Condo comeback? JK Equities’ Jerry Karlik predicts rebound in condo market

JK Equities founder Jerry Karlik and renderings of 1000M and 1400 West Monroe Street
JK Equities founder Jerry Karlik and renderings of 1000M and 1400 West Monroe Street

Some four years after it was first proposed, the high-profile 1000M condo tower in the South Loop has yet to break ground.

But that hasn’t soured Jerry Karlik on the Chicago condo market.

Karlik, founder of New York-based JK Equities, recently launched sales on another condo project, this time in the West Loop. And Karlik insists the developments will appeal to the growing number of professionals leaving single-family homes in the suburbs to work Downtown,

“We think the condo market is underserved in Chicago,” said Karlik, who was in town for the REDinCHI event held Thursday at the Hotel Essex. “There is pent-up demand for owning.”

The recession decimated Chicago’s new condo market, halting deliveries and causing some developers to convert projects to apartments, fueling a sustained boom in the city’s rental market.

But the recent success of ultra-luxury, for-sale multifamily projects like Convexity’s 4 East Elm and JDL’s No 9 Walton has reinvigorated the condo market.

The Helmut Jahn-designed 1000M, which JK is developing along with Time Equities and Oak Capitals, was designed to try to capture that luxury market, with units listing for as high as $8.1 million when sales launched in October of 2017.

But the developers pivoted last year and decided to offer a number of micro units in the 74-story tower, with prices starting in the $300,000s for a studio. The change boosted the total number of units in the building at 1000 South Michigan Avenue to 421.

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Such units are a rarity in a new condo market that is geared toward family sized-units at high price points, but Karlik said the units will be attractive to investors and current renters.

JK also has launched sales at 1400 West Monroe Street, joining a surge in new for-sale projects in the West Loop. Units at 1400 Monroe, either two- or three-bedroooms, will be priced from $600,000 to $1.4 million.

Karlik wouldn’t provide sales information for either development. But JK is looking to start construction on 1000M later this year and deliver the project in about three years, a spokesperson said.

It also seeks to break ground on 1400 Monroe this year, with a goal of welcomingresidents 14 months after that.

JK’s new condo projects come amid a massive boom in the multifamily rental market, where the thousands of units delivered each year might still not be enough to meet demand.

But the popularity of rentals could soon work in JK’s favor, Karlik said. With rents increasing, Karlik said there will soon be a point where buying again makes financial sense for young city dwellers.

“Chicago has been a condo market for a very long time,” Karlik said. “The statistics our on our side as far as demand is concerned.”