Chicago'' s Largest Condo Deconversion Signals Post-Recession Push To Rent

Condominium owners in a prominent Chicago neighborhood voted to transform their building back to houses, the latest move of its kind as more infant boomers and millennials pick leasing over owning in the wake of the Great Economic crisis.

A second vote was the charm for ESG Kellen, the New York-based multifamily ownership group that won approval by the condo owners of 1400 N. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago to purchase out their units for an estimated cumulative $111.7 million to convert back into apartments.

About 85.8 percent of the owners of the 398-unit landmarked structure ignoring Lake Michigan concurred late Tuesday to the deal, which adds about a 42 percent premium to the recent per-square-foot list price of private systems, according to Crain’s Chicago Organisation.

The offer is the largest up until now in the country’s third-biggest city in a growing list of deconversions, a complex and prolonged treatment to get condo owners to consent to offer their systems to a single purchaser who then transforms them into houses for lease. At least 75 percent of owners in a condominium building should enact favor of a sale in order to require it through, according to Illinois state law.

Over the two years ended July 15, there have been more than 20 deconversions, mainly in the city’s most popular communities, such as Old Town, Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast, according to James Hanson, principal of capital markets at Avison Young.

“The market economics drive these deals,” Hanson said. At a time when individuals, both child boomers and millennials, appear to choose renting over owning houses, the multifamily market has blown up. In Chicago alone, considering that the economic crisis a decade back drove down house rates, more than 72,000 home units have been included.

Deconversions become a much better alternative than constructing new apartment or condos because the expenses of new construction can be prohibitively high and offered site are limited, Hanson said. Converting an apartment structure to apartment or condos can save more than $100,000 per door, according to Avison Young.

“Deconversions tend to take place in older buildings where particular physical systems are reaching the end of their useful lives and have to be replaced, with owners possibly facing big assessments,” Hanson stated. “Many people are stating if I can sell my unit for a 25 percent to 40 percent premium and prevent writing this big check, I’m going to do it.”

The treatment is not typical in numerous other parts of the country because it is primarily disallowed, Hanson stated.

In Florida, a condominium termination law that was passed in 2007 ended up being a lightning rod to lots of house owners, requiring the state to modify the law several times given that. Before 2007, each homeowner in a building needed to concur before a conversion happened. Today, the law has been fine-tuned to say that 5 percent can block a building sale.

In 2015 some condo owners at The Paramount at Lake Eola in Orlando were forced to offer their systems after Boston-based Northland Investment Corp. acquired the 16-story structure for about $65.2 million, inning accordance with the Orlando Guard.

It wasn’t easy for ESG’s efforts at 1400 N. Lake Coast Drive in Chicago, a 1920 building that lies in the heart of the Gold Coast and actions far from the storied Spectacular Mile that is Michigan Opportunity’s retail mecca. A vote two weeks ago narrowly beat the procedure.

Today’s nod came after ESG cleaned up confusion on the arrangement and included a caveat that if an owner voted versus it, extra payments used for things like renovation costs would not be given, according to Crain’s. The transaction could close as quickly as this year or in the beginning of 2019.

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