TRUMP TOWER IN CHICAGO -Now that Trump is President-Elect…

There have been many questions regarding Trump Tower in Chicago from the start of the 2016 presidential campaign and even more now that Donald Trump is the President-Elect. Since our group does a great deal of business in Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago I thought I would take the time to answer the real estate questions many people have asked in recent months.

Does Trump actually own Trump Tower (401 N Wabash Ave) in Chicago? 

Not completely. The building is broken up into two portions. The hotel portion, which Trump does own (although some hotel rooms are owned by individual investors) ends at the 28th floor.

The residential portion are individually owned condos and Trump no longer has any interest in the residential condos. These units start at 29 and run up to 89.

In short, Trump currently owns the majority of hotel rooms, the management company / brand that manages the hotel as well as all the convention and retail space in the building.

Will the name of Trump Tower in Chicago ever change?

Probably not. Trump has naming rights to the building and I don’t see him changing the name on his building.

Has the Trump election and presidency affected the pricing of condos in Trump?

It is too early to tell. The one thing we have seen is traffic drastically slow down on condos listed for sale in Trump. Most selling in the building at the current time do not NEED to sell (at least financially) so we haven’t seen any major price drops. Showing traffic before the election was very very slow. I think many buyers were concerned about values in the building so potential buyers wanted to wait on the sidelines to see what would happen to values.

Since the election traffic has picked up slightly for condos listed for sale in the building, but traffic is still slow overall.

Rentals are sitting on the market longer than usual, especially 1 Bedroom rentals which we’ve seen drop in price in the past 6 months. 1 Bedrooms would typically rent for at least $3,400 or higher (many in the $3,700 to $4,000 range). We’ve seen one unit rent for only $3,000 and another drop the price to $3,150 and still sit on the market.

Overall prices have not declined drastically, but there is apprehension among buyers regarding the future value of units in the building. On the rental end I think there are some people who simply do not want to be in the building because of the name (this is also true for some owners too). But, this is not the sole reason for 1 bedrooms having a difficult time renting. New construction rental buildings are giving Trump Tower a run for their money with excellent amenities and even hotel amenities such as my building, North Water Apartments, which is connected to the Loews Hotel.

Has hotel business declined?

I can’t speak for the hotel as a whole, but the hotel-condos that we represent are seeing the same or slightly better occupancy and room rates year over year (from 2015 to 2016). I do not know the numbers for November of this year yet, but November is historically a slower month for conventional style hotels.

Is there increased security at Trump Tower?

Yes. The increased security is nothing like you’ll see at Trump Tower in New York, but increased protests has caused the hotel and residential tower in Chicago to increase security and even close the garage to the public that is connected to the building. I haven’t had any major issues accessing the building with clients in recent weeks. However one of my clients actually got locked in the garage by accident due to the increased security measures.

 

 

Paul Blackburn is a licensed Real Estate Broker and Realtor with @properties in Chicago. Paul has been selling real estate since 2007 and is part of the Skowron Group which has sold in excess of $100 million in 2016 alone. For further information or questions please feel free to contact Paul directly at Paul@pblackburn.com

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Trump Tower and Other Developments Almost Sold Out!

Trump Tower at 401 N. Wabash once had hundreds of units on the market….but now they’re close to sell out with roughly 18 units left in their inventory. According to Crain’s Chicago Business 159 new construction condos sold in the 3rd quarter in 2013 which is up from the 2nd quarter and up slightly from the 3rd quarter of 2012. But why haven’t more new construction condos sold? After all the real estate market has been on fire all year! The answer is in the inventory numbers; there is simply very little new construction to choose from! As a matter of fact we are the lowest levels of new construction inventory since 1997. This is a big change from 5 years ago.

235 W. Van Buren led the way with sales in the third quarter according to Crain’s with 41 units sold. I’m not sure how many units are left in this building but I hope they’ve put a nice dent in their inventory. In total the building has 714 units most comprised of 1 and 2 bedrooms.

