Chicago real estate titans throw Biden fundraisers, Sterling Bay office projects get green light: Daily digest

A daily round up of Chicago real estate news, deals and more for September 20, 2019.

Sep.September 20, 2019 10:00 AM

Every day, The Real Deal rounds up Chicago’s biggest real estate news, from breaking news and scoops to announcements and deals. We update this page throughout the day, starting at 10 a.m. Please send any tips or deals to [email protected]

The median price of a Chicago home sold in August was $289,900, up 3.5 percent year over year, according to Illinois Realtor data cited by Crain’s. Still, the number of sales is falling. Sales were down 7.7 percent year over year, with just 2,543 homes sold in August. [Crain’s]

New York-based Melohn Group has put a 24-story office tower in the Loop on the market for about $145 million ($255 a square foot). The firm paid about $135 million for the tower in 2013 and spent nearly $40 million on renovations, meaning it looks poised to take an overall loss on the property, according to Real Estate Alert. [REA]

The Chicago Planning Commission gave the green light to a few large developments by Sterling Bay. The developer’s 18-story office tower at 1000 W. Carroll Avenue and 11-story office project at 345 N. Morgan St. were approved. Sterling Bay will pay $7.62 million into the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund. [Curbed]

Former VP Joe Biden attended three private fundraisers in Chicago, and it was full of real estate people. On Thursday, Biden first spoke to supporters at the downtown residence of billionaire casino and real estate figure Neil Bluhm. He then went to the Streeterville home of philanthropists Sharyl and Mike Mackey before hitting up Thad Wong, head of residential brokerage @properties. [Sun-Times]

Alderman Robert Maldonado reintroduced an ordinance aimed at limiting gentrification along the 606 Bloomingdale Trail. Though Alderman Daniel La Spata said fees imposed on developers — up to $650,000 per project — would be reduced, it didn’t happen. Maldonado’s bill is identical to the original 2017 ordinance. At least eight aldermen are co-sponsoring the measure. [Block Club]

Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman (Credit: Getty Images)

Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman (Credit: Getty Images)

Steve Schwarzman is also puzzled by WeWork’s valuation. The Blackstone Group co-founder, whose massive real estate company is worth “a few billion dollars,” said WeWork’s business model is tied to the health of the economy — which is fine, until “the world collapses.” “I sort of went, what? How do you get this?” he said Wednesday of WeWork’s pre-IPO value. “It doesn’t seem right to me given what they’re doing.” In recent days, WeWork’s valuation has fallen from $47 billion to $15 billion. [Bloomberg]

Rent reform is propelling a new wave of New York and California investors to Miami (Credit: iStock)

Rent reform is propelling a new wave of New York and California investors to Miami (Credit: iStock)

Rent reform is sending multifamily investors south. New York’s sweeping rent-reform law passed in June dialed back landlords’ ability to increase rents. Illinois and California are following suit, so some landlords are looking to South Florida for investment opportunity. Beyond the appeal of not having rent regulation, the Sunshine State has a strong rental market and low supply. [TRD]

Sales of existing homes were up 1.3 percent in August, surprising economists. Sales were expected to fall 1.1 percent. Economists say the uptick, the first year-over-year gain in 17 months, is a sign that low mortgage rates are luring buyers to the market. [WSJ]

Some real estate investors worry that the rise of telecommuting spells trouble for expensive cities like New York. A survey of 23,000 new home shoppers last year found that 30 percent work from home at least part-time and 13 percent are full-time telecommuters. [NYT]

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