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This Week's Chicago Deal Sheet

The University of Illinois at Chicago has unveiled a grand vision for its Near West Side campus. School officials said they are ready to build more than a dozen new buildings, along with a new set of student amenities, including an entertainment district, a soccer stadium, an ice-skating rink and a fire pit, according to a Chicago Sun-Times report.

Rendering from the University of Illinois at Chicago's new master plan.

The push to transform the 311-acre campus coincides with efforts to boost enrollment from 32,000 to 35,000, and will take 10 years to fulfill, according to Chancellor Michael Amiridis, who has been at the school’s helm since 2015.

The first five-year phase will bring nine new buildings for a cost of about $1B, and the campus will gain up to six buildings for an undetermined cost in the second phase, he said.  

He expects construction can begin on four projects in the next 18 months. The school will tap a variety of sources for this first phase. The state will directly finance about 25%, about 30% will come from public-private partnerships, 25% from bonds and the rest from donors, the Sun-Times reports.


Two employees from Draper and Kramer’s residential management group have been recognized by the Institute of Real Estate Management. Colleen Needham, general manager of the Lake Meadows rental community in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, has been named IREM Chicago Chapter 23 secretary for 2019. Timothy Kramer, property operations specialist across the firm’s portfolio, was certified as an IREM instructor, the first Draper and Kramer employee to earn the designation.

River City at 800 South Wells


After a long struggle, the deal to sell the River City condominium complex at 800 South Wells St. finally closed just before the first of the year. The River City Condo Association agreed to a bulk sale of all 449 residential units for $90.4M, making it the largest condominium deconversion in Chicago history. A newly formed joint venture among The Wolcott Group, Marc Realty, Ruttenberg Gordon Investments and funds managed by Elliott Management Corp. was the buyer, which plans to transform the building with a full redesign and renovation of the lobby, common areas, residential units and the retail components of the property. Renovations will begin soon, and the new River City Apartments will begin welcoming new residents in March.


Kiser Group brokered a portfolio of 36 units in the Ravenswood neighborhood for $4.5M. The firm’s Rick Ofman represented the buyer, LakePointe Apartments, and Lee Kiser and Danny Logarakis represented the seller. All three buildings, located at 4855 North Hermitage, 4544 North Wolcott and 4616 North Wolcott, were built in the 1960s. 

Lexington Village in the Avondale neighborhood.


Chicago-based Lexington Homes, which is developing five townhome and single-family rowhome communities throughout Chicagoland, has just started selling at Lexington Village at Avondale, a new maintenance-free community of 22 single-family rowhomes with fenced-in yards and private, detached two-car garages in the Avondale neighborhood on Chicago’s Northwest Side. Located at the corner of Karlov and Belmont avenues, the community includes homes with three to four bedrooms and 2½ to 3½ baths. Units are between 2,300 and 2,400 SF, with base prices starting at $535K.


1330 West Fulton St.

Skender completed interior construction of the new 24K SF headquarters for The AZEK Co., a provider of building products. The company relocated to 1330 West Fulton in Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood from its former office in suburban Skokie to accommodate its rapid growth. Its new third-floor open-plan office includes a single porch with pergola and lattice ceiling made from materials produced by AZEK. Skender will also later this month complete a space nearby at 316 North Elizabeth that AZEK will use for product demonstration and vendor training.


Aries Capital completed a $9.2M loan on behalf of a Palm Beach, Florida-based borrower for the acquisition of two shopping centers totaling 138K SF in suburban Oak Lawn. A 65K SF Jewel-Osco grocery store anchors the properties. Aries CEO Neil Freeman originated the transaction and Senior Associate Brandon Perdeck served as the underwriter and closer. The 10-year, fixed-rate loan was structured using a new permanent debt financing program through one of the firm’s capital source relationships. The financing was structured with a 30-year amortization and at a 65.5% loan-to-value ratio.


Chicago’s suburban industrial market remains strong heading into 2019, with tenant demand driving considerable absorption and construction starts, according to a new report from Elk Grove Village, Illinois-based Brown Commercial Group. The vacancy rate has continued to drop as demand rises, particularly in the O’Hare, Northwest and West suburban submarkets. In its fifth consecutive quarter of increasing occupancy, the O’Hare submarket’s vacancy rate is at a new record low of 3.02%, but with developers expected to deliver several new speculative projects in the spring, vacancy levels should rise in 2019. Company officials also expect the new developments to lease up quickly because of the high demand for distribution spaces near the O’Hare airport hub.


HSAwareness, the philanthropic arm of Chicago-based HSA Commercial Real Estate, partnered with Chicago Commons, a nonprofit social service agency that serves families on the South and West Sides, to help provide holiday gifts to local families in need. Chicago Commons identified 10 families within its communities and helped prepare a holiday wish list for each family member, including essential winter clothing items as well as toys and games. The team at HSAwareness, led by HSA Senior Vice President Josephine Thomas-Hoytt wrapped and bagged gifts for 42 individuals to be distributed at Chicago Commons’ Paulo Freire Family Center in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.