Monday, August 12, 2013

FLATS Starts Interior Renovation On 1325 W. Wilson

Lots of activity at the future home of FLATS' No. 1325 (W. Wilson). A chute extends up the side of the building to the 12th floor and the former outdoor area of Fontana Grill has been surrounded by plywood during the construction process. We know at least one of the retail spaces will be home to Heritage Outpost, a smaller version of Heritage Bicycle. We are excited to see this building get back some of the grandeur of days long gone. For those of you wondering, it will not be painted gray.


  1. I'm glad they're not planning to paint it gray. That part of their their business plan was and is silly.

    If they want to "brand" there are other less expensive and less destructive ways to do it. Sculpture in front of every building? Perhaps russle up some cows from the "Cows on Parade" and deploy them strategically in front of every building.

    The first one is free guys. Any other ideas will cost you.

    "Chicago's on Fire with Flats". Then deploy versions of Mrs O'Leary's cow painted with the Flats logo at all of their properties.

  2. We had a conversation about the FLATS -- this company is renovating and charging high "downtown" rents in the $1000-1300 range for a one bedroom. I think the company and others will be surprised when their buildings don't fully occupy, because this area is not a $1000-1300 rent area. For that amount, people are going to buy instead.

    1. Downtown rents are generally much higher than that.

      As for people buying if someone plans to be in the same general location for three or more years buying may very well make sense.

      As for FLATS there does seem to be some activity going on at some of their properties. Maybe they got their permits and/or construction loans.

      When they're purchasing properties that cost multiple million dollars it's clear that they have access to cash. I doubt they're buying their properties on credit cards.

      Now perhaps FLATS is overestimating the potential for rents in Uptown. Time will tell. As long as they promise NOT to paint any more of their buildings gray I will wish them good luck.

      I see from UU's Facebook page that the Wilson Men's Hotel is for sale.

      Lotsa changes goin on in Uptown. Stay tuned to UU for further Updates because there's surely more good news to come.....and don't call me Shirley.

    2. I used to rent a one-bedroom in a nice high-rise in Buena Park. That's in Uptown, BTW. By the time I moved, I was paying over $1000 a month in rent. You know when I moved outta there? 1999. Flats is not bringing any radical price changes to Uptown.

      You know what they say, if you don't like gay marriage, don't marry someone gay. Same thing: If you don't like Flats, don't rent from them.

    3. Exactly Truman, if people don't like Flats prices maybe they won't rent. But like you pointed out, when you get right down to it, people may decide that the rent is reasonable compared to what you'd get in other North Side communities. Especially as Uptown seems to be on an up-swing. I still can't get over the quote from Flats - "We're not gentrifiers as much as we are Brooklynizers." That pretty much says it all. Furthermore Lianna, if they can't reach capacity at their desired price, I'm sure they will adjust. Supply and demand. But they might as well try considering how much they are investing n Uptown.

  3. Wait, I thought that Heritage was going into the Lawrence House, not this building. That's what the Crain's story implied, anyway.

    Also, $1000-1300 is considerably cheaper than comparable units downtown.

    1. We have been told they are opening a total of 3 "Heritage Outposts" in their Uptown properties, including Lawrence House.

  4. I read this blog all the time, and 98% of the time, I just laugh to myself when people start complaining about one thing or another - can't make all the people happy all the time, right? But sometimes, people are just so blatantly uninformed that I feel like I have to say something. This is one of those times.

    Just so we're all on the same page - getting a "downtown" one bedroom for $1,000 - $1,300 would be a miracle. Even the new "Pizza Hut Tower" at Ashland & Division (which is clearly NOT downtown) has studios starting at $1,500. Studios. One Bedrooms at the "Tides" in Lakeshore East (which I would consider "downtown-ish") start at $2,000 and one bedrooms at the new building at 1225 N Wells start at $2,300. So, looking at that, I could save at least 50% of my rent expenses every month over those places, be just a few minutes via walking/cab/bus from great restaurants, bars, theaters, Target, other amazing neighborhoods, the red line, LSD, the lake, and 20-30 minutes from downtown, etc. And, if someone is able to buy for less than $1,000/mo (assuming 80/20, that works out to $33,000 down in cash, plus about a $130k mortgage @ 5% + taxes + assessments, not including maintenance) - GREAT! The neighborhood needs more owners to take pride in the community.

