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Huzenis Brothers Bet on the Future

Huzenis Brothers Bet on the Future
JRG Capital’s Charlie Huzenis
JRG Capital’s Charley Huzenis and brother Harry recently announced the launch of a new fund to buy development sites, primarily for multifamily projects in core downtown locations. Starting with $30M, they plan to grow the fund and have “patient partners” who expect to hold investments for five to seven years. (He's looking for partners who prefer the long-term companionship of a dog to the quick thrill of a pet fish.) Charley says they could raise $100M if they can find "stuff" to buy. What they haven’t announced is that since ’08, the brothers have also purchased perhaps another $20M in apartments and land suited for future multifamily development from Lake Bluffs to the West Loop.
Cheri Grossman is a principal in JRG
Cheri Grossman is a principal in JRG and Charley tells us that the time is right for the fund to invest in downtown multifamily development. He says that rents are rising 7% to 8% a year and Chicago job growth is solid, even stronger than reported. Values are also on the way up with some River North buildings around the Mart selling at a sub-5% cap rate. Prior to forming JRG, the Huzenis brothers bought a 75k SF site in the West Loop. A former FedEx property with a 40k SF warehouse/distribution center, Charley says it’s a land play for a future development. They also picked up a 47k SF site on W Jackson St zoned for 220 residential units near a new Target store now under construction.
Bob Flannery is another principal of JRG
Bob Flannery (standing in front of what looks like a portal to a new dimension) is another principal of JRG with the Huzenis brothers, whose first big project was 1M SF at 165 N Canal St between Lake and Randolph. In the ‘90s, they turned the site of Northwestern Railroad offices into 350 condos, 50k SF of offices, and 50k SF of retail. They ran Jameson Realty for 26 years until ’08, when they sold a 75% interest to Sotheby’s International. With Sotheby’s, they’re now selling the last nine of 34 condos at 50 Chestnut St. Charley says the last two closings were for $3.2M and $3.1M. A couple more sales and he tells us, “we’re out of the bank.” Steady as she goes, during the recession the Huzenis guys never missed a loan payment, lost a building, or sought bankruptcy protection.