1201 S. Prairie Museum Park Related Midwest has been selling at two towers in Museum Park and have been doing extremely well. Between the two buildings they sold 64 units this past quarter. 1201 S. Prairie is their highest end (flagship) building in the development. Related, at least in my own humble opinion, has done a phenomenal job at revamping not only sales but the units themselves. Of course their absolute impeccable timing of this project didn’t hurt!

401 N. Wabash – Trump Tower As I said Trump Tower only has 18 units left to sell according to Appraisal Research…I’ll see if I can verify these numbers and post an update. Inventory in Trump, even in the resale market, has decreased dramatically. Those who purchased in this building in 2010 and 2011 already have equity in their units. It’s a beautiful thing!

2550 Lincoln Park Tower Chicago’s newest luxury building has been doing exceptionally well. They closed 30 sales in the third quarter and did so with an average square foot price of $840 per foot! The developer brought on Terri Proctor to head up sales at this development and she has and continues to do an excellent job.

225 N. Columbus – The Aqua Well there is not much to say here except it is sold out!

 

What’s Next? Since new construction inventory is so low why don’t they just building more?!

New units are currently on the way! Financing is still difficult for larger buildings and even though the condo market has seen a resurgence, selling out a 400 unit building would still be a very very difficult task.

CMK Development, the same developers who built 235 W. Van Buren are planning a building at 1345 S. Wabash which will contain 144 units. Soon we will also see plans announced for a luxury condo building in the gold coast (small and boutique) and another developer is trying to building 60 units in the West Loop.

 

Paul Blackburn is an Illinois Licensed Realtor & Broker with @ Properties in Chicago. He can always be reached via e-mail at Paul@PKBlackburn.com

Dog Friendly Condos in Chicago – Dog Friendly Condo Buildings

Chicago is a very dog friendly city but how many condo associations are dog friendly? How many condo buildings are dog friendly in Chicago?Here is a quick little guide about some things to watch out for if you are a dog owner and searching for a condo in the city of Chicago.

First off, if you’re new to the city it is important to note that Chicago is VERY dog friendly. Many shops and small restaurants will put dog bowls and dog treats outside in the summer time and some businesses have even started use “pet safe salt” to salt their sidewalks in the winter time. Many condo buildings are also dog friendly, however, one small “incident” can change the way a condo association views pets. With this being said the “dog friendly” environment in condo buildings can change quickly.

Aggressive Breeds

I don’t want to get into a debate here about what breeds are “aggressive.” Personally, I don’t agree with many people’s view points on “aggressive” breeds but lets skip the arguments for now. Insurance companies typically set the standard for aggressive breeds. Condo Associations have insurance not only for the building (fire/hazard) but also for liability. While many insurance companies may cover aggressive breeds they do so only at an increased cost. Therefore, we many condo associations have a “No Aggressive Breed” exception in their condo bylws.

Aggressive breeds contain the stereotypical Pit Bull, but may also include dogs such as Siberian Huskies, Chows, Rottweilers, Akitas, Great Danes, Staffordshire Terriors, and even German Shepherds. If you own one of these dogs it is important to check with the condo association as soon as possible to see if these dogs are allowed.

Weight Restrictions

Some condo associations have weight restrictions on dogs. The most common limit I’ve seen in building is 35 to 40lbs. This is typical for buildings in the Gold Coast area. Some condo associations will simply have the rule in place and as long as you don’t walk in with a mastiff you’re fine. Other condo associations will want to see a letter from a vet verifying your dog’s weight.

Special Entrance / Exit

Don’t be surprised if your condo association asks you to use a special entrance or exit for your dog. This is done not because they don’t like your dog but because likely one or two irresponsible owners may have let their dogs leave a little surprise in the lobby or the main elevator and failed to clean it up. Don’t be made at your association, be made at your fellow neighbors for this one. Some buildings say you can use the common elevator but you need to carry your dog while in the elevator.

