Will flat-out hype fall flat at Flats Chicago?

In my experience, when hype runs far ahead of performance in real estate the performance more often than not falls flat. Will that prove to be the case at Flats Chicago, a hyper-active attempt to conjure a positive brand for a group of buildings with troubled histories and sub-par locations?

Flats Chicago has garnered a lot of attention at TimeOut, Chicago Real Estate Daily, mother nature network, the Sun-Times, dnaInfo, and other web venues. What it has yet to do is deliver occupied apartments at any of the Flats buildings, despite having touted openings early this year and, more recently, an April opening at 2500 N Clybourn.

When I spoke with Flats Chicago’s Jay Michael last week he stated that units at 2500 N Clybourn and 7722 N Ashland would be available for occupancy July 1st, but amended that to “early July” later in the call. Michael also reported that a leasing office / model will open the third week of June (this week) at 5411 N Winthrop, “at which time you can pre-lease for 4, possibly 5 of the buildings.”

I visited all of the Flats buildings last week, and saw no activity at several and only modest activity at the others. I’ll look forward to seeing the “rooftop pools” and the “indoor pool, 6,000-square-foot sports club and 4,000-square-foot sky deck” referenced in the Chicago Real Estate Daily piece.


  • IrishPirate 6 years

    Joe, Joe,

    oh ye of little faith.

    Seriously these guys are masters at getting free publicity, but as for actually renovating apartments and leasing them that’s the outstanding question.

    They also are painting the outside of most of their buildings in the lovely color grey as part of their marketing campaign. Personally I don’t like that, but it’s their money. If I wanted to “brand” a series of buildings I would have chosen something less permanent. Maybe sculptures of some type at each building. Hell, even some “cows on parade” type sculpture could have been put at each building. Cheaper and more memorable.

    If they can get the buildings renovated and leased I suspect they will do well. Some of their locations aren’t that “sub-par”. Call them “par-minus” or “sub-par excellente”.

    Since a good chunk of their graying portfolio is in Uptown it’s in my self interest to wish them well.

    So I do. Taking problem buildings and turning them into money making assets and a boon to the community are good things.

  • IP,

    I wish them well too. It’s in everyone’s interest to hope that they’re successful in their efforts to renovate these buildings.

    Hope is one thing. Faith is another, and you’re correct that I have little of it for these projects.

  • the urban politician 6 years

    I also wonder if, as we’ve discussed elsewhere, the city is holding things up. Delays in getting inspections?

  • Link N. Parker 5 years

    I hope that they do move forward with the Clybourn property; I, myself am interested in leasing a unit there. The most recent date I got from Flats Chicago is a November 1 move-in date for that building (works perfectly for me).

    • Soon to be Chicagoan 5 years

      Any word on your move in date? Mine was supposed to be Nov 1, but they told me they couldn’t promise anything because of delays with ComEd. Sitting here impatiently, waiting for news…. 🙁

  • Zorica 5 years

    Wow, you just hate these guys…

    I have been in their units and they are really awesome in comparison to what I have seen in the area…but they are very small! too small for me.

  • Zorica,

    I don’t “hate these guys.” And I don’t understand how a very small apartment can be awesome.

    Two days ago, under a different screen name, you had never been in the units. Were you just there – or just making stuff up?

    The Flats apartments have a superficially attractive finish package – but it takes a lot more than that to have a livable apartment.