Downtown development: What's left?

Appraisal Research Counselors‘ Downtown Chicago Residential Benchmark Report for the third quarter of 2009 is out, and the outlook for developers remains a tough one: sales will barely reach the 600 mark by year’s end, and units are only moving after auctions or price cuts of 30 percent or more. (It wasn’t too long ago that ARC was touting the effectiveness of 20-percent reductions.)

As it’s been for some time now, the one piece of good news coming out of the report is that there are less than 1,000 new downtown condos and townhomes slated for delivery in 2010 and 2011, after which the market can finally start reducing inventory instead of taking on excess units.

According to a review of the report by Crain’s Chicago Real Estate Daily, about 900 downtown units will be finished in 2010. Without having the report handy (we should get our summary any day now), I can only guess at where most of those units are located:

Other buildings, like The Legacy, Aqua, 235 Van Buren, and Astoria Tower, have started closing and delivering homes but still have unfinished units on their upper floors. It’s possible that the as-of-yet unfinished portions of these buildings are part of ARC’s 2010 delivery count. Beyond that, there are buildings like the Trio high-rise, Mondial, Museum Park Place South, and the Lexington Park Condominiums tower, where major construction has ended but closings still haven’t begun (and in the case of the first two, may never).

Bringing up the rear in is the 86-unit Ritz-Carlton Residences high-rise planned for 664 N Michigan Ave. Even then, we’re going to need to see a lot more activity at that site within the next few months to consider it a candidate for 2011.

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