Monday, November 2, 2009

Two South Loop Developments Still Moving Forward?

It doesn't seem like building new condo buildings in the South Loop would be a good idea right now given the over saturation and subsequent auctions going on, but according to the Chicago Tribune a developer who has gained success from some Chinatown projects is still moving forward with two projects in the neighborhood.

See Wong, owner of the Wabash Development Group, has two properties that in or very close to the South Loop that sound like they're still moving forward. To be honest, we were under the impression his planned building at 1349 S. Wabash was off the table, but the article makes it sound like it is still moving forward (however no time frame was mentioned in the article).

The Grand Imperial Hotel at the corner of Clark and Archer (on the fringe of the South Loop depending on who you talk to) looks like a unique piece of architecture that could bring some interesting character to the neighborhood. We had a post on the development a couple of months ago which includes a video and interview of Wong. According to the Tribune article this is scheduled to break ground in 2010.

So why move forward with two new projects in the current environment? According to Wong it's because he caters to a different buyer and market:
While many builders have yielded to the recession, Wabash is thriving, says Wong, because the neighborhoods where he builds -- primarily Chinatown and Bridgeport -- serve an influx of immigrants. "There isn't an oversupply of housing here, especially of condos that cost less than $300,000," he reports.

Wabash developments that serve the Chinese-American market have units that are small by intention, says Wong. "In China, an 800-square-foot condo is a luxury condo," he explains. "So, here, this community wants small units." While his buyers do want nice finishes such as hardwood floors and granite countertops, he says, they are willing to forgo extras such as fireplaces, whirlpool tubs and balconies to minimize their home prices.
Although we're still skeptical about anything going up in the current environment, maybe Wong is right. We will continue to follow this and see if these developments actually happen.


Anonymous said...

"The Asian community is very thrifty". You think? I am not so sure this is all talk, nor in the long run if it good these projects event get built, if it means having something of the quality of what has been going up in Chinatown and the homes and condos along Wentworth. Total cheapness abounds. Chinatown & Chicago residents deserve better.

It's one thing to build to suit a certain culture, in the country of that culture, it is another thing to build in Chicago something that only is designed to serve asians. Certain standards for all still need to be met.

Joseph Askins said...

We saw this story come across our RSS reader and had to chuckle -- it read more like the information we were getting in October '07 and '08 than anything else.

YoChicago doesn't tend to follow hotel construction, but we have kept an eye on 1349 South Wabash and Canal Crossing. Obviously the latter is still an empty lot; I haven't been down around the latter enough to see whether it's finished. Neither one has units listed for sale, and we've had no luck getting anyone on Wong's end to give us an update.

Joseph Askins said...

Er, make that "the former is still an empty lot."

Sloopy said...

Anon, we agree...if this actually happens we hope the quality is a little better then what we typically see in chinatown.

Joseph, yeah it seemed like an outdated article or something that the developer simply told a reporter without the reporter going back an researching. We walk by the 1349 S. Wabash lot often and there isn't any movement or sign of life there. We're pretty skeptical about the project.

If you hear anything else let us know. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Schedule the auction of this deveopment for 2012.

Anonymous said...

Nothing great, but it is development : LifeStorage opens at 23rd/State.

Article :

Lance Uppercut said...

Hard to get excited about a storage facility . . . unless you've lost your home and are looking for an ultra-ultra-efficiency apartment with no kitchen or bath.