Village Green Bent On Downtown Domination
Multifamily giant Village Green will soon own or manage 11 high-rises strategically located throughout downtown Chicago, and CEO Jon Holtzman tells us it's targeting a demographic that’s grossly underserved. (Unlike those of you partaking in Mardi Gras celebrations last night.)
Who could possibly be underserved, given all the handwringing about downtown’s apartment oversupply, you ask? Recent grads who want to live downtown but need rents that won’t hinder the payment of student loans, he says. The nearly 100-year-old company’s latest acquisition, the 147-unit 860 N DeWitt (built in the ‘60s) in the Gold Coast, will be rehabbed and rebranded to serve that market, featuring smaller floor plans and outsized amenities. Like the rest of Village Green’s portfolio, it will also focus on corporate housing, Jon adds. (With one building per neighborhood, something’s bound to be walkable to the office and some froyo.)
The 22nd floor outdoor Sky Park (above) will include a green wall, fire pit, LED movie wall (just be careful what you decide to watch in the open air), and kitchen. Cosmetic improvements should be complete in a year. The PrivateBank provided creative financing, Jon says, given the deal was a more complex land lease, meaning Village Green purchased the building but makes payments to a land trust that owns the site. Its recipe for lease-up with young professionals: a transit-oriented location (just off Michigan Avenue and Oak Street Beach); efficient spaces with the latest fits and finishes; and amenities like concierge services.
Village Green will soon announce another high-rise under management in a new neighborhood (our guess is the West Loop), along with development and management deals in the works. You can’t think “if you build it they will come,” Jon says. The success of the firm’s Randolph Tower and MDA City Apartments (above) in the Loop was due to innovative amenities and rents for those priced out of the booming luxury market. Smaller floor plans (it's done 435 SF) are key. When condos come back, their developers will target renters paying up to $4,000/month for two- and three-bedroom units, he says. Since Jon doesn’t get enough risk in real estate, he also races historic cars.