Bridgeport Station riding on fast track

Tandem Developers was a pioneer in Bridgeport when the local builder opened Union Lofts, the first residential loft project in a neighborhood with little development besides scattered single-family homes. In doing that project, Tandem partners Paul Marks and Paul Dincin attained an intimate knowledge of the community – and a long list of prospective buyers.
Both of these elements proved pivotal in the early success of Bridgeport Station, which unlike the neighboring White Sox, emerged a winner on its opening day, April 3.

“We probably had 20 to 30 people who were waiting over three hours until we opened on Saturday morning,” said Paul Marks, a principal in Tandem Developers. That first day, Tandem took reservations on 40 of the 66 condos that will comprise the new-construction building. Most of those reservations already have been converted into contracts, Marks said, and at press time, Bridgeport Station was more than half sold.

That quick success means Tandem can start construction sooner than scheduled, once the city issues permits. First occupancy is scheduled for late ’05 or spring of ’06.

Part of the strong turnout at Bridgeport Station, located at 35th and Morgan, comes from the near sellout at Tandem’s Union Lofts, next door. At press time, only six two-bedroom lofts, priced from the $280s to the $360s, remained for sale at Union. In developing that project, Marks and Dincin saw a demand for affordable condos in the neighborhood, and they collected a long list of buyers who liked the location but couldn’t afford the remaining two-bedrooms there.

Bridgeport Station, where new-construction “lofts” ranged from the $150s to the $290s during the grand opening, was designed with those buyers in mind. The units have one to two bedrooms, one or two baths and 735 to 1,160 square feet. The four-story building was designed by architects FitzGerald Associates and offers 22 floor plans. Units have private balconies or terraces, ceramic baths, GE appliances, red oak floors, spiral ductwork, ceiling heights of 10 feet and many skyline views.

Prices on remaining units range from the $170s to the $290s, according to Sandi Lent, a partner in Garrison Partners, exclusive marketing agent for the development. The building will have 63 indoor parking spaces priced at $22,000 each and a limited number of outdoor spaces for $15,000 each.

Most of the buyers so far have been from the Southwest Side community, Marks said, though Bridgeport Station also is drawing from far beyond the neighborhood’s boundaries. Bridgeport, known chiefly as a blue-collar port of entry and the heart of Democratic politics in Chicago, was the fastest appreciating housing market in the city last year, according to the Chicago Association of Realtors. The average sales price from homes in the neighborhood rose to $322,500, up 70 percent over the 2002 average of $190,000.

“Appreciation in the neighborhood has occurred because it was not valued consistently with other neighborhoods of its caliber,” Marks said. “That discovery process has taken place in the last five years. Our project and (developer Tom) Snitzer’s Bridgeport Village alone have brought incredible interest in the community – and appreciation that was long overdue.”

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