San Francisco investors snap up River West apartments for $17.5M

Neighborhood benefits from proximity to buzzy Fulton Market

Rockwell Property Offloads River West Apartments for $17.5 Million
Rockwell's Ted Thilman and 925 West Chicago Avenue (Google Maps, Rockwell)

San Francisco-based investors bought a River West apartment building for $17.5 million last month, underscoring the appeal of neighborhoods surrounding Fulton Market.

Emmett Cunnigham Jr. and Sharon Shaw bought a 36-unit apartment building at 925 West Chicago Avenue from Rockwell Property. The price works out to about $486,000 per unit for the building, which includes ground-floor retail. It has at least one retail tenant, Agaia Coffee & Tea Co. 

The buyers took over the previous mortgage, which was issued for $12.5 million in 2020. It is unclear how much principal was left on the mortgage, however, commercial loans usually require owners to pay interest only over the lifetime of the note before a balloon payment once it reaches maturity. 

The three-story building, known as Germain House, benefits from ongoing growth in neighboring Fulton Market, the only area of the city to escape Chicago’s office downturn. 

Office tenants and developers alike are showing interest in Fulton Market. The 11-story 919 West Fulton Street started construction in November. 

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Some recent sublease activity has signaled that even the city’s buzziest office market might be reaching a saturation point, but multifamily investment is going strong. 

Halfway through 2023, almost 1,400 apartment units were under construction, all slated to be finished by the end of this year.

Available apartments at the Germain House are listed for $1,000 for a studio to $2,900 for a two-bedroom.

The building was owned by Ted Thilman, co-founder and managing principal of Chicago-based Rockwell, before he sold it to Cunningham and Shaw. Cunningham is an ophthalmologist, and Shaw is an optometrist. Shaw and Thilman did not respond to requests for comment. Cunningham was not immediately reachable for comment. 

Rockwell Property is also selling off a larger apartment complex near O’Hare airport, Crain’s reported. The firm hired Newmark to sell the Mont Clare apartments, a 290-unit complex at 7171 West Gunnison Street in Harwood Heights. Although Rockwell unsuccessfully tried to sell the complex over the summer, a representative of the firm told Crain’s that it had been bad timing due to rising interest rates.

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