By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Strategic Properties of North America (SPNA), a specialist in Chicago-area condo deconversion projects, has purchased the 30-story, 207-unit Bel Harbour condominium building at 420 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago for $51.5 million. According to SPNA, the deal is the largest bulk sale in the city to date and the company’s third deconversion in the region.
SPNA, which also owns apartment buildings in suburban Grayslake, Evanston and Wheaton, as well as the Lincoln Park neighborhood of the city, says it is actively pursuing more condo deconversion projects in the Chicago area to capitalize on the strength of the local apartment market. The city boasts a tight 3.8 percent vacancy rate, according to Freddie Mac, thus spurring the need for additional rental units.
The buyer plans a multi-million-dollar renovation to convert the 30-story Lakeview property, which comprises studios, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units. Skokie, Ill.-based design firm ML Group has redesigned Bel Harbour with updated floorplans and elements desired by today’s renters, including fully remodeled kitchens and new common areas.
“Conditions are ideal for these types of conversions,” said Yitzy Klor, SPNA’s chief operating officer. “But the deconversion process is complex.”
Few owners are experienced in deconversions, which by law require a 75 percent approval by the building’s occupants. SPNA’s recent examples are a 400-unit property in Grayslake and the 133-unit Clark Place tower in Lincoln Park, which it purchased in December 2016 for $35 million.
Meridian Capital Group’s Shaya Ackerman and Shaya Sonnenschein arranged financing for the Bel Harbour acquisition. The seller, Bel-Harbour Condo Association, was represented by CBRE’s John Jaeger, Dan Cohen and MJ Zaring.