Hotel plan for 227 Walton meets local resistance

(Published Aug. 31, 2019)

By Jesse Wright

Would-be developers of a condo at 227 E. Walton got an earful from angry neighbors at a community meeting in August.

The property is a historically significant 13-story, 25-unit condominium and developers with BRAD Management would like to turn it into an extended-stay corporate suite.

The Streeterville Organization of Active Residents organized the meeting and Alderman Brian Hopkins attended. He said he wanted to hear community feedback from the proposal. The development first came to light in June at a SOAR land use meeting, and since the plan was floated, residents have opposed the possibility of turning a condo into a hotel. Hopkins acknowledged the unpopular proposal early in the evening.

“We’re starting the discussions to see if there’s anything that can be done to make this more palpable to the community,” Hopkins said at the top of the meeting.

Harry Weese designed the building 63 years ago and the city deemed the property a landmark in 2012. Because of that status, the developers cannot alter the outside significantly, and two spokespeople assured the community that wouldn’t happen—but that assurance didn’t go far.

Community members said they were concerned introducing a hotel—even an extended stay hotel—would invite strangers and trouble into the neighborhood.

“We moved in here because it’s a neighborhood and because it has a neighborhood feel,” a man said. “I would hate to think that because it’s a neighborhood building, we can’t live in the neighborhood and can’t have the environment we enjoy. We don’t want to have transients coming in all day long and all week long.”

Michael Monu, one of the spokespeople on behalf of the developers, tried to assure the community the hotel would not attract rowdy crowds. He said the hotel would not allow overnight stays and would average stays of four-to-five nights at least. He added that the lobby would have cameras and noise meters and that individual units would have decibel meters and marijuana and cigarette meters. Finally, he said, guests would be screened through a background check.

Still, residents said a hotel would drive down property values and one woman said she was afraid the development would “ruin this neighborhood.”

However, Graham Grady, a lawyer for the development team, said the building has limited potential as a residence.

“There’s not a great market demand for large, two-bedroom units,” Grady said. “If you lower the rent too much it’s not going to operate in the black for too long.”

By the end of the discussion, few—if any—residents seemed convinced and Hopkins said he, too, would wait and see whether or not the developers would agree to address community concerns before he would sign off on the project.

“They have to convince me as well as everyone else in this room,” he said.

Hopkins did point out that the city could include deed restrictions on the property that would limit not only how the current owners developed the project but how the property could be forever used in the future—meaning even if the property is re-zoned, it would still be held to certain restrictions in line with community support.

The next step in the process will be in mid-September, when the developers are scheduled to file a zoning map amendment application, though city council action on the project is still months away and tentatively scheduled for some time in December. In the meantime, Hopkins’ office is seeking community input, and residents can weight through his website, www.aldermanhopkins.com.

Navy Pier breaks ground on first pier hotel

(Published July 31, 2019)

Developers broke ground in mid-July on the first hotel on Navy Pier. ACRON, a real estate investment firm; Maverick Hotels & Restaurants, a hotel management and development company and Navy Pier are developing the project. 

The property, scheduled to open spring 2020, will operate under the exclusive Curio Collection by Hilton, which includes more than 50 independent hotels around the world.

The new hotel will be located adjacent to Festival Hall at the eastern end of the complex. The hotel will offer 222 guest rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase views of the city’s famed skyline, Lake Michigan and the Pier. The hotel will also offer a first floor restaurant, a fitness center and a 30,000-square-foot rooftop restaurant, bar and event space.

Officials said the hotel development has already led to 600 construction jobs and is expected to create 300 permanent positions.

Kaliflower restaurant launches on Michigan Ave.

(Published May 30, 2019)

By Jesse Wright

Next month New Eastsiders will see a new restaurant in Kaliflower, a fast-casual spot that offers healthy options packed with flavor.

Owner Ben Arnstein said his 333 N. Michigan Ave. restaurant is a passion project for him and his fiancee. Arnstein, a former management consultant, travelled a lot with his fiancee and, by necessity, they ate out a lot. He said, it was awful.

“We’re eating out almost every meal and we’re travelling a ton and there weren’t a lot of options that were flavorful and had spices and warm options that were also healthy options,” Arnstein said.

The tired of eating salads or settling for burgers and pizza for every meal either. From that, the idea of Kaliflower was born.

The restaurant will offer bowls and salads as well as sides, like daalafel, a baked lentil dish with chickpeas, cilantro, parsley and a hint of jalapeno. It will be served with a side of cucumber and mint yogurt.

