Real Estate Meets BRAVO
Move over, Housewives. Micro living guru and Cedar Street Co partner Jay Michael made his BRAVO debut this week on new Chicago reality show 100 Days of Summer.
“Everyone tells you not to do reality TV,” Jay (second from right) tells us about the show, which follows the lives of six Chicago friends during the only season they can leave the house without a coat. But the personal and professional gain has paid dividends, especially for a tangible business like real estate. Jay has 500 units of Cedar Street’s FLATS brand of apartments coming to market in March, so the show’s timing and focus on his buildings is impeccable from a lease-up perspective. Just last week at his gym, the check-in guy inquired about moving into FLATS after seeing commercials for the show.
“People consider BRAVO a guilty pleasure, but I’m willing to be in front of that audience,” says Jay, a new convert to the network who has “suddenly found himself caring about Lisa Vanderpump.” The network draws the same demographic that FLATS is targeting, so why not use it as a platform? (Above is a model unit.) The idea goes with Jay’s philosophy that real estate is a stale market, and people need to spend more time and energy to give it a sexy and stylish facelift. In addition to brand awareness, the show sent Jay on a bit of a soul-searching mission, giving some unexpected and valuable insight into his personality and priorities. (Even we could tell he works too much in the first episode.)
Jay moved into FLATS’ project at 5411 N Winthrop last month, and he’s had fun being the guinea pig and surveying residents. While he thinks there’s a definite glut of luxury rentals, Cedar Street is building FLATS around debt and buying failed projects at the bottom. They expect to have 700 to 900 open and occupied units around the North Side by the end of this year (800 to 900 more by year-end 2015), with some major pushes beginning this summer. As for us, we’ll be tuning in again next week to see more interactions between Jay, his hilarious housekeeper, and his dog (above).