Pet Number Restrictions

Most buildings limit the number of dogs to two dogs per unit. Some buildings may have a combined weight total. For instance one building I know of in the west loop has a weight total of 80lbs. You can choose to have two 40lb dogs for instance or one 80lb dog.

Some Buildings are not dog friendly at all

Some buildings have adopted a no dog policy. These buildings are rare but you will see them here and there. Some co-ops ban dogs and even the John Hancock no longer allows dogs. These policies come about for many reasons. For instance, in the John Hancock there was an incident a while ago where a larger dog decided to….eat a small dog. Since that time no new dogs were allowed to be adopted by any owners.

While I be the minority if I own a dog in downtown Chicago?

Absolutely not! Many many condo owners have dogs. This is up to everyone’s personal preference. There are plenty of dog walking and dog sitting services to handle the most discerning and loving dog owner. Just remember to let your Realtor know what kind of dog you have or what kind of dog you are thinking about adopting so you can look for condos that will accept you and your four legged friend!

 

Gut rehabs the next wave in Chicago Real Estate?

New construction condos in Chicago are few and far between. Large scale new developments were mostly halted in 2008 and even though demand for new construction is high in Chicago banks are not willing to take the risk and offer developers construction loans on a 300 or 400 unit condo project. With the majority of new buildings in Chicago at least 5 years old the question is “What is next for Chicago condos?”

Gut Rehabs

With no new construction condos in the downtown neighborhoods many are turning to older buildings and buying “dated” units with the plans of gutting and rehabbing the units with all of today’s modern finishes and conveniences. Newer construction buildings (built between 2003 and 2008) are still selling at a premium as the finishes are “nice” and still acceptable. However, over the past decade tastes in finishes have changed a great deal. Those wanting the most updated and modern look in the downtown neighborhoods are really left with only one option: Do It Yourself….well hire it out but still “rehab your unit.”

Many older buildings have also started modernizing their hallways, amenity floors, lobbies and elevators. These capital improvements along with a cheaper price point, which allows buyers to customize their own units, are allowing old buildings to give new ones a run for their money.

If I am thinking of buying in an older building and customizing a condo; what should I look for? What should I watch out for?

 

Buy in a building that is not afraid to spend money:

It is important to buy into a building that is constantly modernizing itself. Buildings that haven’t completed any capital improvements in over 20 or 30 years are not and will not be able to compete in the market place. Updated hallways, lobbies and amenities are key. While these updates do cost money and may mean higher assessments, you will see a greater return on your investment in such buildings. Buildings that choose not to update will eventually have to (at some point new elevators and new fitness equipment will be a must) and that cost may come as a special assessment anyway. In the meantime however those buildings start to develop a reputation of “old and tired.”

Structural obsolescence caused functional obsolescence!

Consult the building engineer, an architect and a great contractor on exactly what you are able to do with your unit before buying. Many older buildings may have large living spaces but small bathrooms and small kitchens. Current trends are open, expansive kitchen spaces, large closets and well sized bathrooms. Make sure plumbing, electrical and structural walls are able to be modified to allow the reconstruction you so desire. You can update a unit all you want, but if the floor plan is poor then you will not see a good return on your investment. Many times a small change in the floor plan will earn you your greatest return.

Take advantage of what old buildings have to offer!

Location, Location, Location. Many times older buildings have some of the absolute BEST locations and BEST views in the city. Take advantage of this! If you are interested in a building on Lake Shore Drive then make sure you have a great view of the lake. If you are interested in a building in the heart of the Gold Coast then get a south view so you can see the entire skyline and the lake. This may seem like a no-brainer but you’d be amazed at how many people look at only the price tag when they’re rehabbing a unit versus looking at the entire package of what a unit has to offer.

Wider is better!

One of the biggest downside to some of the newer construction buildings are the long and narrow floor plans. Many times this is done to maximize the number of units in a building. Many older buildings have wide floor plans. Wide floor plans are almost always preferred as they offer much more window space. In addition, newer buildings have taller ceilings (9 or 10ft) whereas many older buildings only have 8ft ceilings. A wider floor plan, which allows for much more light will make ceiling height feel taller versus a long narrow floor plan which will make a unit feel “closed in.”