The bowls are equally flavor-packed. One of the offerings is the path to enlightenment bowl, which includes daalafel, roasted carrots, marinated lentils, cucumber and red pepper salad, marinated kale, creamy avocado yogurt, finished with chopped cilantro and lemon garlic vinaigrette dressing.

The bowls and salads are $11.50 and all of it, Arnstein said, will be fast and ready to go for area residents and professionals.

“It is fast casual, so there will be almost no seating,” he said. “It is designed to take away. We’re really focusing on quality food and a good value price point.”

Arnstein said he designed the menu himself with a chef advisor, and the selections combine flavors he and his fiancee are familiar with.

“My fiancee is first generation Indian on her mom’s side,” he said. “The spice road type flavors are something I grew up eating.”

Arnstein said Kaliflower is still under construction and he doesn’t have an opening date yet but is hoping to launch in mid-to-late June.

Roberts Pizza and Dough Company to re-open May 10

May 1, 2019

By Jesse Wright, Staff Write

After a year of searching for the perfect new home, husband and wife team Robert and Dana Garvey are reopening Robert’s Pizza and Dough Company in Streeterville. Located at 465 N. McClurg Ct off the Riverwalk, Robert’s Pizza will continue the pair’s commitment to contribute to the pizza landscape of Chicago and showcase their signature ‘Za Dough’– a 20-year-in-the-making, family dough recipe perfected by Garvey himself. To celebrate its highly-anticipated return, Robert’s Pizza will be giving away one free slice of pizza per guest from the to-go counter between 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on May 10.

“The Streeterville neighborhood is our home and where we launched our pizza journey,” says Garvey. “It was important for us to find a location that would allow us to grow operationally, while still serving our community. We’re thrilled to be bringing back our pizza and can’t wait for Chicago to try our new menu items and experience our new, expanded location.”

Robert’s Pizza will continue to offer its classic rotating lineup of up to 15 gourmet brick-oven pizzas, “create-your-own” pizzas with toppings from select premium ingredients and the signature Robert’s Pizza Flight. Local favorites returning to the menu will include The Lia, Peking Duck, Huevos Rancheros, Prosciutto and Arugula and the nightly special Seafood pizza.

The warm and intimate environment seats 142 and includes banquette seating, an 18-seat bar, a private dining room for up to 12, and outdoor and dock-side seating for 70 during patio season.

Robert’s Pizza will be open for dinner Sunday – Thursday from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. and until 11 p.m. for Friday and Saturday dinner service. Delivery will be available via Chow Now, Caviar and the restaurant’s direct website. For more information on Robert’s Pizza, please visit www.robertspizzacompany.com or call (312) 265-1328. Robert’s Pizza is also available for special events.

A look at One Bennett Park

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

With work wrapping up, developers of One Bennett Park said residents of the upper floor condominiums will begin moving into the property in March.

Floors one through 39 opened in November.

The 70-story project gives Streeterville one of the tallest buildings in the city and will add hundreds of residents to the 451 East Grand Ave. location.

Tricia Van Horn, vice president of marketing and communications for Related Midwest, said her company is no stranger to the Streeterville area.

Related Midwest has developed highly successful apartment and condominium buildings in Streeterville for more than two decades, including 500 Lake Shore Drive, and we know it’s a terrific place to call home,” she said in an email.

Van Horn cited the neighborhood’s history and proximity to retail, transportation and cultural institutions as attractive features for developers. She said she expects the One Bennett Park development will be a good fit.

The building was designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects (RAMSA), and Van Horn said the exterior reflects a classic, historic style.

“One Bennett Park, Related Midwest and RAMSA have created an all-residential, heirloom building whose design pays homage to the city’s beloved pre-war architectural heritage. A limestone podium, formal motor courts, ornamental metalwork, vertical setbacks and a lantern ‘crown’ distinguish the building from most new construction towers,” she said.

The exterior might look old-school, but the inside amenities are modern. Apartments and condominiums range from $3,700 to $18,500 per month, with floor plans from 905 to 3,323 square feet.

Residents will have access to fitness and wellness facilities located on the third and fourth floors. These include training studios, a club-level gym with cardiovascular and strength equipment, a 60-foot indoor pool and a 10,000-square-foot deck overlooking Bennett Park with an outdoor pool, fire pits and grilling stations, Van Horn said.

The third and fourth floor amenities include a children’s play area, prep and catering kitchens, and a “tween room” with games, televisions and modular lounge seating.

Additionally, the two-acre Bennett Park is expected to open in summer 2019. Designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh, the creator of Maggie Daley Park, the park will lie adjacent to the property and include a playground, dog runs and meandering pathways, Van Horn said.

