ChicagoFar North

A first look inside Edgewater’s Flats No. 5411

by Joe Zekas on 3/27/14

Yesterday I walked through the common areas and an occupied apartment at Flats No. 5411, 5411 N Winthrop in Edgewater, at the invitation of one of the residents.

There’s a fitness room adjacent to the furnished lobby. The fitness room was comparable to what I’ve seen in similar-sized buildings.

The resident told me that the bike storage room promised months ago is still not available. The resident also reported that the building was without hot water for a month and other residents moved into the building without having been informed of that.

The vending machine adjacent to the knotty-pine paneled elevator dispenses Playboy condoms and überlube in addition to soda and snacks.

The resident’s apartment had a number of problems, including air seepage around a noisy through-the-wall heating and air conditioning unit, floor boards beginning to separate, a half-enclosed shower that leaks water onto the bathroom floor and poor sound insulation between units. Floors in the unit were off level, as they were in the common hallway. The resident’s take was that construction quality was shoddy and completed by inadequately-trained personnel who didn’t fully understand what needed to be done. Everything I saw led me to agree, and I wondered what problems might surface with warm, wet weather.

The apartment’s kitchen and bath finishes were reasonably attractive. Living and sleeping space was limited, but that’s part of the Flats approach. There was an in-unit washer / dryer, an uncommon feature in this type of building.

Flats is promising April 15 and May delivery for apartments in the currently unoccupied north half of the building. A truckload of drywall was being delivered to that part of the building while I was there, an indication that meeting the promised delivery dates will be challenging.

My overall take was that Flats No. 5411 would be a decent product if it had been executed better, but pricey for the amount of space and the neighborhood. Larger units can be found in buildings with more amenities for the same or less rent in more attractive neighborhoods – albeit lacking the in-unit washer / dryer.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sally U. March 27, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Hmmm…I’ve been to this building to visit a friend that lives in a studio. She actually really loves living there and keeps pushing me to move in when they open more units. Not once did she mention not having hot water. That claim seems a bit puffed. I follow what you post often and really, you just love to bitch & moan about every Flats building that it’s starting to seem like more than just observations and that you’re personally insulted by them. As a long time Edgewater resident I’m really glad these buildings are being revived. And that more people like myself are moving into these buildings & my neighborhood. I hope they keep it up and that my friends keep moving closer to me!

Reply

Joe Zekas March 27, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Sally U,

I note that you’re not disputing anything I personally observed.

One of the things I try to do here is warn people about inflated claims and broken promises.

I’ve focused repeatedly on Flats Chicago because it’s demonstrated a level of hype and failure to deliver that I’ve rarely seen in the many years I’ve followed Chicago real estate.

Another reason for my focus on Flats is that other media have simply regurgitated the company’s hype. I’m trying to supply a reality-check.

I’m also glad when buildings are revived, even more so when they’re done well.

Reply

Guest March 28, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Sally, this is a balanced take about an individual resident’s experience with Flats. We all want buildings to be rehabbed, but we should expect them to at least be done to code.

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Guest 2 March 28, 2014 at 1:08 PM

To be balanced you have to have both sides of a story. In order for this to be balanced the author would need to include “I contacted the flats for a comment and they said….” or “I reached out to the flats for a comment and did not receive a response.” Or maybe, “I attempted contact other residents regarding the water….”. Claiming to not have hot water for a month is a big claim to at least not cross reference. Let’s not make this more than it is…a blog post. I agree with the author that there has been a lot of hype and they have not delivered on that hype. In order for me to believe this story the wild claims would at least be substantiated with facts beyond the unnamed “resident” you spoke with.

Reply

Joe Zekas March 28, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Guest 2,

Last June Flats Chicago’s Jay Michael told me that units would be ready for occupancy at 2500 N Clybourn by early July. As of two weeks ago they still weren’t ready for occupancy. Jay had to have known at the time that what he was telling me was not true. He’s repeatedly made statements to various media outlets that he had to have known were untrue at the time he made them.

I’m at a loss to understand how calling a serial liar is necessary for my post “to be balanced.”

I verified everything I reported from the resident by personal observation, except for the hot water claim. Readers can attach whatever weight they want to the fact that I didn’t contact other residents about it.

Reply

June July 7, 2014 at 10:57 PM

I am a current tenant at 5411. I would advise anyone to stay the heck away from renting anything from FLATS. I have a chain of emails that I can share if you need proof of what I’m currently going through with these place. Everyone that I’ve talked to in the building are having some sort of issues. Most of us are trying to get out of our leases by taking them to court for constructive eviction…it’s miserable to live in this place. The material they used to renovate this building are complete crap. Everything are calling apart (ceilings, bathroom, peeling floor, wifi issues, walls are paper thin) and many more. STAY AWAY FROM THEM. I thought BJB was bad but I’d rather stay in BJB teeny tiny 11 W Division units for that outrageous $1100 than staying at any of the FLATS.

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