More Crain's tidbits

Crain'sis just a treasure trove of information. Tom Corfman and his team just have this beat covered down pat. They had three stories today that caught my interest:

  • In the completely unshocking department, Sam Zell may convert parts of the Tribune Tower into condos. Any person in the dirt biz saw that coming the minute he laid eyes on the company. Nonetheless, it's news.

  • The New City project near North and Halsted being developed by Structured Development and Commonfund will build luxury apartments instead of condos to go with the 75% leased retail portion of the project. JV negotiations are ongoing. I've known about this for a while, but I have this thing about client confidentiality.... My friend and client, Dan Lukas, put it succinctly in his own inimitable way:

    “The condo market is in the toilet. With the market’s sales velocity, we could be selling one to two units a month … It really doesn’t matter how good the product is; there’s no buyers and there’s no financing right now.”

  • Finally -- and this interests me on two levels, a developer is planning a 140,000 fitness center and driving range on the near west side. The driving range is, in my opinion, a great interim use for dirt while you wait to see where the market's going. There was a range for some years, as you may recall, over in what is now River East. Besides, I could use a good place downtown to hit some golf balls from time to time. I hope there is a good bar/restaurant facility or something where you can have a meeting attached to the range (hint, hint).