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HIGHWOOD, IL-Morningside Group has purchased the 252-unit North Shore Estates apartment community for $14 million. The Chicago-based company acquired the seven-acre property on Sheridan Road from private investment group North Shore Estates LLC. A $5-million redevelopment is planned for the three buildings.

The company expects to begin work on units within the month and renovated apartments are expected to be available for lease this summer. After its redevelopment, the community will be renamed Fort Sheridan Place Apartments.

“It’s in a phenomenal location between Lake Forest and Highland Park right in the heart of downtown between two Metra stations,” Melissa Pittman, project manager with Morningside, tells GlobeSt.com. “People can go shopping and go to restaurants by just walking outside their place. There’s access to the lake and some of our fourth floor units do have views of the lake.”

Pittman says Morningside also believed the property was a sound investment based on its need for renovations. “We saw there was an opportunity because the property needed substantial upgrades and for us to come in and do a gut rehab,” Pittman says. “The structure itself is in very sound condition but the property lends itself very well to doing a tiered renovation and it needs it.”

Morningside plans to renovate the four-story buildings in several phases over the next three years, rehabbing everything down to the dry wall, Pittman says. Work will include updating the units’ interiors and finishes, which haven’t been changed since the buildings’ construction in the 1970s, as well as renovations to the exteriors, balconies, roofs, landscaping and sidewalks.

The company does not expect to vacate any buildings, as it will perform renovations as leases come up and units become vacant. Morningside is prepared to relocate current tenants from old to new units if needed.

The property is currently about 96% leased, Pittman says. It offers one- through three-bedroom units ranging in size from 600 to 1200 square feet, with asking rental rates around $1.13 per square foot. Pittman says Morningside expects to phase in rent increases after the renovations, eventually reaching rates about 35% higher than they are now.

Morningside received $19.2 million in financing to support the property’s acquisition and renovation.

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