In November I attended a conference in Chicago for International Real Estate Agents. As part of the conference I had the pleasure of touring 2 new downtown Chicago condo developments. Native Chicgoan and expert real estate agent Marsha Collins-Mroz was my guide showing me a both a boutique condo building and a large scale condo development both located on the Chicago River, steps to Michigan Ave.
I thought it would be interesting to compare it to the new condo developments in Yorkville Toronto to see what it would cost you if one purchased a 2400 square foot condo in either city.
Inspired by the word runnel (a brook or small stream), this project responds to the trend towards creating more intimate and refined buildings for residents who don’t want to just be a number in a huge high-rise.
The large suites feature 3 and 4 bedroom floor plans starting at 1827 square feet. Priced from $1.3M USD, suites sell on average just under a $1000/Square Foot USD.
Extensive building amenities include 24 hour doorman, an outdoor dog run space and a fitness centre with private yoga room. The private rooftop lounge with spectacular city and river views features indoor and outdoor kitchens, an outdoor terrace with fireplace, a private screening room and a games room.
The developer, Belgravia Group has been building in Chicago since 1947. Belgravia seeks out buyers who are end users as residents must have owned their unit for at least a year before they can rent it out.
Currently under construction, occupancy is planned for the end of 2019. Suite sizes start at 640 square feet and go up to 2666 square feet for a top floor penthouse suite. Prices start at around $1254/Square Foot CAD and penthouse suites on the top three levels average around $1550/Square Foot CAD.
Amenities include concierge, fitness centre, guest suite and entertaining lounge with outdoor terrace.
In comparing both buildings here is what a unit of around 2400SF costs:
|City||Condo Development||Address||Level||Square Feet||Bedrooms||Price USD||Price/SF USD||Price CAD||Price/SF CAD|
|Chicago||Renelle On The River||403 North Wabush Ave||8th Floor||2424||3 Bedrooms||$2.241M||$925||$2.847M||$1,175|
|Toronto||Avenue 151 Yorkville||151 Avenue Rd||8th Floor||2376||2 Bedrooms||$3.004M||$1,264||$3.802M||$1,600|
* $1.00 USD = $1.27 CAD * $1.00 CAD = $0.79 USD
High-rise Vs. High-rise
In Chicago, Vista Residences is a 94 storey tower with 406 units situated where the Chicago River meets Lake Michigan. Scheduled to be completed in 2020, the Vista Tower will be the 3rd tallest building in Chicago.
The Five Star Wanda Hotel will occupy the first 12 floors with the condo units above. Wanda is the largest commercial real estate developer in the world. As China’s biggest luxury hotel operator, this will be its first hotel in North America.
Vista’s condo suites feature floor to ceiling windows allowing for uninterrupted city and lakefront views. Floor plans range from the smallest one bedroom unit of 1126 SF up to full floor penthouses of 6500 SF. Prices for suites start at around $1 million US dollars and go up from there.
As well as having access to the hotel’s amenities, indoor pool and services, residents have their own exclusive amenity floor on the 47th level. Club Vista features an outdoor pool and terrace, fitness room, massage rooms, steam and sauna rooms, kitchen and private dining room, private wine storage and tasting rooms, theatre and billiards lounge and a children’s activity play room.
The One Residences at 1 Bloor St West in Yorkville Toronto will be Canada’s tallest building when completed in 2023. Located on the south west corner of Yonge and Bloor, it will be 85 storeys high with 416 units. The first 5 storeys will house commercial and retail space and a hotel will occupy 11 floors after that followed by the condo units which start on level 19.
Unit sizes range from the smallest floor plan of 591 square feet to penthouses suites of over 5600 square feet. Prices start at $1262/Square Foot CAD and go up to over $3000/Square Foot CAD for penthouse units.
Amenities will include valet parking, concierge and doorman, an outdoor amenity terrace with infinity pool, fitness studio and spa lounge.
Staying with our example of a unit of around 2400 square feet here is how these two large scale developments compare:
|City||Condo Development||Address||Level||Square Feet||Exposure||Bedrooms||Price USD||Price/SF USD||Price CAD||Price/SF CAD|
|Chicago||Vista Residences||375 Upper Wacker Dr||66th Floor||2349||South||3 Bedrooms||$2.936M||$1,250||$3.729M||$1,588|
|Toronto||The One Residences||1 Bloor St West||66th Floor||2466||Southeast||2 Bedroom & Den||$4.598M||$1,864||$5.820M||$2,360|
* $1.00 USD = $1.27 CAD * $1.00 CAD = $0.79 USD
Even when you factor in the exchange rate of a lower Canadian dollar against the US dollar, downtown Chicago condos are more reasonably priced than comparable units in Yorkville Toronto.
I found the condo projects in Chicago to be more livable as their condo market is geared more to the end user rather than the investor. There seemed to be more thought put into creating community within Chicago condo buildings with the addition of amenities like dog runs and children’s play areas.
Suite sizes where more generous with 1 bedrooms starting at over 1000 square feet which is unheard of in new development condos in Yorkville. Buyers also have more choice for 3 and 4 bedroom layouts whereas in Yorkville this would restrict you to the ultra premium high priced top floors or penthouse levels.
Unlike in Yorkville, in Chicago a new condo unit can truly replace a house without sacrificing square footage.
Victoria Boscariol is a real estate agent in Toronto Canada with Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited Brokerage. With over 20 years experience, Victoria has been helping people successfully buy and sell condos and houses in Yorkville and downtown Toronto. As a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) she has worked with Buyers from around the world moving to Toronto from China, Russia, Brazil, India, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Cyprus, Italy, Germany, The United Kingdom, Australia and the United States. By building an international marketing strategy for every property she puts up for sale, Victoria’s listings of Toronto homes and luxury condos get global exposure that attract qualified buyers from around the world.