Real Estate Deals: Creativity Wins

So, a few weeks ago one of my favorite brokers in Chicago called me with an off-market listing (by the way, any broker that comes to you with off-market listings is a broker you keep close). After maybe 15 seconds of introduction, I knew exactly what property he was talking about: a 6,000 square foot brick corner lot estate – one side faces a park and another side faces Lake Michigan – built in 1911. It sits on an almost 16,000 square foot site – do you know how many of those are near the Chicago Loop? I’ll let you guess. So, naturally, I’m professionally frothing at the mouth of the prospect of being able to bring this dilapidated palace back to it’s glory. I’ve driven past it at least 100 times over the past decade. Of course, it all comes down to the almighty dollar…or so I thought.

Upon arriving at our first showing, I had already sliced the deal 2 different ways regarding financing. During the showing, I was informed that there was quite a bit of interest in this estate. Not only were these interests powerful, they were also savvy and both had fantastic ideas for the residence. As if this wasn’t enough, the Alderman has a vested interest in the outcome of this property because he has been working to revitalize the neighborhood and, in many ways, this estate is the face of the community. So, basically, forget the financing – there’s a bigger purpose at play. If you want to play ball, choose your equipment carefully.

Here’s the deal: I want to revitalize, I want to restore, and I don’t want to go under in the process. There has to be a happy medium. I’m not going to be able to outbid my competitors. I also can’t really swallow the idea of not being part of this project. So what do you do when you can’t beat them? You join them. One of my competitors is a non-profit that does not focus the majority of its effort on the growth of the physical, so I worked with my broker to schedule a short phone call. I offered to help – I can manage, I have contacts, and I have the time to get this done on time, within budget, and make it the PR campaign of 2015 for everyone involved. Go figure, my other competitor also seems to be joining the new dream team. Great minds think alike, I suppose. So, next steps? We’re walking through the property with the architects next week. We’ll see what happens from there, fingers crossed!

I think a lot of people assume that the toughest person at the table wins. That is rarely true. The most thoughtful one does because they’re talking less, listening more, and consider everyone at the table as important as themselves.

In the meantime, we’re considering buying the 1959 Bentley 300 left in the estate’s garage:


AND! *drumroll* Kenwood construction starts after Labor Day! Onward and upward.


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