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Crain’s Chicago Business January 16, 2015 Article

Residential developer pounces on big South Loop parcel

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A group led by Colin Kihnke has agreed to buy a South Loop parcel, center, between the Roosevelt Collection, right, and the Chicago River, left. Image from Google Earth

A group led by Colin Kihnke has agreed to buy a South Loop parcel, center, between the Roosevelt Collection, right, and the Chicago River, left. Image from Google Earth

After dropping nearly $8 million on one vacant riverside parcel in the South Loop, Chicago residential developer Colin Kihnke is poised to pay triple that for a bigger property next door.

A group led by Kihnke has agreed to pay about $26 million for a parcel just north of Roosevelt Road on the east side of the Chicago River, according to people familiar with the transaction. At 5.1 acres, it’s one of the largest development sites in greater downtown, with zoning for more than 1,000 homes.

 

The acquisition is an aggressive move for Kihnke, one of the city’s busiest condominium developers, who just paid $7.8 million for a 1.8-acre lot immediately to the north. It’s unclear what Kihnke, president of Chicago-based CMK Cos., plans to build on the two properties—he didn’t return calls—but given their location and his skill set, condos or apartments are a good guess.

 

LAND SCRAMBLE

 

Indeed, the deal highlights the scramble under way among residential developers for buildable land in the city. High rents and occupancies have fueled an apartment construction boom expected to add 9,500 units to the downtown market over the next two years, and condo development is picking up amid rising sales and prices.

 

Developers have been especially active between Polk Street and Roosevelt Road in the South Loop. Chicago-based JDL Development is building a 469-unit apartment tower at 1000 S. Clark St., just down the street from a recently opened tower with 398 apartments developed by Chicago-based Amli Residential.

 

Another Chicago developer, Michigan Avenue Real Estate Group, plans an 86-unit condo building on a site at Ninth and Wells Street it bought last month for $6.2 million. Just east of the site CMK is buying is the Roosevelt Collection, an apartment-and-retail project completed during the bust that includes a 16-screen movie theater and soon will be home to a new campus for the British School of Chicago.

 

‘A NEIGHBORHOOD’

 

“It’s really become a neighborhood,” said Daniel Hyman, president of Chicago-based Millennium Properties R/E Inc., which brokered the sale of the smaller site to CMK.

 

The Kihnke venture is buying Roosevelt Road site from the Cacciatore family, owners of Jos. Cacciatore & Co. Real Estate. Peter Cacciatore did not return calls.

 

The property has 880 feet of river frontage and is zoned for 1,052 residential units and 406,300 square feet of commercial/retail space in a 27-story tower, according to a Cacciatore flier.

 

CMK specializes in moderately priced condos, completing a 714-unit tower at 235 W. Van Buren St. a few years ago and starting a 140-unit project last year at 1345 S. Wabash Ave. CMK also plans a 307-unit apartment development at 1333 S. Wabash.

 

A CMK venture bought the 1.8-acre lot, just south of the River City condo complex, in a bankruptcy auction from a venture led by developer Nicholas Gouletas. The venture originally agreed to pay $4.9 million for the site but boosted the price to $7.8 million in a bidding war with Miami-based developer Crescent Heights, which also pursued the Cacciatore parcel.

 

 

Roosevelt Collection’s relative location has been corrected in this updated story.


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