Downtown dwellers disagree on value of high-rise life
Loop North News

The Home Front

While the shelter-at-home lifestyle may suit some high-rise dwellers, most – who must wear masks during long elevator rides to units with little or no fresh air – are not happy.

23-May-20 – Some high-rise dwellers apparently are quite happy with the shelter at home lifestyle.

However, last week’s survey by The Home Front indicates the majority of residents living in high-rise towers with little or no fresh air are unhappy with long elevator rides while wearing a mask during the coronavirus pandemic.

Condominium owner Adrienne Squires sent the following email report: “My condo board refuses to comply with Governor J.B. Pritzker’s face mask mandate. The board says they do not have to because this is a private property. This building is a free-for-all nightmare.”

Apparently, few residents in this Streeterville high-rise wear masks. “Owners and renters gather in a small lobby without masks,” Squires wrote. “The board allows people with dogs to hang out in the lobby, playing with the animals. I will try and sell my condo as soon as this nightmare calms down.”

Here’s this writer’s reply: Your condominium board members likely may have liability if there is a virus outbreak in your building because they are making unsound judgments and not following recommended protocols.

No wonder there’s an exodus underway at some downtown and suburban skyscrapers, as The Home Front noted last week. As a result, more and more apartment hunters are not renewing high-rise leases and are hunting for safer housing in smaller walk-up buildings.

Sara Benson

“Demand for residences in low-density walk-up buildings is at an all-time high, especially in Old Town, Lincoln Park, and River West,” noted broker Sara Benson (left), president of Benson Stanley Realty based in Chicago. “Rents for move-in ready units are on the rise.”

However, not all tower dwellers, apparently, are unhappy with riding in cramped elevators while facing the walls. Another high-rise lover sent the following salty email, which was edited to remove some inflammatory comments because she mistakenly thought this writer was “disparaging high-rise living.”

“It’s unfortunate that your self-serving article about high-rises in Chicago is based on your bad experience. Sounds like it was hard for you to get along with others. I guess using fear is an easy way to get people to read your biased piece. Let me guess, you live in a walk-up or in the suburbs? If you have any love of the great city of Chicago, you might think a little more before you write.”

Correct, until recently this bungalow man resided in a beautiful Northwest Side single-family home with a large tree-filled back yard overlooking Legion Park.

Since relocating back to Old Town, he now resides with his lovely wife in a vintage Victorian walk-up and is loving the neighborhood in which he originally grew up.

Photo by Don DeBat

He attended Newberry Elementary School at Willow & Burling Streets, where his report card conduct review always said he “keeps promptly busy” and “gets along well with others.”

The skyscraper lover also accused this writer of “irresponsible reporting,” despite the column having been based on actual quotes from brokers and apartment renters who exposed the high-rise exodus trend.

Rents getting paid on time

Nationwide, 90.3 percent of renters paid full or partial rent by the third week of May, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council’s rent payment tracker.

The report was released after the latest job figures showed 38 million Americans have filed for unemployment. The data analyzed 11.4 million professionally managed rental units across the country that vary widely by size, type, and average rental price.

By Don DeBat | Loop North News | debatnet@aol.com

Published 23-May-20 11:02 PM

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