The park will be closed certain days each year for One Bennett Park residents to hold private events.

As of February, units were still available. Contact a Related representative at www.onebennettpark.com for information.



The things in your home really should bring you joy

By Urban Real Estate

Winter in Chicago is the perfect opportunity to stay inside and tidy up. With the popularity of organizer-extraordinaire Marie Kondo’s Netflix hit “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” many are turning closets inside-out with the goal of finding happiness while decluttering.  

In real estate, decluttering ensures that a prospective buyer can “visualize” themselves in a space, so that a buyer is less focused on your life, and more focused on the home. The bonus is that living in a residence that looks and feels great is a win, all the way around.

Kondo’s six-step method is both a physical and emotional journey. The importance of loving your space isn’t just about the walls you live in – but also the momentos that share your home, as well. Michael Emery, senior partner and broker with Urban Real Estate, sees clients who struggle with what to do with belongings.

“When we are preparing a home for sale, all things will need to go at some point, so we recommend starting that packing process before we bring buyers in the door,” Emery said. “The goal behind bringing joy to your home is compounded with emotionally being prepared to remove a loved one’s belongings who has passed, clothes that simply don’t fit or you will never wear, or items from your children that simply need a new place other than your front closet,” Emeray adds.

As you declutter, think about how you want to use the items in your home. Some things you might want to keep, but it may not be necessary to keep them in your home.

“That’s what storage facilities are for. Think about what could go where, what you might keep for a second home or investment property, or what could be better used by someone else you know, and proceed confidently,” Emery added.

Contact us at Urban Real Estate for a consultation on the resources we have for organizing and staging, or for your next home. UrbanRealEstate.com or (312) 528-9200.

[Winter is a great time to declutter a home. Photo courtesy Urban Real Estate]

It’s a new year – Is the time right for a second home?

By Urban Real Estate

Each year, we set out a list of resolutions and goals — things to achieve in the new year — but some goals are more important than others.

One important goal is understanding what your real estate aims are and deciding where you want to go and how you want to get there.

“The beginning of the new year is the ideal time to map out your short and long-term real estate dreams,” says Michael Emery, senior partner, Urban Real Estate. “Buying a second home is both rewarding and can generate revenue until you are ready to enjoy it. Think about recreational climates, cities where the opportunity of short-term rental services are welcome and where they make sense.”

According to the National Association of Realtors, 45 percent of investment buyers bought their investment property to generate income through renting the property. Of those surveyed, 24 percent of those with investment properties rented the property in 2017 as a short-term rental.

Urban Real Estate agents work with clients and help them consider not only their investment buying options in Chicago but in other cities as well. Whether a buyer is considering cottages in Michigan, homes on golf courses in Florida or a chalet in Vail, being able to set yourself up for making that dream a reality doesn’t need to seem out of reach.

“We have a network of brokers across the country we work with to help identify just what might work for you, and the lifestyle markers you hope to realize with its immediate purchase,” Emery says.

Jumbo loan products paired with ways to generate income for the investor can make the dream of second-home ownership a more attainable reality. “Vacation rental services can help you cover many of the costs related to a turn-key or fixer-upper purchase in an attractive community which welcomes short-term rentals. The key is working with a trusted broker to help you identify property that is valuable and worth the investment if the home isn’t one you’ll be using often for yourself,” adds Emery.

Explore your second home dreams with the Urban Real Estate team of brokers. Contact us at (312) 528-9200 for your second-home or other real estate needs.

Waterfront penthouse makes a global splash as online tools upgrade buying experience

By Urban Real Estate

 

The New Eastside has become a cornerstone in the city of Chicago for luxury, elegance and community. The Chandler is no exception, bringing to life some of downtown’s most magnificent residences. Making news this month is a new listing at the coveted 450 E. Waterside address, unit 3001. This is a penthouse with a story that is attracting buyers from across the globe.

This premier 3,200-plus square foot residence has everything one could want in a dream home in the sky. Among its best assets are its permanent, unobstructed panoramic views of the Chicago River to the north, Navy Pier and Lake Michigan to the east, and the city’s skyline as far as the eye can see.

Matt Silver, partner/broker at Urban Real Estate, said, “This home’s meticulous interior design by the team at Ashworth & Associates, impressive state-of-the-art kitchen, 11-foot-high ceilings with floor-to-ceiling windows and with every inch customized with impeccable finishes and sweeping views makes this a show-stopper. The owners have left no detail to chance.” Silver added, “Our goal is to bring as much of our listing to life to a prospective buyer, leaving the guesswork out. We want them to love it before they even visit onsite.”

