• With Class A rents continuing to rise, do condo purchases make more sense for some Chicago residents?
  • Chicago's Near North side dubbed as an epicenter for future development.
  • 8,000 rental units are predicted to be delivered in Chicago during the next two years.

One development team appears unfazed by the roughly 4,500 apartments that are slated to be delivered in downtown Chicago during 2017.

A joint venture of Chicago-based Ascend Real Estate Group and Boston-based Intercontinental Real Estate Corp. recently broke ground on a 18-story, 202-unit rental tower on the city’s Near North side.

Dubbed Niche 905, the tower will include a mix of “convertible” one-, two- and three-bedroom units – indicating that a rental-to-condo conversion may be in store following the project’s completion.

The development’s features fit the description of a downtown condo: 24-hour concierge service, high-end finishes, 9-foot ceilings and private balconies.

According to Ascend’s CEO Walter Rebenson, Chicago’s Near North side will be the “epicenter of new housing” and retail development during the coming years.

During the third quarter of this year the average Class A apartment rented for $2,436, according to Appraisal Research Counselors.

Class A occupancy during the quarter dipped slightly to 93.7 percent. With 3,500 units slated for delivery next year it will be interesting to see if rents and occupancy hold strong.

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