Started as a development-marketing firm, @properties continues to lead in new-construction sales
Michael Golden and Thaddeus Wong established @properties in 2000 as a boutique brokerage firm serving developers of new construction and condominium conversions. While @properties has grown to become the largest independently-owned broker in Illinois, it has never strayed far from its roots.
Now with new construction on the rise, @properties once again finds itself at the center of a number of high-profile projects, including: 4 East Elm in the Gold Coast, 400 West Huron in River North, Webster Square in Lincoln Park, The Legacy at Millennium Park in the Loop, The Row in Bucktown, Floral Avenue in downtown Skokie and The Residences at The Grove in Forest Park.
According to Golden, @properties is uniquely positioned to sell new-construction and condo conversions because it offers developers a rare combination: a sales force of top-producing new-construction brokers; a built-in marketing department handling everything from graphic design to advertising to public relations; and a captive audience of nearly 1,800 @properties brokers, who can deliver information on available projects directly to a database of more than 900,000 contacts.
“When we started the company, selling developments was all we did. Our outside brokerage business kind of grew up around that project-marketing core. Over time, we’ve been able to leverage one to serve the other, and it has created a very powerful platform to service developments,” Golden said.
“When you’re launching a project like 400 West Huron or Webster Square, where pre-construction sales are vital, it’s a tremendous advantage to be able to go out to brokers with whom there’s an established level of trust and say, ‘This is going to be a great opportunity for your clients,’” said Wong.
But that trust exists only as long as projects are successful and clients are satisfied. So Golden and Wong spend countless hours working with their developer clients to refine product and programming before bringing developments to the marketplace.
“We work with some of the best architects, designers and developers in the country here in Chicago, but ultimately they rely on our first-hand knowledge of the market to answer a lot of questions about what to build. Our brokerage operation handles thousands of transactions a year, so we have a great understanding of demand levels, where buyers see value and, just as importantly, where they don’t,” said Golden.
Wong noted that today’s new-construction buyers aren’t just looking for something new; they’re looking for something different, something innovative.
“400 West Huron is Exhibit A,” said Wong. “Smithfield Properties is pushing the envelope with finishes like marble floors in living areas and private enclosed garage bays for every unit. The market has responded in a big way, and we’re 65 percent sold just four months in.”
Both Golden and Wong credit @properties’ success in development sales to the cooperation they receive from the brokerage community.
“You’ve got to have cooperation – both inside and outside your firm – to make any development successful. We try to make it as easy as possible for co-op brokers to sell the projects we represent,” said Golden.
“Brokers who make an effort to really understand new construction and the projects that are out there stand to do very well,” added Wong.
@properties is the No. 1 brokerage firm in the city of Chicago, the largest independently-owned residential brokerage firm in Illinois and the city’s leading sales and marketing firm for new-construction and condominium-conversion developments. For more information about new construction projects in the city and suburbs, visit the Developments section of the @properties website.