Yo's year: South Loop on the auction block

Individual posts on Roosevelt Collection, Pure, and The Silver District pulled in lots of page views this year, but one story really set the tone for 2009.

In early March, Accelerated Marketing Partners auctioned off 45 condos at Vetro, Roszak / ADC’s 31-story, 232-unit high-rise at 611 S Wells St in the South Loop. Sales totaled more than $12 million, with homes selling at an average price of $258 a square foot, or 27 percent less than their pre-auction prices. Following the auction, Vetro’s Baird & Warner sales team rolled out reductions of 19 to 25 percent on the tower’s remaining homes.

For months after, we’d hear agents frame their observations on the downtown market in terms of “before Vetro” and “after Vetro.” Some expected the auction floodgates to open up immediately after, but for most of the year we only noticed new rounds of price reductions in the South Loop and West Loop. For example, Winthrop Properties cut prices at Printers Corner (located just south of Vetro) and sold 17 homes in two months. “The lesson here, and my advice for other developers, is to find a way that you can quantify for people what your product is worth…the auction proved to people that others were buying and gave them that boost of confidence they needed,” Winthrop principal Bob Horner told GlobeSt.com. Metropolitan Tower, Marquee, 1555 Wabash, and R+D659 all rolled out discounted prices in the following months.

The auctions finally returned to the South Loop on Nov. 15, when buyers spent almost $16 million on more than 60 new condos at Michigan Avenue Tower II and Motor Row Lofts.

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