Most new condos downtown cost at least $700 per square foot
Loop North News

The Home Front

(Above) Rendering of a living room at Vista Tower. Current listings at Vista Tower range in price per square foot from $716 to $1,590. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

If you are shopping for a new downtown Chicago condominium this summer, better bring a wheelbarrow of cash to the deal, experts advise.

8-Jul-17 – Seventy-nine percent of the unsold new-construction condo inventory units are in buildings priced at an average of $700-plus per square foot, notes Downtown Chicago Benchmark Report, the latest analysis of the condo market by Appraisal Research Counselors Ltd.

Gail Lissner “This is considered to be the ultra-luxury segment of the market, targeted to a rather thin group of affluent buyers,” noted Gail Lissner (left), vice president of Appraisal Research.

The top of the ultra-high-end of the market downtown is the 94-story Vista Tower hotel and condominium complex now under construction at 363 East Wacker Drive. The tower will have 406 condo units and 191 hotel rooms. 21 penthouses are priced in the $8-10 million range, according to Magellan Development Group, co-developer with China’s Wanda Group.

Also under construction is One Bennett Park, a 68-story mixed-use project at 451 East Grand Avenue, which will feature 279 rental apartments and 69 ultra-luxury condos.

(Right) Rendering of a master bedroom at One Bennett Park.

One Bennett Park

Despite lofty price tags, developers managed to market 107 new luxury condo and townhome units downtown in the first quarter of 2017, and closed sales on 62 units. A total of 486 units were sold downtown in all of 2016, up from 415 units in 2015.

At the end of the first quarter of 2017, there were 845 unsold new construction condos and townhomes being marketed for sale downtown.

Neighborhood Unsold Units
Loop 271
River North 208
Gold Coast 142
West Loop 120
Streeterville 63
South Loop 10

The unsold new-construction condo and townhome inventory downtown totaled 663 units at the end of the first quarter of 2016. Inventory totaled 471 units in the first quarter of 2015.

Mid-$300 per square foot condo sold out

By targeting first-time buyers, The Guild, a 14-story condo at 1555 South Wabash Avenue, sold out in the first quarter of 2017. Rebranded after the Great Recession, the 176-unit building’s prices were set in the affordable mid-$300 per-square-foot bracket.

Originally built in 2009, developers sold 35 units, then got caught in the economic downturn. Remaining units were rented, then extensively renovated five years later, making the project comparable with new construction, noted Ron DeVries, vice president of Appraisal Research.

Boutique condos popular. Five luxury boutique condo projects with a total of 129 units were launched in early 2017, Appraisal Research reported. The smaller nine-to-14-story developments range in size from 10 to 38 residences. Average unit sizes range from 2,100 to 3,400 square feet of living area, and prices run from $690 to $913 per square foot.

Existing condo bargains. Buyers hunting for an affordable condo downtown should shop existing buildings for condo bargains, experts advise.

An Appraisal Research survey of 65 existing downtown buildings with a total of 20,895 units found that prices have risen from an average of $338 per square foot in 2012 to an average of $420 per square foot in 2016.

“Overall, prices in these 65 buildings have risen 25 percent since 2011, while the sales volume for 2016 was up over 50 percent from the low point in 2011,” said Lissner.

By Don DeBat | Loop North News | ddebat@loopnorth.com

Published 8-Jul-17 2:27 AM

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