Assessments

Older buildings typically have higher assessments simply because they are less efficient and more costly to maintain. It is very important to see how an association is spending their money. High assessments are not necessarily bad so long as you are getting something in return such as a building that is constantly updating and modernizing itself. A building that has high assessments because they are always “fixing things” versus “improving things” is a building that you will likely want to stay away from.

 

Paul Blackburn is a licensed Illinois Realtor and Broker with @ Properties in Chicago. He can always be reached via phone or e-mail at Paul@PKBlackburn.com

Trump Tower in Chicago – 401 N. Wabash Condos

Trump Tower Residences, located at 401 N. Wabash in Chicago has quickly become an iconic building. Many transplants and Chicagoans wonder how well Trump Tower is doing. What are condos selling for at Trump Tower? How much inventory is left in Trump Tower Chicago? Are prices increasing in Trump Tower?

Several years ago the real estate market in Chicago was a scary sight and Trump Tower Private Residences was not at all immune to market conditions. As a matter of fact, Trump Tower was probably hit harder than the average condo building in Chicago due to the delivery of condos in the building. Thankfully, those who could not afford to hold onto their units quickly sold. While this temporarily pulled down pricing in the building it allowed the “dead weight” who should never have purchased in the building to get out. Now, in the spring of 2013, the building is doing exceptionally well. Some buyers who purchased in 2009 are up over 20% or more on their investment in the building.

The developer still has a handful of units to sell and will likely be active in the building for years to come. However, the prime units with the best views have mostly sold. The “A” tier, which changes in square footage depending on the segment of the building, is the most desirable tier and this is a wrap around unit facing east. You get great views south as well as north. The view looking down the river, however, is priceless. All “A” tier units are over 3,000sf.

Outdoor Space?  Those seeking a balcony will need to look elsewhere as all terrace units have already sold. There are only in the entire building on the 29th and 51st floors. The most recent to change hands was 29I selling for $1,640,000. It is a 2/2.1 with a 350sf balcony.

Cheapest entry point into the building? On the condo side the cheapest entry point is going to be a Studio unit. They typically sell around 400k give or take 50k. One Bedrooms start in the mid $500’s to low $600’s and move up from there.

Amenities in Trump Tower: Trump Tower is a fully amenity building in Chicago. The fitness center does not disappoint and because you are connected to the hotel you get 5 star services in the fitness center such as bottles of water on each machine, fresh towels, etc. There is an indoor pool, spa, 24hr doorstaff, etc. You also always have access to Room Service as well as concierge.

Future of Trump Tower in Chicago: We can never predict what the future will hold for Trump Tower but the future does look bright. I believe we will continue to see many buy into the building. We will also see many extensive renovations. While the finishes in the building are nice, they are just basic for a high end building. We will continue to see buyers gut units and replace with premium finishes which will only help increase prices more in the building.

 

Paul Blackburn is an Illinois licensed Broker and Realtor with @ Properties in Chicago. He can always be reached via e-mail at Paul@PKBlackburn.com

TRUMP TOWER CHICAGO RENTALS AND SALES UPDATE – 401 N. WABASH

Trump Tower Chicago at 401 N. Wabash always has a handful for rentals available. Below is a list of what is currently on the market for rent at Trump Tower Chicago along with a list of Condos Recently Sold at Trump Tower Residences in Chicago.

Studios for Rent in Trump Tower Chicago:

#33F    $2,700/mo

One Bedrooms for Rent in Trump Tower Chicago:

48D    $3,400/mo

55B      $3,450/mo

64C     $3,500/mo

34E      $3,500/mo

32E     $3,600/mo

66B      $3,800/mo

32I        $4,000/mo

Two Bedrooms for Rent at Trump Tower Chicago:

76B      $7,500/mo

60F     $7,850/mo

Three Bedrooms for Rent at Trump Tower Chicago:

74BC    $9,000/mo

77A      $13,500/mo

86D      $14,000/mo

Prices on all units vary depending on owner, view and square footage.

