The Vetro auction is turning out to be one of the big water-cooler topics of early 2009. At least it seems that way from inside the echo chamber of local real-estate bloggers and professionals — whether the event actually set new expectations and benchmarks for prospective buyers is another story.
A few familiar faces show up in today’s Trib to reflect on the auction. Vetro reduced prices across the board last week, but despite the paper’s headline — “Condo auction a wake-up call” — it doesn’t look like everyone in the neighborhood is ready to follow suit.
“The market is speaking. The market has adjusted. What we tried to do here is figure out what people are willing to pay in a declining market. It was our choice to accept that but other developers don’t have to accept that. We got less than we wanted to, there’s no question.”
“This was not a typical sale transaction so they do sell at prices that are lower than the level typically set for the market. (But) It does set a floor for the market.”
“There’s certainly a segment of people who say ‘if I can buy at 75 cents on a dollar, it’s a great thing.’ But there’s a certain segment of people that say ‘if they can sell at 75 cents on the dollar, why wouldn’t they sell for 50 cents on the dollar?'”
– Alan Lev, president of Belgravia Group. Belgravia has resisted reductions at its developments, going so far as to offer price guarantees to buyers at 565 Quincy, located a few blocks northwest of Vetro.
“People don’t even believe it when you’re doing well. Look, we’re not kidding. We’re doing well. We’re negotiating but it’s not any deep discounts, and it’s helped us.”
– Emerald sales manager Joe Dupor. In a press release issued after Vetro’s auction, Emerald developer Bill Senne promised to hold prices steady at his West Loop development.
“The people buying in your building are your best referral source, so you want to take care of them. They’re going to talk about it with their friends. You want to respect them at all cost.”
• Vetro rolls out post-auction prices (March 13)
• Emerald makes sales, gets new retail tenants (March 12)
• George Schultz on R+D659 and “The New Loop” (March 12)
• Price guarantees at 565 Quincy (Sept. 13)