Chicago apartment landlord Stuart Handler is continuing his push into the suburbs, dropping $53 million on a housing complex in west suburban Bloomingdale.

A venture led by Handler acquired Stratford Place, a 342-unit property near Stratford Square Mall, said Handler, CEO of TLC Management. The seller was a venture of San Francisco-based Friedkin Realty Group, which paid $52.5 million for it in December 2012.

It’s Handler’s fifth big suburban apartment deal since the end of 2014, when he began to expand beyond his base in Chicago and Evanston. Using a slow and steady approach and targeting the mid-market, he has amassed a portfolio of about 4,500 units, including more than 1,500 outside the city and Evanston.

Handler, who doesn’t bring in outside investors on his deals, aims to buy one more property in the Chicago area by the end of the year.

He has nothing fancy in mind for Stratford Place, a property that he classifies as B-plus. The 27-acre complex at 232 Butterfield Road, which has an occupancy rate in the mid-90 percent range, was completed in 1991. He expects to spend $1 million or so sprucing it up but doesn’t see a need to do much more.

“It’s a strong asset now,” he said. “We’re just going to move it up to another level.”

Suburban apartment landlords have been operating at a high level for the past several years, a period of rising rents, occupancies and property values. The median net suburban apartment rent per square foot rose 3.7 percent last year, according to Chicago-based consulting firm Appraisal Research Counselors. Rents were up 22 percent over five years.

Handler remains optimistic about the market, but with interest rates rising again, he doesn’t expect property values to rise much more.

“It’s not as hot as it has been, but it’s still good,” Handler said.

Friedkin Realty, meanwhile, still likes the Chicago market and has been scouting the suburbs and downtown for more properties to buy, said Morton Friedkin, founder and chairman of the company. Friedkin Realty owns eight properties totaling more than 2,100 apartments in the Chicago suburbs. In its most recent acquisition, the firm paid $42 million for a 144-unit building in Des Plaines.

Though other suburban multifamily properties have sold for big gains the past few years, Stratford Place bucked that trend, with Handler paying roughly what Friedkin bought it for more than four years ago.

“We overpaid, and he underpaid,” quipped Friedkin.

He expects Stratford Place to fare well under Handler, who can give it more attention than he could from 1,800 miles away.

“Stuart’s local to the area,” Friedkin said. “He’s there to stay, and he’s an operator.”

Source: Crains Chicago Business May 15th 2017 Alby Gallun

Whole Foods Acquired Seven Shuttered Chicago Area Dominick’s Stores

Whole Foods Acquired Seven Shuttered Chicago Area Dominick’s Stores

Whole Foods Market has acquired seven shuttered Dominick’s stores — four in Chicago and three in the suburbs — and will open them in a year.

“Whole Foods Markets takes 12 to 15 months, on average, to open a store, so [the wait time] is not unusual,” company spokeswoman Allison Phelps said Friday. “Each store is unique to the community and we take our time making sure it reflects that and is a special place for each neighborhood.”

Terms of the deals were not disclosed, but details are expected to be released when Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods reports earnings on Feb. 12.

The stores are at:

—Edgewater, 6009 N. Broadway

—Lincoln Park, 959 W. Fullerton Ave.

—Streeterville, 255 E. Grand Ave.

—West Loop, 1 N. Halsted St.

—Elmhurst, 215 S. Route 83

—Evanston, 2748 Green Bay Road

—Willowbrook, 6300 S. Kingery Highway

An existing Whole Foods store that’s just around the corner from the Willowbrook site will no longer serve as a Whole Foods, but no further information was available.

Phelps said Whole Foods chooses sites based on availability, population density, cost of the real estate, and the neighborhood’s levels of education, income and interest in natural and organic foods.

In addition to the seven former Dominick’s stores, Whole Foods Markets is scheduled to open three more stores in the Chicago area by 2017. The new stores join five existing Whole Foods stores in Chicago and 15 in the greater Chicago region.

The three Whole Foods stores opening by 2017 are in the Englewood and Hyde Park neighborhoods and suburban Lake Forest.

Former Dominick’s workers are encouraged to apply for jobs at any Whole Foods, including existing stores, Phelps said.

