What does it mean when a Chicago developer moves into his or her own building?

Click for larger imageDid anyone see the fairly fluffy New York Times piece yesterday about developers who decide to live in their own developments? It’s true that buyers become more confident about a building if they know the developer is going to be living there. After all, if the building was a shemozzle, the developer wouldn’t want to call it home, right?

There’s also the belief that if something goes wrong with the building, it’s in the developer’s interests to chase down contractors and get it fixed quickly. That said, you could also argue that a developer moving into his building is a sign that he’s having problems selling the units – after all, we’ve accused The Donald of doing that at Trump Tower.

What do yo’all think? Can you name developers who have moved into one of their own buildings? The New York Times piece interviewed Chicago developer Louis D’Angelo, president of Metropolitan Properties, who moved into the penthouse at his Residences of 330 South Michigan development six years ago, and is now thinking of moving into the penthouse at his latest project, Metropolitan Tower (nice story – apparently D’Angelo’s dad worked in the same space when it was an office building. See the Metro Tower picture we posted here. The ziggurat pyramid at the apex of the building would give D’Angelo 20-foot ceiling heights).

You’d assume that these developers save money by moving into their own buildings, but some of the developers interviewed by the Times said they had business partners who expected them to pay market rate for their homes. The perk was that they got plenty of customization options.
We know that one of the Carley brothers from The Fordham Company lives at The Pinnacle, and many sales agents also buy into developments they sell (wonder if they get a commission for selling to themselves or if they just take a discount?) Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage agent Ralph Oliva, who heads the sales team at The Enterprise Companies’ Museum Park, owns a townhome at Museum Park, for instance.


  • Anon 13 years

    I would love to live at the Metropolitan Tower, especially the pyramid portion of the building.

  • I lived in several of my projects – for a five-year period in one of them.

    The biggest benefit to me was that buyers – except for the ones who were totally whacked – approached me as a neighbor as well as a developer. That defused a lot of the hostility and aggression that typically occur in developer / buyer relationships.

    I did get a deal on the units. Investors and lenders understood the value of having the developer living in the project and committing to a unit early in the game.

    Developers and sales agents sometimes trade off part of their fees for a discounted purchase price when they intend to live in the unit. If done properly, this is a nearly foolproof way to get tax-free income or to turn ordinary income into capital gains.

  • anon 13 years

    The supervisor of the condo conversion at 6030 N. Sheridan Road took over the top floor and made it his own penthouse residence, which becamse a pretty good selling point for the Realtors involved.

  • Supposedly the developers of 1819 S. Michigan are moving into the top floor of this building (4 units). I don’t think any of the units are completely finished yet which is why I say “supposedly”. For me, as a first time buyer, I guess you could say it helped gain my confidence in the building, since this was the developer’s first leap into the mid-rise market.

  • Bruce Abrams of LR Development lived in several of his buildings, one on East Bellevue and one on East Lake Shore Dr.

    To the shock of his many friends, Bruce jumped to his death from the balcony of his LSD home. He’s remembered by many as one of the nicest and most talented humans ever to walk among us.

  • Carter 13 years

    that’s my favorite bjuilding in Chicago, I call it the “Ghostbuster” building – I’d really like to know if you can have parties up in the pyramid so that blue light would be prominent.

  • Nothing says “my building’s is a quality product” like the developer choosing to live in it. This is the ultimate eat-what-you-cook scenario.

    One of the reasons why we bought our first condo in its West Loop location was because the developer lived there.

    As you would expect, the building was built to code and was sturdy. If the building had been a POS, I doubt the developer would have moved in.

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