ChicagoismynewBlog

Archive for October, 2009

Homebuyer tax credit one step closer towards being extended. Go U.S. Senate!

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on October 31, 2009

Senators agree to extend homebuyer tax credit

Set to expire at end of November, plan will remain until end of April

updated 5:56 p.m. CT, Wed., Oct . 28, 2009 //

WASHINGTON – Senators agreed Wednesday to extend a popular tax credit for first-time homebuyers and to offer a reduced credit to some repeat buyers.

The tax credit provides up to $8,000 to first-time homebuyers but is set to expire at the end of November.

Senators agreed to extend the existing tax credit for first-time homebuyers while offering a reduced credit of up to $6,500 to repeat buyers who have owned their current homes for at least five years, said Regan Lachapelle, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

The tax credits would be available to homebuyers who sign sales agreements by the end of April. They would have until the end of June to close on their new homes, said a congressional aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the deal….

Check out the full MSNBC article and some cool interactive graphics by clicking HERE!  Now, I do need to stress that althought we are one step closer towards extending the tax credit, it has NOT been voted on and approved.  This means that if you were on the fence about buying a home, still go ahead and do it!

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Posted in News Articles, Real Estate | Leave a Comment »

@properties JUST launched their new and updated website! Check it out!

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on October 30, 2009

Hey everyone!  @properties did a major update and overhaul to their website making it a lot more user friendly for those looking for an agent, searching for properties, and finding other important information.  Plus…I like it because it makes my life a little easier too!  So remember, if you or someone you know are looking to buy, sell, or rent a place, consider @properties…and ME for your agent.

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Posted in @properties | Leave a Comment »

Trio in the Fulton River District and Mondial in River West likely to go rental soon.

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on October 29, 2009

Another Crain’s Chicago Business article about the most recent industry troubles.  Mostly because of very poor sales figures, two more condo buildings, Trio, located in the Fulton River District and Mondial, located in the River West neighborhood may go rental very soon.

2 downtown condo projects may switch to apartments

By: Alby Gallun Oct. 28, 2009

(Crain’s) — With the condominium market stuck in a funk, two more downtown condo developers are considering replacing “For Sale” signs with ones that say “For Rent.”

The Mondial, a 141-unit condo project in River West, and the 100-unit Trio high-rise under construction in the West Loop could go rental in the coming months, a switch that has become increasingly attractive in an overbuilt and cutthroat downtown condo market.

“We’re just trying to figure out how fast all the other guys who are dumping units will clear the marketplace,” says Jack Berger, the developer of the Mondial, a nearly finished 15-story building at 900 W. Huron Street.

Mr. Berger says he recently canceled about 50 purchase contracts for condos in the project and gave the buyers their deposits back. Yet he hasn’t given up completely on condos, saying he expects to make a final decision by the end of the year on whether to switch over to apartments.

“Do you think someone who has a contract for a $450,000 unit that they signed two years ago is going to close?” Mr. Berger asks. “They aren’t going to close, so why alienate the marketplace? We have to do the responsible thing.”

Many condo buyers nowadays can’t get a loan to finance a new condo purchase, one reason downtown developers are sitting on so many unsold units. Switching to apartments could make sense for projects close to completion, allowing developers to trade a risky condo market for a more stable, albeit still sluggish, downtown rental market….

To read the full Crain’s article, click HERE!

Posted in Buildings, Fulton River District, News Articles, Rental Building, River West | Leave a Comment »

Hallelujah. Chicago home sales are finally on the rise! First since 2006.

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on October 24, 2009

This article, just came out thanks to Crain’s Chicago Business!  I’m really glad they included the chart to show people exactly how the real estate market is improving in Chicago.  I hope this will make some people gain at least a little more confidence and get them out there to buy or sell a home.

