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Chicago’s Tax Burden Shifts to Commercial Properties

Oh wow! Here come the taxes! Cook County, under the direction of County Assessor Fritz Kaegi, is sending out the tax bills now, and owners of commercial properties will not be happy; but homeowners will be. As widely expected, Kaegi has shifted the county’s tax burden from residential to commercial properties. Last year, commercial landlords in north suburban Cook were stunned by big assessment hikes, much bigger than the increases for homeowners. The average residential property tax bill in municipalities in north and northwest suburban Cook rose just 1.1% from 2019. The average bill for commercial and industrial properties rose a whopping 15.8%! Dave Smolensky, a spokesman for “Renew Cook

Big Chicago Hotel Co. Looking for Investors

Got cash? Watermark Lodging Trust, a Chicago-based hotel company created in the middle of the coronavirus lockdown is looking for financial help. The real estate investment trust, which was formed in April by a merger of two Carey Watermark Investors REITs, is pitching private-equity firms and other funds. With travel limited by stay-at-home orders and fears of another peak in coronavirus cases, hotels are suffering. Chalk it up to bad timing for Watermark, whose portfolio of 32 hotels includes the 560-room Renaissance Chicago Downtown. But hotel owners of all shapes and sizes are reeling from the "almost cataclysmic event" of COVID-19 shutdowns and many are looking for financial relief, sai

Back to the Burbs? Some Chicagoans Are Looking!

The impact of Covid-19 is far reaching. It’s not only ruined lives, businesses and the economy, it also has many city dwellers rethinking their attitude about the suburbs. In fact, almost 40% of adults living in urban areas are considering moving “out of populated areas and toward rural areas,” according to a recent Harris Poll, with 43% having actively browsed for homes or apartments outside the city online. Even before the pandemic hit, there already was a slow trickle of city folks moving away to the burbs. That includes Chicago, which has lost residents for the fourth year in a row. Joel Kotkin, a fellow in urban futures at Chapman University, says, “What I believe is that the coronaviru

Balconies are Getting Big in Chicago

Balconies, those jutting outdoor patios of delight, are all the rage right now. Who can’t recall the joyous YouTube videos of South Loop high-rise dwellers singing Bon Jovi songs from their balconies, or cheering for healthcare workers during nightly “Chicago Unite at Night” celebrations? Balconies, now, are all the rage, and denizens of Chicago are demanding more of them. In the midst of coronavirus and its demands for shelter-in-place and social distancing, the balcony is a welcome pandemic-proof social space. “This remarkable moment in time has forced all of us to rethink the physical space we inhabit and it’s showing what a great feature the balcony is,” says Dr. Sanjeev Vidyarthi, an as

Tech May Give Chicago’s Real Estate Market a Boost

The quality of tech in U.S. cities may help some of them dig themselves out of the real estate hole caused by the pandemic. That hopeful sign is part of a report by STORAGECafé, a storage space marketplace built by real estate data firm Yardi. Their analysis looked at how well-networked certain regions of the U.S. are, and how ingrained they are in their local economies. Just about all real estate professional know that a booming local economy leads to a more vibrant real estate market. The report says that, “Companies that are providing the digital tools we need to keep remote work going are expanding during this crisis, so it makes sense that areas where more people work in the tech sector

Multifamily Construction on the Upswing in May

According to the Census Bureau, May was a good month for multifamily housing construction. Permits for 5-unit or more buildings increased to 434,000, up 18% from April. On a month over month basis, permitting was up 6% in the South but changed by less than 2% in other regions of the country. However, not all the news was good. Multifamily housing construction starts (two or more units per building) in May were down 20% from their levels in May. Starts were down 4% in the Midwest, 7% in the West, 25% in the South and 38% in the Northeast. Of course, Covid-19 can be blamed for these “soft” construction numbers. As the summer continues and state rules are relaxed, there should be a more consist

Covid-19’s Effects on Property Management

Covid-19 is changing everything. And for property managers, the changes are both sudden and necessary. Heroes abound; the maintenance technician, the groundskeeper and the housekeeper are all on the frontline providing essential services to apartment residents. For the tens of millions of Americans living in multifamily housing, it’s become apparent that not everyone can work from home. The people on the front lines of property management are indispensable; they are essential. Tectonic shifts in our economy before COVID-19 mean that more Americans than ever live in rental properties and are served by property managers. If more people are continuing to work from home, property management empl

Landlords Take Gov. Cuomo to Court

Well, as the old saying goes, “You can’t please all of the people all of the time;” especially, New York landlords. Landlords in Westchester County, NY are suing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo because his executive order that extends a moratorium on evictions during the Covdi19 pandemic. These landlords say that his action “violated their contract and due process rights and amounted to an improper taking of their property under the U.S. Constitution.” The lawsuit seeks to nullify two parts of the May 7th order which prohibit landlords from pursuing evictions through August 19th and give renters the option to use their security deposit toward their rent payment. According to the real estate g

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