CHICAGO—In the 1970s, downtown Chicago was just a place to work,and few people imagined that anyone would want to live there,especially in one of that era's office towers. But GlenStarProperties, LLC has just finished selling the last of the215 condominiums in its Park Monroe development at65 East Monroe, atop the 49-story 55 East Monroe Building, firstcompleted in 1972. The company began pre-selling the 50 units inthe project's phase 2 in 2013, and the relatively quick buysillustrate that the downtown condo market has recovered from therecession.

|

“It was a very hot market for condos when we began pre-sellingPhase 1 in 2007,” Rand Diamond, a principal atGlenStar, tells GlobeSt.com. Sales slowed, of course, once therecession hit, and even though the 165 units eventually sold, itwas not until 2013 that “the condo market got very hot again. Forthe last five years, the big thing has been apartments, especiallyin the West Loop, but condos are coming back.”

|

Perhaps the most important factor has been the return of lendersto the sector. In fact, GlenStar received a construction loan forphase 2 from Wells-Fargo, and Diamond says it wasthe first condo loan the bank had done locally in five years. Theincreasing confidence among the lenders “was absolutely thecatalyst for a lot of the new development.”

|

The Park Monroe condos occupy the top nine floors. The smallestis about 950-square-feet, but the top floor only has 12 units thatrange in size from 3,200-square-feet to 4,800-square-feet. In phase2, “we found that there was a market for larger units,” Diamondsays. Furthermore, “we were really the only project that wasoffering new construction in our submarket. People could selecttheir own finishings and that was something they could not doelsewhere since most of the other available condos in the area werecompleted years ago,” but unsold due to the recession.

|

“We attracted quite a mixture of buyers,” Diamond says. “We haveempty-nesters that have retired and use their condo as a primaryresidence. Our proximity to the Art Institute andSymphony Center were a big draw for them. We alsohave young professionals who walk to work and a lot of people whouse their condo as a second home.”

|

And, as reported in GlobeSt.com yesterday, the influx of condo and apartment residents has given the East Loopa work/live atmosphere and made it more attractive totech firms looking for alternatives to River North. “If you go outonto our street at 10 PM, even on Sunday, there are peopleeverywhere, and that's a nice thing.”

|

“There is now a nice congregation of condo projects in the EastLoop,” he adds, pointing to other significant developments such asthe Heritage at Millennium Park, which sits justbehind the Chicago Cultural Center at 130 NGarland Ct., and the 64-story 340 on the Park at340 E. Randolph St. on the doorstep of MillenniumPark. “It's now a neighborhood.”

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Brian J. Rogal

Brian J. Rogal is a Chicago-based freelance writer with years of experience as an investigative reporter and editor, most notably at The Chicago Reporter, where he concentrated on housing issues. He also has written extensively on alternative energy and the payments card industry for national trade publications.