    How about we leave the real estate and neighborhood planning decisions up to the people who know what their doing - if they flop, they flop, but my god, be thrilled that someone is trying! Would you rather the building collapse because of poor maintenance, or be a breeding ground for the gangs??!! It makes me think of Rachel Shtier's article about Chicago in the NY Times a few months ago - if you hate it here so much, and see so little chance of improvement and betterment of our neighborhood, and our property values - MOVE! The suburbs are calling. Lincoln Park is calling. Oh, by the way - you can expect rents in Lincoln Park to be much more expensive - sorry! The rest of us will stay here and enjoy what is shaping up to be arguably one of the most dramatic neighborhood turnarounds in the city, outside of possibly the area where Cabrini Green used to be.

    Let's look at the facts - these are just the things in the pipeline, not the stuff already done like the Wilson Yard development, work at Truman, streetscaping, etc.:

    A new $200M train station @ Wilson.
    The new development at Maryville (once everyone is done beating the developer to death).
    Being one of Mayor Emanuel's "focus neighborhoods" for $4B of investment.
    A little west, but the new Mariano's, LA Fitness and train station at Ravenswood.
    At least half a dozen problem buildings like Lawrence House being redeveloped into MARKET RATE apartments.

    That's just off the top of my head. I'm thrilled about all of this. Be HAPPY, people. Happiness is SO much more powerful than anger, spite or second-guessing and it adds years to your life. Complaining only makes you look bitter.

    If you can't do that, get involved, be the change you want to see in the world. Remember - if you don't have anything nice to say... run for office.

    That is all. Thanks for listening :-)

    1. Yeah, what Bret said......yeah. Come on get happy.

      I don't think some of the folks who post here realize how significant the changes going on in Uptown are. Or perhaps they do and are being disingenuous regarding their feelings toward said changes.

      Between Flats, Maryville, the Men's Hotel, the Lawrence House and a myriad of smaller developments we're talking 1500 or more units being built or renovated to market rate housing. That's not even counting the stuff going on in the north end of Lakeview.

      We're at the beginning of an upturn in the real estate cycle and these cycles typically last 6 or more years. The last upturn lasted from 1994 to 2006 or so.

      We have an alderman who doesn't have a problem staring down the problematic community groups and the remnants of the Shillerista horde when it comes to developing properties. He's astute enough to realize that while development won't in and of itself solve all of Uptown's problems it is one hell of a giant step in the right direction.

      As for the Wilson Men's Hotel the adjacent property owners, including the CTA, should be working to appropriately upzone their respective properties. That is one hell of a location for a mid rise building or if a large enough property can be put together even a shortish high rise.

      Picture a tower which straddles Broadway and goes to "Blood Alley" or even beyond. Yes, I realize the El is there, but the EL can be built over and around. IIT did some interesting work with their property and the Green Line off 35th.

      Bloody Alley could be sold to a developer. If JPUSA owns the land under their well run and wonderful asset to the community ,Cornerstone shelter, it may be time to think of selling. If they plan to survive the likely tsunami of lawsuits coming their way over sex abuse allegations they better start planning now.

      My guess is that their planning will largely consist of prayer and more prayer. Time will tell but in the words of my celtic ancestors:

      Alea iacta est-the dye has been cast.

  5. . . . I thought Heritage Bikes/Coffee was going in the Lawrence House building?

  6. It looks like there is some kind of investment/partnership between Heritage Bikes and Flats...

  7. Brett & IP, quit trying to confuse things with facts.