Some West Loop History and Honoring Ashley Wheater!

There is so much excitement going on in the Chicago Real Estate market I hardly know where to begin, but it is hard to beat the West Loop for an amazing success story. I played a part, serving as lead broker in the early phase of the CA23 development, which was completed by the very active Belgravia Group. It was over 10 years ago, right before the Recession! It is still considered one of the most well designed buildings in the area.

The Belgravia Group has two exciting luxury projects going up this year – on the left is Renelle on the River, a special project with just 50 luxury condo units, by the Chicago River. It was named Chicago’s Development of the Year for 2017. The other is Three Sixty West, along Erie, an elegant and welcome addition to River North, standing out with its great design.

But even more credit for the West Loop’s success goes to Annie and Lewis Kostiner, who were pioneers and admirable activists in so many areas. I was privileged to serve as their broker for one of their homes along the way. One time I set up an open house, and the Greek Islands restaurant had such respect for the Kostiners they supplied us with wonderful Greek Chicken for free!

They formed Annie Properties, and built such notable landmarks as The Wishbone Restaurant and Johnny’s Ice House, shown above. There was a time when they had 16 buildings in the West Loop, and even had Oprah Winfrey as a tenant!

Their contributions were recognized by the City of Chicago, and Annie was appointed by Mayor Daley to be a Commissioner of Community Development and served for over 16 years. But I want to tell you that over a year ago, Annie and Lew started a wonderful bookstore at 2212 N. Clybourn called Kibbitznest! It is old-school, where people are encouraged to have face-to-face discussions and shut down their cell phones. You can see in the photo how there are great spaces to browse or sit down and talk. What a concept!

Nowadays a number of development groups have come in, such as Related Midwest and Fifield, with some of the recent additions to the area being the Soho House, Arkadia Tower, and the interesting 1 S. Halsted building shown above!

The market has been strong for me personally, and I am happy to be bringing business in to Coldwell Banker! I represented a unit at the luxurious 9 W. Walton building for rental or sale, and had 3 different renters wanting the unit in a very short time! I love the South Loop, with the charming Little Branch Café in amongst the Museum Park highrises, and recently sold a town home at 1336 S. Indiana.

Finally, on a personal note, I am so proud of Ashley Wheater, who recently marked 10 tremendous years as Artistic Director of the Joffrey Ballet. The Joffrey’s annual Gala took place on April 20th, and a beautiful tribute to Ashley’s achievements was presented. Over $1 Million was raised for projects like the Joffrey’s Community Outreach program.  With thanks to my friend Candace Jordan and her ‘Candid Candace’ column in the Chicago Tribune, here I am with my husband Lucien Lagrange and our friend Melissa Trandel, celebrating along with hundreds of other patrons.  Guess what – the Joffrey is going to Europe and giving special performances in Paris in June!  What a beautiful cultural jewel for our Great City!

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