City home sales rise for first time since 2006

By: Staff Oct. 23, 2009

(Crain’s) — Home sales in the city of Chicago posted a monthly year-over-year increase for the first time in more than three years, while sales throughout the Chicago area rose for the third straight month compared with last year, according to the Illinois Assn. of Realtors.

CHICAGO-AREA SALES
Below is a monthly year-over-year comparison of home sales (single-family and condo) in the nine-county Chicago area.
Month 2009 2008 Change
January 2,965 3,927 -24.5%
February 3,082 4,326 -28.8%
March 4,260 5,759 -26.0%
April 4,747 6,094 -22.1%
May 5,634 6,927 -18.7%
June 7,140 7,806 -8.5%
July 7,427 7,408 0.3%
August 7,009 6,917 1.3%
September 6,862 6,477 5.9%
Source: Illinois Assn. of Realtors

Statewide sales showed their first year-over-year rise since March 2006, the Realtors’ group said.

Meanwhile, prices continued to tumble, compared to last year. The association used the release Friday to lobby for an extension of the $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers. The credit is set to expire at the end of next month.

While some key congressional leaders support an extension of the credit, the White House is still undecided.

“Home sale gains this month show the tax credit is working and should be extended through 2010 as it is helping to stabilize home prices and creating thousands of jobs that rely on housing,” says association President Mike Onorato, broker-owner of Onorato Real Estate, which is based in Coal City, 60 miles southwest of Chicago, according to the release.

In the nine-county Chicago region, 6,862 single-family homes and condominiums were sold September, up 5.9% from 6,477 sales in September 2008, the Realtors group said. The monthly year-over-year percentage gain was the biggest of the three straight increases: Local sales rose 0.3% in July compared with July 2008 and 1.3% in August….

Check out the full Crain’s article by clicking HERE!

Posted in News Articles | Leave a Comment »

Looking to rent a home in Chicago? Us @properties agents can help!

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on October 23, 2009

Because I’m always trying to keep up with what the industry is telling me, I wanted to let you know that if you’re living in Chicago or wanting to move to Chicago and are in need of a place to rent, I would be honored to help you out!  Us agents don’t JUST help people buy and sell homes, we can also help people find a home to rent! 

ForRent

We must make the best of what’s given to us and this is just one of the ways!  Give me an email at anytime and we’ll go from there.  My @properties email is:  jeffstewart@atproperties.com

Posted in @properties, Real Estate | Leave a Comment »

So the Chicago Post Office sale is finalized? Alright, I’ll go with it.

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on October 22, 2009

Old Main Post Office sold to original winner.

By Andrew Schroedter, Oct. 21, 2009

(Crain’s) — English developer Bill Davies has completed his acquisition of Chicago’s Old Main Post Office, roughly two months after he agreed to pay $40 million for the property at auction.

Sources say Mr. Davies renegotiated a lower price for the nearly 3-million-square-foot structure that straddles Congress Parkway downtown at 433 W. Van Buren St. But that new amount could not be determined.

The deal closed today.

“We are excited that this historic landmark now enters the redevelopment phase, and we look forward to seeing it contribute to the growth and vitality of downtown Chicago after many years of vacancy,” Tom Samra, the Postal Service’s vice-president of facilities, said in a statement. “We wish the new owners of this property the best of luck in their efforts….”

Check out the full Chicago Real Estate Daily article by clicking HERE!

chicagopostoffice

Posted in Buildings, News Articles | Leave a Comment »

Multiple banks move to foreclose on Block 37 in Chicago’s Loop!

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on October 21, 2009

Uh oh, looks like Block 37 is headed towards a bit more trouble.  According to this article from the Chicago Tribune, Bank of America and other lenders are looking to foreclose on the retail and transit portions of Block 37 because the developer, Joseph Freed and Associates LLC, has gone $34MM over budget and has now defaulted on its mortgage.  Can we please just get this thing opened up?

