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CHICAGO-Smaller units appear to be the way to go for new developments in the South Loop. At least, that’s the experience for developers of a $70-million, 268-unit building at 1400 S. Michigan Ave.

Skokie developer Jacob Bletnitsky’s 1400 S. Michigan LLC includes partners in another condominium at 1250 S. Michigan Ave., a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The partners saw resistance from the market to the larger units, says partner Alex Vaisman, who adds Appraisal Research Counselors also suggested a mix heavy on smaller units.

As a result, new plans call for 60% of the 29-story building at 1400 S. Michigan Ave. to be one-bedrooms, up to 850 sf, priced from $200,000. The rest will be mostly two-bedrooms, averaging $350,000, with a smattering of 3,500-sf penthouses projected to run about $1 million.

“These developers have just finished 1250 S. Michigan so they have experience in this market,” says attorney Caroline Nash, who represents the developers. “They are very confident in this market.”

Plans approved last year called for 210 units in a 24-story building. A 25% increase in the building’s size was achieved with a bonus for a $432,317 contribution to the city’s affordable housing fund. Unchanged in the new plan is the 9,000 sf of ground-floor retail space as well as an Art Deco and modern urban design.

Vaisman says his group hopes to break ground in August, anticipating 80% of the units could be pre-sold by then. After two months of marketing, Vaisman says the development team has signed contracts for 130 units. However, the team needs to buy the southernmost piece of the parcel needed to create the 34,311-sf site, according to a filing with city planners.

“We’ve been working with the developer for over a year and we’re familiar with the development team,” says Bonnie Sanchez-Carlson, president and executive director of the Near South Planning Board. She notes the 303 parking spaces are more than one per unit. “We commend them on that.”

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