In a bold move, developer Belgravia Group Ltd. has purchased vacant lots in Lincoln Park with the intention of developing more than a dozen row houses, according to a new report from Crain’s Chicago Real Estate Daily.
Located on 1500 West Montana Street, Belgravia paid $3.6 million for the lots, or less than $260,000 per lot. As the Chicago Real Estate Daily report notes, the investment is an unorthodox move, coming at a time when Chicago real estate is still grappling with slower sales and lower prices.
The planned row houses will be attached, single-family homes with four bedrooms, two-car garages and 45-foot private yards that will be listed for just under $1 million.
James Kramer, the Koenig & Strey agent who will be listing the eventual properties, told Chicago Real Estate Daily that the location (which had been for sale for two-plus years) offers great potential for developers.
“It’s one of the few spots where you can get so many lots together,” Mr. Kramer said. “The location is good.”
Originally purchased in 2004 for $6 million by real estate investor Robert Birkmeyer, the property originally housed a factory. Birkmeyer tore the factory down and prepped the land for development, but was hit with a foreclosure suit in December by BMO Harris Bank.
Because of the property’s troubled history, Belgravia is getting a “great deal” in its purchase, said Jeff Lowe, a Prudential Rubloff broker, in the Chicago Real Estate Daily article. Normally, such lots would cost up to $450,000 a piece.
Though the property has been purchased, Belgravia still needs approval from the city for a zoning change before it can begin construction. Afterwards, the developer plans to build a sales model to market the homes, building subsequent properties as they are sold.
According to Chicago Real Estate Daily, the row houses come at an interesting time for Belgravia.
“Belgravia’s purchase of the Montana Street lots comes as the developer gains momentum on another project, its CA23 condo development in the West Loop,” the report states. “The company in recent weeks confirmed construction plans for a second 24-unit building in the development, at 16-20 N. Carpenter St. The project’s first building, which also has 24 units, sold out late this summer.”