Aside from being impressive in layout and design, the three bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom boasts a large foyer ready to greet guests when they walk in the door. Two car parking is included in the $2.75 million price tag. “It’s really the ultimate in city living,” Silver said.

 

Urban Real Estate strategically markets its properties using interactive online visual media to garner interest from prospective buyers around the world. Virtual property tours, along with guided video tours and strategic media efforts, help increase traffic and interest to a property, and often lead to offers from buyers reached via more tailored marketing methods.

Contact Matt Silver at Mattsilver@urbanre.com or call (312) 399-0017 for more information, or visit us at UrbanRealEstate.com to preview this listing. Or connect with any Urban broker who can show you just what you are missing at (312) 528-9200.

Market trends indicate buying a good bet in Chicago

By Urban Real Estate

Chicago has historically remained a steady market for home buying and selling as residents have often made Chicago home (versus other markets where second home investing was more prevalent and often also the first to feel the impact of a distressed marketplace).

That said, interest rates remain low and with a lower rate, comes housing affordability. If the Federal Reserve announces interest hikes before the end of the year, it is likely that that, too, will impact mortgage rates, increasing the cost of a home and decreasing the buying power a consumer might have today.

Matt Farrell, managing partner with Urban Real Estate, has these recommendations for contemplating what to do in today’s market:

First, there are great opportunities to buy in the Chicago market. If buyers are on the fence, lower rates today can be locked in through Urban’s recommended lender for a fixed limited time with a pre-approval, giving you the buying power to negotiate strategically on your next purchase. Buyers are not obligated to make any purchase, but at least have the “financial house” in order, with a low interest rate locked in.

Next, sellers are motivated, especially with good offers. A solid offer is better than no offer to a seller and often sellers have a variety of reasons why they may be looking to move. While buyers may have not planned to purchase in the winter, there may be a chance to secure a great primary or investment property and appreciate the residual benefit of a more aggressive decision.

Finally, If interest rates drop in the future, buyers can always refinance. The reality is, that is a better situation to be in rather than to miss a great opportunity, or to not find what one is looking for later. Moreover, as housing prices continue to increase in Chicago, buyers may later fight the battle of both a higher priced home, and higher interest rates.

Contact one of the trusted advisors at Urban Real Estate to help consider buying or selling in this market, and help get on track for a pre-approval with Urban’s preferred lenders who have a loan program right for you at (312) 528-9200 or visit us at UrbanRealEstate.com.

Open for business: Downtown Chicago hotels booming

By Stephanie Racine, Staff Writer

Downtown Chicago is booming for hotels. In the last month, the Hotel Julian opened in the New Eastside while in the Streeterville area, Aloft opened a new hotel and the Red Roof Inn opened the St. Clair Hotel.

These properties offer hundreds of new rooms for city visitors, along with luxury and easy access to all the downtown amenities.

The Hotel Julian, which opened Oct. 1 at 168 N. Michigan Ave., the corner of Michigan and Randolph, features 218 rooms, with millennium kings and double rooms.

“St. Julian is the patron saint of hospitality, so that is where the name comes from,” said George Jordan, Executive VP with Oxford Hotels and Resorts, the owners and operators of Hotel Julian.

The name of the hotel’s restaurant, About Last Knife, offers an all-day menu.

“You can get an omelet in the morning or at night, or beef Wellington by the slice in the morning or at night,” Jordan said. The hotel pays tribute to the building’s original proprietors Benjamin Marshall and Charles Fox of the eponymous Marshall and Fox architectural firm, with Marshall’s image on the restaurant’s wall.

In Streeterville, Aloft Chicago Mag Mile opened Oct. 1, at 243 E. Ontario St.

Aloft is a Marriott Hotel brand, and Tishman is the developer, owner and manager. There are 337 guest rooms and a restaurant, according to their website. The hotel takes inspiration from the site’s former occupant, the Chicago Contemporary Museum of Art.

Additionally, the Red Roof Inn opened the St. Clair Hotel on Oct. 1, at 162 E. Ontario, as a part of their upscale Red Collection hotels.

For more information about the Hotel Julian, call 312-346-1200 or visit www.hoteljulianchicago.com/

For more information about Aloft Chicago Mag Mile, call 312-429-6600 or visit

www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/chiaa-aloft-chicago-mag-mile/

For more information about the St. Clair Hotel, call 312-787-3580 or visit www.redroof.com/property/il/chicago/RRI281

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