Banks move to foreclose on Block 37

By Sandra M. Jones, Tribune reporter

3:05 p.m. CDT, October 20, 2009

Block 37, the Loop parcel that has defied development for decades, has run into financial trouble less than four weeks before its first retail shops were set to open, putting the project’s future in question once again.

Bank of America N.A. and a group of lenders have moved to foreclose on the retail and transit portion of the mixed-use development, claiming Chicago developer Joseph Freed and Associates LLC has exceeded the planned project costs by $34 million and is in default on its mortgage, according to a lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court on Monday.

Freed disclosed the dispute on Tuesday, calling the banks’ steps a “misguided action that could halt the project” and warned that if the four-story shopping mall project shuts down now, it “will be near-impossible to restart,” according to a company press release. Freed took over the project, which has gone through many developers over the decades, in April 2007. It is located at 108 N. State Street….

Check out the full Chicago Tribune article by clicking HERE!

Block37 

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GREEN ROOF ALERT! Lush gardens on top of Chicago’s City Hall!

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on October 20, 2009

This green roof on top of Chicago’s City Hall has got to be the baby of Mayor Daley’s green roofing binge…and I’m glad he made this his first major one because it turned out great.  Started in 2000, the City Hall rooftop garden was started as  part of the Chicago’s Urban Heat Island Initiative which tests the benefits of green roofs and how they affect air temperature and air quality.  The green roof has around 20,000 plants and 100 species which were selected because of their ability to survive on top of an 11 story building in the middle of Chicago.

According to the City of Chicago website:  “The City Hall rooftop garden improves air quality, helps conserve energy, reduces stormwater runoff and helps lessen the urban heat island effect.  The plants reflect heat, provide shade and help cool the surrounding air through evapotranspiration, which occurs when plants secrete or “transpire” water through pores in their leaves.  The water draws heat as it evaporates, cooling the air in the process.  Plants also filter the air, which improves air quality by using excess carbon dioxide to produce oxygen.”

The green roof also replaced the traditional black tar roof with green plants, plants that absorb much less heat from the sun than the tar roof would.  This keeps the building cooler in summer which means less energy for air conditioning.  The roof can also retain 75% of a 1 inch rainfall before stormwater runs off into the sewers.

Unfortunately, the City Hall green roof isn’t open for public tours but if you’re lucky enough to work in neighboring buildings, that’s probably your best bet of seeing the roof.  If you want to view the garden from the Department Of Environment’s offices, contact Larry Merritt at (312) 744-5716 for an appointment.

What do you all think of it?

Photo courtesy of World Business Chicago

city hall green

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Posted in Buildings, Green, The Loop | Leave a Comment »

Old being turned into new in the West Loop’s Igoe Building.

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on October 18, 2009

I just read from Skyscraperpage‘s ‘spyguy’ that the Igoe Building, located at 600 W. Van Buren Street in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, is being renovated…but for office or residential?!  When researching the background of the name, either the Igoe Building was named after a printer or was named after James T. Igoe, a former U.S. representative who was as Chicago’s city clerk from 1917 – 1923 and was later chairman of the executive committee of Chicago.  For the past year, whenever I’ve gone past this building, I’ve thought the the Igoe Building would make a great loft condo building because of the massive windows but we’ll see.  The 285,900 square foot former industrial turned loft office building already has a Panera Bread opening up on the ground floor.

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Plans for a fully renovated Igoe Building.

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Current look of the Igoe Building.

Posted in Buildings, Renovation/Restoration, West Loop | 1 Comment »

New construction across from Wrigley Field…and it’s pretty nice!

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on October 17, 2009

A big thanks to Skyscraperpage user ‘george’ for the great photo work and updating everyone on this new construction building right across from Wrigley Field in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood.  When I first found out they were tearing down the old building, I was dreading what would be built in its place.  But I can rest assured and say that I’m really impressed with the new building. 

Wrigley2

Old building, prior to demolition.

Wrigley

New building.

Wrigley1

New building.

Posted in Construction, Wrigleyville | 2 Comments »