Mark Segal: In The Middle Of The Action
The Habitat Co president and CEO Mark Segal (snapped with his mom, Diane) says its latest tower, Hubbard Place in River North (the view, above right), had initial occupancy in October and is already over 55% leased and 45% occupied. So much activity in the middle of winter? (Anything to keep our minds off the snow.) It’s because River North has become the center of the universe, so renters are getting a residential feel with their offices and favorite trendy spots just steps away, Mark says. Looking at supply and demand, he’s encouraged by people and companies’ relocations into the city as the economy gains steam. TOD development has even spread to the outlying neighborhoods (at a lower price point), where there will always be higher aggregate demand for affordable product.
Mark is watching improvements in the single-family market as underwriting requirements ease up but says heavy condo conversion is unlikely the way pricing is today. Habitat continues to look for acquisition opportunities, particularly value-add, but pricing is tough since everyone’s fled core markets to chase yields, he tells us. The firm has a few projects in its affordable housing pipeline, and is looking for its next big tower. Mark doesn’t slow down outside of the office: He’s working on comprehensive immigration reform in Illinois; a non-partisan redistricting program across the state; and advocating for pension reform at the state and city level.