Source: Chicago Sun Times Sandra Guy January 31, 2014


CNN Ranks Naperville in Top 100 Best Places to Live


Top 100 rank: 54
Population: 152,600

In its list of America’s best small cities, CNN Money ranks Naperville at No. 54

Community is king in Naperville, which adds a local 1% tax on food and beverages to fund events and heritage celebrations. Come summer, residents converge on Centennial Beach, a huge quarry purchased by the city during its 1931 centennial celebration, or stroll along the 1.75 miles of brick paths on the DuPage Riverwalk in the heart of town. Top schools and lots of jobs at firms like OfficeMax and Alcatel-Lucent round out this picture of near perfection — marred only by some congestion on nearby highways and a lengthy commute for those who work in downtown Chicago.

Source: CNN Money

US Sales

Big Banks Are Lending to Bigger Small Businesses

When JPMorgan Chase released its fourth quarter earnings for 2013, it announced that it had provided $19 billion of credit to U.S. small businesses. The figure sounds impressive, but it pales in comparison with the $589 billion of credit that it provided to big corporations.

This should not surprise anyone. The country’s biggest banks ($10 billion+ in assets) actually prefer to provide capital to “small businesses” that average $10 million in revenue or more. While, it is encouraging that the spigot has opened and big bank loan approval rates for small businesses reached 17.6 percent, according to the December 2013 Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, many of them are primarily interested in lending to large “small businesses.” (Yes, that is an oxymoron.)

For many of the big banks, small loans are paper intensive and thus cost more to process. This is a reason why they prefer to offer non-SBA loans, which typically require more forms and documentation and, as a result, take longer to process.

Small banks, which typically do not have the same type of brand recognition, cannot afford to be as choosy. Often, they are a secondary choice as consumers tend to go to the names they know first. Further, because of the amount of advertising that big banks have invested in advertising to promote their small business loan-making, entrepreneurs are going to the bigger players.

Unfortunately, although big bank lending approval rates are currently at post-recession highs, they do not approach the percentage of loan applications granted by small banks (almost 50 percent). Alternative lenders, comprised of microlenders, cash advance companies, are approving more than two-thirds of their requests.

Here Is How Things Can Change:

1) As they continue to be thwarted by big banks, borrowers will continue to comparison shop and seek alternatives to the big banks. Many will use the Internet to find the best deals. Small business owners will secure capital from community banks, alternative lenders, and increasingly, institutional investors that are hungry to make deals.

2) Big banks can improve and upgrade technology. It is still astounding that many of the biggest financial institutions in the country do not allow for online loan applications or eSignatures. What makes this so perplexing is the fact that the large, name brand banks have more vast resources to invest in upgrades.

One can look at the mercurial rise of alternative lenders as proof that when there is a void in the marketplace, the hole is quickly filled. Accounts receivable and cash advance lenders used their technological advantage and made capital more readily accessible. In many cases, speed is often more important to borrowers than low interest rates.

For instance, if you need working capital to make payroll, you cannot wait three months for an SBA loan. Employees want to be paid in a timely fashion and likely won’t wait around for a long period of time without payment.

A number of the large banks, such as TD Bank, Union Bank and others, are investing in upgrades and becoming more active in small business lending. Look for others to follow suit in 2014.

Source: Smallbiztrends Jan 26, 2014 by Rohit Arora

1717 Park St

Naperville office building sells for 5.7 million

A 114,016-square-foot office building in Naperville owner Omaha, Neb.-based Quarter Circle Capital LLC sold for more than $5.7 million. DuPage County records show the buyer of the property at 1717 Park St. was a venture of a Farida Tazudeen, a local real estate investor who could not be reached. The venture financed the Jan. 15 purchase with a $4 million loan from New York-based Garrison Realty Finance LLC, according to county records. It was the last remaining building owned by an approximately eight-year-old fund that also had included 1755 Park, which previously sold for $2.5 million to Riverwoods-based Podolsky Circle CORFAC International, Quarter Circle Principal John Martin said.  A Podolsky venture also agreed to buy 1717 Park, but Quarter Circle sued the venture in December, saying it failed to close on the deal. The lawsuit is still pending, Mr. Martin said.

Source: Chicago Real Estate Daily January 28th, 2014