicated than that," he said.
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Old December 9th, 2005, 05:20 AM   #531
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Who's King of Chicago?
Stephane Fitch, 12.26.05

Donald Trump finds himself in a price--and bragging--war with Ritz-Carlton founder Horst Schulze.
This year Donald Trump did something nobody else has dared to try: He bet that usually stingy Chicagoans were just as willing as New Yorkers to overpay for a pied-à-terre downtown. And he was right. Trump broke ground on a 90-story, $600 million condominium-hotel on the Chicago River and soon gleefully jacked up his prices from $600 per square foot to $1,000 and higher for many units--startling real estate agents and delighting everybody who bought in early. Trump still has 225 of 750 condos left to sell; the building won't open until 2007.

But now he's up against a competing project right across the river, headed by celebrated Ritz-Carlton founder Horst Schulze. Schulze and his development partner, Robert Falor, are spending $125 million to convert a 46-year-old, 454-room, 39-story hotel to a condo-hotel and reopen it under a new flag: Solis. They're undercutting Trump's prices and promising to deliver this summer, a year ahead of him.

A 530-square-foot unit in the Solis, with furniture, 42-inch flat-screen televisions, marble bathrooms and views of the Chicago River (and Trump's development), was selling for $400,000 in December, roughly half what Trump was getting for the equivalent unit. "By the time Trump opens, I've got the customer[s], and I'm not going to lose them," Schulze crows.

"We have no competition," declares Trump, who doesn't deign to mention Schulze by name. "They all come in and say, 'Hey, let's outbuild Trump.' But we have the best location, the best building and most of all, we have the Trump brand." And, at the moment, a 30% vacancy rate.
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Old December 10th, 2005, 10:15 PM   #532
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December 12, 2005
By Alby Gallun

Speed bumps for hotel/condo plan
As nearby Westin objects, developers face another obstacle: an X-rated shop

The planned development on Hubbard Street will tower over Te Jay's Adult Books, which the owner refuses to sell.
An existing hotel and nearby adult bookstore are complicating the plans of developers Albert Friedman and Richard Stein as they try to launch a major hotel/condo project on a prime River North parcel.
The developers are catching flak from the owner of the nearby Westin River North Hotel, who has complained to the city that the mixed-use project would include 525 hotel rooms, more than the 340 allowed under an existing planned development agreement. In August, former Commissioner of Planning and Development Denise M. Casalino signed off on a request by the developers to increase the room count.

A lawyer for Tishman Hotel Corp., which owns the 424-room Westin, has outlined his client's objections in a letter to the city, noting that the Westin must okay the development agreement. He says a lawsuit to block the project isn't out of the question. The development, planned for a five-acre parcel bounded by Dearborn Parkway and Kinzie, Clark and Hubbard streets, would be a block away from the Westin and north of an office building planned by the same developers.

"There's too many hotel rooms in the area," says the attorney, James M. Kane. Neither Mr. Friedman nor Mr. Stein returned calls seeking comment.

The pair face a different situation with Te Jay's Adult Books. The owner of the store at 53 W. Hubbard St. refuses to sell to make way for the new project, forcing the developers to build around it. Plans filed with the Department of Planning and Development in September show the store sandwiched between the proposed 291-foot hotel and 496-foot condo tower.

The shop's proprietor declines to explain why he won't sell.

"Me and Al (Friedman) have an understanding that it's not for sale and Al respects that, and being the kind gentleman that he is, he doesn't insult me with an offer," says the proprietor, who declines to give his name, standing next to a rack of X-rated DVDs.

Last edited by Chi_Coruscant; December 10th, 2005 at 11:42 PM.
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Old December 10th, 2005, 10:18 PM   #533
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Adult Book store, how classy. Oh well, maybe he'll change his mind when construction crews are right next to him.
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Old December 11th, 2005, 03:20 AM   #534
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Ok so the Westin is complaining because the new hotel would have more then 340 rooms but they have 424 themselves. That really doen't make sense.

Do you think they will try and sell the bookstore as an amenity to the new buyers since it will be right down stairs?
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Old December 11th, 2005, 08:36 AM   #535
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^lol. Can't the city ordinance this "bookstore" out of the way? ( I can't believe they get away with putting "bookstore" in their name." Hmm.. no schools really close though to justify that...
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Old December 11th, 2005, 02:55 PM   #536
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Condos stake claim as 1st choice for downtown Chicago living
By John Handley
Tribune staff reporter
Published December 11, 2005

By staying put, 24-year-old Eric Worley has become part of a trend: people buying residences in downtown Chicago.

His reasoning?

"It's cheaper to own than to rent," said Worley, a trader at the Chicago Board of Trade. "That's on a monthly cash-flow basis, after the down payment," he said.

Worley paid more than $300,000 in November to purchase the 16th-floor unit he had been renting at Grand Plaza, whose 37-story west tower at 545 N. Dearborn St. is converted to condominiums.

In 2000 Chicago ranked No. 1 in the country in the proportion of downtown residences that were owner-occupied, at 40.7 percent, according to a recent Brookings Institution report based on U.S. Census figures. In 1970 Chicago's downtown homeownership rate was a mere 4 percent, the report said.

