ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Do Parc Huron, EnV prices suggest possibility of condo-to-rental conversions?

by Joe Zekas on 3/15/12

The prices at which two new apartment towers have sold recently raise the question of whether owners in some newer condo buildings could realize higher prices from a rental conversion of their entire building than from the sale of their units individually as condos.

MetLife is reported to have paid $483,000 a unit or a total of $120.2 million for the 249 units at EnV, 161 W Kinzie St in River North. And Chicago Real Estate Daily reported yesterday that the 221-unit Parc Huron, 469 W Huron St, also in River North, is under contract at a price of $110 million, or $498,000 per unit.

EnV’s unit mix consists of studio, 1- and 2-bedroom apartments. Studios and 1-bedrooms dominated the mix. Parc Huron has 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments, the majority of which are 1-bedrooms.

There’s some precedent from the 1980s of condo owners in mid-sized buildings organizing to sell their building in its entirety for conversion to rentals. It would be a daunting organizational challenge to pull off a rental conversion of a condo building of any size, but I have to wonder whether there are buildings in which it would make economic sense for all involved to do so. There’s little doubt that there are condo owners who wish they could become renters of their units rather than owners.

Any candidates?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Vikas Wadhwa March 15, 2012 at 1:46 AM

I think the best candidate for this would be 400 N LaSalle:

- A big chunk of the units are already owned by an investor group and they are currently renting them out
- Great River North location (easily walkable to office buildings in the loop, many transportation options)
- Rents in this building are relatively strong (1 bedrooms rent for $1650 – $2325) (2 Bedrooms rent for $2000+)
- Many of the 1 bedrooms have recently sold for under $250k
- The building was built in 2003 and the finishes i’ve seen in the units are similar to those of The Streeter or other class A apartment buildings

While the rents are probably 20 – 25% cheaper than EnV or Parc Huron, the sale prices are significantly lower than what the new purchasers are paying for the units at EnV and Parc Huron.

The building has seen a lot of distressed sales over the last 2-3 years, but there seems to be some stabilization in the building over the last year.

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urbaneddie March 15, 2012 at 10:02 AM

take my building! actually, i’m near loyola’s lakeshore campus & my dream is that they’ll approach us to buy our building for conversion to dorms like other buildings in area …

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