Chicago’s Latest Standard in Luxury Apartments

August 13, 2015 | By JD Eaton
Reading Time: 2 Minutes

With over 6,000 units coming to market in the coming year, Chicago is en route for one of the largest influx of rental inventory in history. This starts to raise some concern for many stabilized, established buildings on how to both maintain the price per square foot and also stay competitive with the latest cultural trends of renting in the city.

To understand the current trend, we must go back to the benchmark of the Post-Recession era, 500 N LSD. When these Streeterville apartments hit the Chicago market in May 2013, the product had never been seen before in a rental building. The NYC based developer, Related, spared no expense with 29,000sf of resort-like amenities, custom Italian Snaidero designed kitchens, hardwood floors throughout, soft-close toilet seats, and a Distributed Antenna System for cellphone reception. Related’s first tap into the Chicago market raised the bar, but stayed competitively priced compared to the pre-recession buildings. This really set the stage for the level of expectation for the refined renter.

When you have such a bar set like this, it really puts some owners of slightly older buildings to the test. Some pre-recession properties have taken a more extreme approach than some others when it comes to renovation to stay on top of the demand curve. For example, Atwater Apartments opened in 2009. Like the majority of these developments of its time, the standard luxury finish package was typically carpet throughout with a natural wood toned cabinetry accompanying with dark granite countertops. At the young age of six years old, Atwater has gone through an extensive list of renovations within the units and a full rehab of the lobby and amenity spaces to stay on par with new construction expectations. It’s going to be interesting to see how other pre-recession era buildings take on the new market and apply themselves to control their own destiny throughout the coming years.

It certainly is fascinating in general on how the high-rise society wishes to live and continue to evolve within the 21st century. Which begs the question, what’s going to be the next trend in the coming years?

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