22 Jan 72-condo project slated for West Loop
Hubbard Street Dance is capitalizing on the West Loop development boom, selling its headquarters in the neighborhood to developers that plan 72 condominiums there.
Belgravia Group and JRG Capital Partners have acquired the property at 1147 W. Jackson Blvd., the dance company’s home since 1998. The firms plan to start marketing condos in their project in the next couple of weeks and aim to break ground this fall, said Belgravia co-CEO Jonathan McCulloch.
Though apartments have been the flavor of choice for most residential developers in the West Loop, Belgravia has found a sweet spot in the condo market by building mid-sized projects that appeal to families and empty-nesters. Over the past eight years, the firm has built five projects in the West Loop under its CA brand, which features large units, most with three bedrooms and three bathrooms, McCulloch said.
“There’s a great following and great demand for these style of homes,” he said. “You’re really hitting two major demographic groups with this product and price point.”
Belgravia plans to list the condos, which will average about 2,150 square feet, in the low to mid $800,000 range, he said.
“They’ve got this model, and it works,” says Gail Lissner, managing director in the Chicago office of Integra Realty Resources, an appraisal and consulting firm. “They’ve definitely been the most prolific (condo) developer in the West Loop” over the past several years.
Belgravia, founded by veteran developer David “Buzz” Ruttenberg, is teaming up on the project with JRG, another Chicago-based firm led by longtime figures in the local real estate market, Harry and Charlie Huzenis.
It’s unclear where Hubbard Street Dance plans to move. A spokeswoman for the dance company, which put its 53,000-square-foot building up for sale more than three years ago, did not immediately return a call. McCulloch declined to say how much his development venture paid for the property.
Belgravia is rolling out the West Loop project as prepares to break ground on another development, Triangle Square Condos, a 66-unit building at 1701 W. Webster St., close to the Lincoln Yards development. Buyers have signed contracts for 16 condos in the project so far, McCulloch said.
The seven-story West Loop development, called CA6, is permissible under current zoning for the site, though the developers must seek a special-use permit to include first-floor parking in the project, McCulloch said.
The development illustrates the steady upward march of construction costs in Chicago. It will cost more than $60 million to build, which works out to about $190 per square foot, McCulloch said. Belgravia’s last CA project, across from McDonald’s headquarters, cost $160 per square foot, and its first one, at Carpenter and Aberdeen streets, cost $120 per square foot, he said.
Construction materials and labor costs have risen dramatically over the past eight years or so, as development has picked up. Back then, construction firms were willing to accept very low profit margins because they “just wanted to get back to work,” McCulloch said. Today, “everybody’s busy.”
But Belgravia has managed to maintain its profit margins by raising prices on its condos. The average unit at CA6 will be offered at about $440 per square foot, McCulloch said, versus $425 per square foot for units in its last CA project.
Belgravia didn’t pay a high-priced branding consultant to come up with the name. CA stands for Carpenter and Aberdeen, the location of its first project, CA23, in the West Loop with big units.
“People kept calling us and saying, ‘Do you have more CAs?’” and the name stuck, McCulloch said.
The Hubbard Street Dance site is a “tweener location, ” between the employment centers of the Illinois Medical District and the Fulton Market neighborhood, Lissner said. It’s also close to Skinner West Elementary School, a big plus for young families, and has an “enormous amenity” right next door: a Target store.
“There’s nothing like living next to a Target for convenience,” she said.