Parallel figures aren't available for 2005, but the number of housing units in downtown Chicago has soared to 80,000 from 60,000, and the proportion of owned units to rental ones has, too, said Gail Lissner, vice president of Appraisal Research Counselors in Chicago.

Appraisal Research defines the downtown area as being bounded by North Avenue, 22nd Street [Cermak Road] and Ashland Avenue. The Brookings study defined downtown's western boundary as Halsted Street. In 2005 rentals amounted to 25 percent of the 80,000 units, Lissner said. The number of rental units dropped in the last five years, from 22,200 to 20,500, she said.

Why the boom in buying?

Downtown is taking off because it is a bargain compared with other world-class cities, said Ronald Shipka Sr., principal of Chicago-based Enterprise Cos.

"A lot of people buy here because prices are $200 to $500 a square foot," said James "Jake" Geleerd, principal in Chicago-based Terrapin Properties, which owns Worley's building. "That same size unit may be $2,000 a square foot in New York."

That figure might even be $2,500 in midtown Manhattan, off Central Park--not on it, Lissner said. So Manhattan home prices are about 2 1/2 times those of downtown Chicago, and Boston's are about twice our price, she said.

Low interest rates have contributed to affordability everywhere, falling from an average of 8.05 percent in 2000 to 5.83 percent in 2003 before climbing to 6.32 percent as of last week, according to Freddie Mac.

"Low interest rates have been enticing to first-time buyers," Lissner said. "Most renters look at condos as the entry to homeownership--the most affordable way to get their foot in the door. These young buyers are upwardly mobile, affluent and see the benefits of homeownership."

Empty nesters

Empty nesters, another large segment of the downtown market, prefer to buy rather than rent, she said. "They may be looking at a condo as an investment, as portfolio diversification. Or, they may buy a unit for their kids."

Shipka, who said 34 percent of his company's buyers are empty-nesters, cited other factors in downtown's favor. "Downtown has become more livable and vibrant." He added that "the Asian [immigrant] market" represent 13 percent of buyers.

While all areas shared in favorable interest rates, Chicago has had some advantages: large tracts of former industrial and railroad land to build on south of the Chicago River and a diversified economy that offered well-paying jobs while other industrial Midwest cities lagged.

The city has both promoted the growth and benefited from it. Condos and apartment buildings bring in more property tax revenue than does fallow land.

Neighborhoods that make up the downtown district saw hefty property assessment increases from 2000 to 2003, the last year the city was reassessed.

According to a study by the Cook County assessor's office, assessments increased a median 35 percent on the Near North Side, 36 percent on the Near South Side and in the South Loop, and 81 percent on the Near West Side.

"The condo and housing boom in downtown has had a dramatic impact on property values throughout Chicago," said Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a voter and tax watchdog group. "Probably the richest area in property values is the Central Business District and north of the Loop. That has increased in value and as a result the tax paid from those properties has increased dramatically faster than commercial, industrial or other types of property within the city," he said. "The boom also has had significant benefits in security issues downtown, ranging from greater usage of public transit--improving the perception of safety--and more downtown activity after the business day is over."

The route to downtown Chicago began in Italy for Gino Di Nallo, 60, and his wife, Germana, who came to the city 30 years ago. They have lived in 26 locations, and plan to move in 2007 to a two-bedroom condo at Avenue East, a 133-unit building under construction at 160 E. Illinois St.

Less turnover

"I've been researching buying versus renting," said Di Nallo. "I didn't want to pay rent the rest of my life. A condo makes you feel more at home. There's too much turnover in a rental building, and every year they raise the rent 3 to 5 percent," though he noted that real estate taxes and condo assessments can be deterrents to buying.

For now the market shares Di Nallo's preference for buying.

Lissner says 3,300 new condo units are projected for delivery in 2006, while only 892 new apartments are now under construction in two buildings.

She added, though, that the supply of downtown rentals may be larger than figures would indicate because of the "shadow rental market--investor-purchased units in new condo buildings. These rentals could be about 20 percent of new units. Nobody knows for sure.

"But brokers tell me there has been less interest from investors in the last quarter. Interest-rate creep and bubble talk in the press have had an impact on investors," she said.

Worley, the trader, said he constantly monitors prices of downtown properties and "I see buying as not a big risk. Chicago hasn't been affected by a price bubble. If there's a downturn, it will not be a bad correction."

James Kinney, president of Rubloff Residential Properties in Chicago, said the decline of rentals has not been by choice. "Because of the strong condo conversions of rental buildings, apartments have been disappearing," he said. "There are very few new rental buildings coming on the market. Those that do are converted soon after construction."

He said more than 60 percent of high-end renters are considering buying within two years.

However, if there is a glut of new condo buildings downtown, the tide could shift to rentals, Kinney said. "Some say the rental buildings of tomorrow are the new condo buildings of today," he said. "We saw that happen in the '70s and early '80s, when condo sales dropped."

Charles Huzenis, president of Chicago-based Jameson Realty Group, predicts that developers may soon slow the pace of downtown projects because of the rise in construction costs and the cost of money.

