King of the FSBO holdouts: Three years and counting for a Gotham Loft

Gotham Lofts, Chicago

Although Redfin tracks units for sale by owner, I normally don’t include these homes in my own searches and number-crunching. They’re fun to look at from time to time, for novelty value if nothing else.

Take, for example, this 1,100 square-foot loft at Gotham Lofts, 417 S Jefferson St in the West Loop. Unit 309 went on the market as a FSBO on Nov. 30, 2007, and hasn’t left. The unit’s 1,111 consecutive days on market is the longest market time for any FSBO in the downtown area, as far as I can tell.

The owner describes the two-bedroom / two-bath home, priced at $319,900, as a “stunning soft loft” with an “efficient and intelligent layout,” “generously sized” bedrooms, a full-amenity kitchen with oversized breakfast bar, and custom Hunter Douglas window treatments.

Back in 2009, an 09-tier unit in the building sold in the $320s; last year, another sold in the $280s. The median sale price for the whole development (which includes the building at 420 S Clinton St) over the past three years has been down in the $240s.

If you look at the rest of the listings at Gotham Lofts, you won’t find anything else priced in the $300s. In fact, the most expensive home on the MLS is a two-bedroom / two-bath with 155 more square feet, priced at $275,000. Nothing’s been on the market for more than 195 days, and the average time on market is closer to 103 days.

Fifield Realty and FitzGerald Associates Architects adapted the two brick-and-timber buildings in the late ’90s to accommodate 188 lofts. Pre-construction prices ranged from $89,900 to $179,900 for the 670 to 1,350 square-foot units. By early 1999, as the project neared closeout, prices ranged from the $110s to $280s for remaining two-bedroom units.

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