RECENT SALES IN TRUMP TOWER CHICAGO  401 N. WABASH

60B closed from the sales center at $535,000/mo. 60B is a One Bedroom with 923 square feet. Parking was not included in the sale.

82B closed at $1,180,000 which is a high floor 2 Bedroom unit with 1,839sf. The B unit on this floor faces North West.

36H closed for $1,700,000 which is a large 2 Bed / 3 Bath unit with 2,742sf. This unit faces south, east and west. Living room views are great. Master Bedroom views, however, are blocked by the IBM building.

Paul Blackburn is a licensed Illinois Realtor and Associate Broker with @ Properties in Chicago. He can always be reached with questions or to schedule showings via e-mail at Paul@PKBlackburn.com 

 

RIVER EAST CONDOS IN CHICAGO – WHAT BUILDINGS ARE IN RIVER EAST?

Where is River East in Chicago? Is River East different from Lake Shore East? What condos are available in River East? River East is located on the NORTH side of the river where the river meets Lake Shore Drive. River East is located in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago. The most famous part of River East is probably the River East Art Center located just west of Navy Pier off of Lake Shore Drive. This is NOT the same area as Lake Shore East. Lake Shore East is located on the SOUTH side of the river where the river meets Lake Shore Drive.

What are the condo buildings in River East? Are there townhomes by the river in River East? Here is a break down of what and where you can buy in River East!

415 E. North Water & 445 E. North Water Condos

“River View Condominiums”

River View Condominiums

There are two towers that are red and greenish in color on the north side of the river. These buildings have townhomes at the base, but I’ll address the townhomes shortly. These towers are known as 415 E. North Water and 445 E. North Water or as “River View Condominiums.” These buildings were built in 2005 and 2000. The units are quite large and are one step up in price point compared to the typical new construction in Streeterville. One Bedrooms will typically be priced around $500,000 with Two Beds ranging from around $600,000 to well over $1 Million. Three Beds will start at a Million and work on up the price ladder.

South Views in this building are the most coveted as they allow you to view not only the Lake, Navy Pier and the River but also the skyline down the river such as Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower and Trump Tower. The buildings boast a sundeck, indoor pool and terrific fitness center (all these having views of the River). 24hr Door staff is a given but probably the best feature of these buildings is the fact that you are in Streeterville but VERY quiet. The location along the river is not known well to tourists. Walking along the River Walk you get the feeling you are walking on private property which means residents can enjoy the quietness of the river walk mostly by themselves. River East also has their own security officers that patrol the area.

RIVER VIEW TOWN HOMES

Look at the photo above. Look at the base of the building. Those are 4 level townhomes connected to 415 and 445 E. North Water. These townhomes originally sold from the developer (MCL) starting from the low $1,000,000’s but larger plans for much more. Currently there is only one on the market for just under $3 Million. The best part of these homes is they enjoy river views and all have roof top decks. They are connected to River View Condominiums so you enjoy all the river view condo amenities but also have your own private entrance (and your own private garage within their garage).

The corner townhomes offer the largest square footage but these townhomes are not the typical “narrow style” that you’ll find in other areas of the city. But, do keep in mind that you still pay a full assessment to the condo association. Just because you own a townhome does not mean that you get a break on your HOA!

At the end of the day, however, these townhomes represent some of my most favorite pieces of real estate in Chicago.

EAST NORTH WATER TOWN HOMES (NORTH OF RIVER VIEW CONDOMINIUMS)

The above townhomes are located just north of “East North Water Street” and therefore north of The River View Condominiums. These townhomes are older, being built in the mid to late 1990’s. They offer private 1 car garages (some have 2 cars) and have a very cozy feeling. They are narrow and what may be expected of townhomes in urban areas. They do, however, offer a very inexpensive option for those who want to own a townhome in the city right off the lake. There is, however, 1 catch.