Downtown digs

Chicago has the highest rate of homeownership in its downtown area of any major city in the U.S., according to a recent study based on Census 2000 data. It may be because housing prices in Chicago are cheaper compared with cities such as New York.


DOWNTOWN HOMEOWNERSHIP RATES
For 2000
Chicago 40.70%
Lafayette, La 35.60%
Denver 35.50%
Austin, Texas 35.10%
Miami 34.30%
PhiladelphiA 33.20%
Norfolk, Va. 31.00%
Charlotte 30.20%
Baltimore 27.00%
Indianapolis 26.90%
Source: The Brookings Institution Chicago Tribune
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Old December 11th, 2005, 06:14 PM   #537
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoLover
^lol. Can't the city ordinance this "bookstore" out of the way? ( I can't believe they get away with putting "bookstore" in their name." Hmm.. no schools really close though to justify that...
^HEY! Where am I gonna get my porn?
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Old December 11th, 2005, 06:26 PM   #538
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anouther artical along the same lined as the one posted by chi coruscant:

Dec. 10, 2005, 5:16PM
Homeowners migrate to downtown Chicago
Area has highest buyers' rate of all major U.S. cities


By JOE CARROLL
Bloomberg News

Troy Steele slashed his daily commute to four minutes from two hours when he bought a downtown Chicago condominium last month blocks from his job trading soybean futures. He says his new home may turn out to be his best trade.

Steele reckons the two-bedroom unit he bought for $300,000 in a rehabilitated warehouse on South Michigan Avenue will soar in value, given demand for residential space around Chicago's downtown.

"We bought it for the upside potential — and the convenience," says Steele, 28, a LaSalle Futures Group broker who had lived in Naperville, 30 miles to the west.

Traders, attorneys and other professionals boosted the home ownership rate in downtown Chicago to 41 percent, the highest of major U.S. downtowns, according to a study released last month by the Washington-based Brookings Institution.


Warehouses available
Chicago gained its advantage in the 1800s as stockyards moved from downtown and were replaced with warehouses suitable for future rehabbing — instead of the factories that filled city centers like Detroit.

Surging demand for high-rise condominiums, townhouses and renovated industrial structures in Chicago in the past few years has triggered a frenzy of building by developers such as Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises, the largest publicly traded U.S. commercial real estate company, says Constance Buscemi, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Planning and Development.

"Downtown 20 years ago was a place you went to go to the doctor and then you went home," Buscemi says. "Now downtown is a much more vibrant place with museums, eateries, a thriving theater district."


Population will double
Chicago's downtown home ownership is rising faster in this decade than in the 1990s, and the area's population will more than double to 165,000 by 2010 from 73,000 in 2000, estimates Ron DeVries, vice president of Appraisal Research Counselors, a Chicago-based real-estate appraiser. He says the estimate takes into account any slowing in U.S. housing demand in coming years.

In Chicago, 18,181 of the downtown's 44,638 housing units were owned rather than rented as of 2000, according to the Brookings Institution study, which analyzed the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data from 45 cities. Lafayette, La., had the second-highest downtown home-ownership rate at 36 percent, followed by Denver, Austin and Miami. Cincinnati had the lowest rate, with just 15 of its 1,512 downtown units owner-occupied, or 1 percent.

In the five years since the 2000 Census, Chicago and U.S. homeowners have been relocating to downtown areas, says the study's author, Eugenie Birch, who teaches city planning at the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Institute for Urban Research in Philadelphia.


Shorter commutes
Most of the increase in downtown living results from buyers eliminating long commutes, Birch says.

Downtown homeownership across the U.S. doubled to 22 percent between 1970 and 2000, the Brookings Institution study shows. Chicago's downtown population grew 39 percent in the 1990s, the fastest in the U.S., even as the overall population of the city declined 13 percent, the analysis shows.

Not everyone is thrilled with the surge in Chicago's downtown home ownership. Landlords have been converting properties to condos because sale prices have risen faster than rents, forcing low-income renters to pull up stakes, says Rob Breymaier, president of the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance, a group of 30 fair-housing associations.

Most of those priced out of their former neighborhoods have been black or Hispanic, he says.
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Old December 11th, 2005, 08:16 PM   #539
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http://www.nearwestgazette.com/1205-Newsbriefs.htm

Redevelopment for Blackstone

(12/5/05) - The City Council is considering a redevelopment agreement for the vacant Blackstone Hotel at 636 S. Michigan Ave.
Under the plan, the historical features of the 22-story hotel would be preserved and enhanced. An additional 12,000 square feet of meeting space would be created. The barbershop and art hall would be restored, and the 327 guest rooms would be completely rebuilt with upgraded amenities.
Built in 1908, the Blackstone was for many decades Chicago's premier luxury hotel. It has been vacant since 1999.
Developer Sage Hospitality Resources LLC expects the project to cost $112.2 million. The City would provide up to $18 million in tax increment financing assistance.
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Old December 11th, 2005, 08:22 PM   #540
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-edit- wrong thread
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