Plans For New Condo High Rise Might Signal Market Upswing

by Doug Pitorak


The construction of high-rise condos may pick up in Chicago.

Possibly symbolizing an increase in the sale of downtown high-rise condos, Chicago-based CMK Cos. is considering the development of a 16-story, 150-unit condo building in the South Loop, according to a Crain’s Business Chicago article published online Aug. 12.

Crain’s reports that such considerations might reflect an upward swing in the purchase of condos in Chicago, up 50 percent in the first half of 2013 from the first half of 2012. The number of downtown condos on the market in the 2013 second quarter was 617, significantly lower than more than 5,000 condos that remained unsold in the 2004 second quarter.

However, developers are still waiting to see how the market shakes out, creating a lack of competition and lower prices that some experts suggest is a motivating factor for CMK to move on its plans, which involve a plot of land by Wabash Ave. and 13th St., according to Crain’s.

“I think the key to that deal is that [Colin Kinhke, president of CMK] is focused on the lower price point, which is a good place to be if you were to go to market with that number of units,” Gregory Warsek, a senior vice president in the Chicago office of Associated Banc Corp., which could be part of the project, told Crain’s.

Lee Golub, executive vice president of the local developer Golub & Co. would not rule out a future condo venture, but he told Crain’s that his company intends to keep the 392 units in its proposed building at 9th St. and State St. as apartments rather than convert them to condos.

According to Crain’s, the very prospect of apartment-to-condo-conversion makes developers weary, as the pool of potential buyers would shrink as consumers opt for already existing spaces instead of waiting for a new building to be constructed.

Nevertheless, the appearance of a rejuvenated market for condos is something to keep an eye on, and Golub told Crain’s it is bound to happen.



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