YOU DON’T OWN THE LAND! Guess what else, the association doesn’t either! The townhomes sit on an always extendable land lease. This means that there is an additional land lease fee in addition to the standard assessment you’ll have to pay. The land lease monthly fee varies depending on the size of the unit but will run from $600 to $800/mo in addition to the assessments which price in around $400 to $500/mo. However, with pricing typically around $650,000 to $800,000 it is still a cheap way to own a townhome in the city right off the River & Lake Shore Drive.

Do you have the option to buy the land? Yes, you do. The land will typically sell in the mid 300’s to low 400’s.

440 N. McClurg & 480 N. McClurg Court

City View Condominiums, pictured above, is located at 440 and 480 N. McClurg Court. This picture is taken from the small docking area that is behind the River East Art Center. Look at the photo. You may recognize that Dick’s Last Resort used to be located on the bottom right of the photograph (it has since been relocated to Marina Towers).

440 and 480 McClurg are the oldest condos in River East having been built in 1991. They feature studios, small 1 bedrooms, large 1 bedrooms and 2 bedrooms. The buildings are broken up into two towers which share one main entrance and fitness center. There is also a sundeck. Many of the units have not been upgraded but some have. The first floor units are mostly duplexes which offer a “townhouse feel” without the townhouse price. Studio’s can be picked up around $160,000 and One Bedrooms start around $200,000 and move up from there depending on price. Two Beds typically start in the low to mid $300’s.

The best views in these buildings, in my opinion, are the east views as you are looking directly at the water and the tree line. You almost forget you’re in the middle of the city. For those, however, that want incredible city views check out the building below.

474 N. Lake Shore Drive

474 N. Lake Shore Drive is located at Illinois & Lake Shore Drive (at the end of the River East Art Center building). This building was built in the early 90’s but converted to condos in the mid 2000s. Unfortunately it is one of the ugliest buildings in the area, at least from the exterior. I despise the exterior…I hate the exterior. But, don’t judge a book by its cover!

The best units in the building are the West facing studios (600+sf) and the West facing corner 2 Bedroom units. The city views are unbelievable and the units are affordable! Studios from the upper $100’s and Two Bedrooms from the low $400s, sometimes a bit cheaper depending if there are any foreclosures on the market. The building features an incredible fitness center and lap pool along with a nice sundeck. 24hr door staff as well and you are only steps from Navy Pier. The feeling, however, around this building is very touristy as you are moments from the lake and Navy Pier and is nowhere near as quiet as the buildings near the river.

The building also has a very high rental occupancy rate (rentals vs. owners). I’m not sure the exact percentage but I know it is higher than most other buildings in the area. The developer still owns some units in the building.

505 N. McClurg  The Parkview

505 N. McClurg

The Parkview was the last project completed by MCL Companies that helped develop the River East neighborhood. The Parkview is located at 505 N. McClurg at the corner of McClurg and East Illinois right across from Fox & Obel grocery store. The building features fantastic One Bedrooms (priced from the low $400’s though some foreclosures have sold for the mid to high $300s), Two Bedrooms from the mid to high $500s and Three Bedrooms from roughly $900,000.

The building has an outdoor pool and small fitness center along with a great party room. The lobby has a grand feeling but the hallways feel small as there are only a small number of units per floor. The biggest complaint about the building are the yellow/orange colored hallways and yellow colored balconies.

The floorplans all have great usable space and there is very little wasted space. While the building has seen a couple foreclosures and short sales it has held on to its values fairly well. It is one of my favorite new (newer) construction buildings in Streeterville.

PAUL BLACKBURN IS A LICENSED ILLINOIS REALTOR AND ASSOCIATE BROKER WITH @ PROPERTIES. HE CAN ALWAYS BE REACHED VIA E-MAIL AT PAUL@PKBLACKBURN.COM

Please Visit www.BuyingInChicago.Com for more information about buying in Chicago!