This week: condo crucibles and multifamily dispatches from Chicago.

Stay of Execution

Developers of the Old Salem Jail, a prison/dungeon used during the infamous Salem witch trials in 1692 and 1693, are attempting a trial of a different sort: a temporary reversion from condos to rentals. Boston-based New Boston Ventures is presenting a plan to the Salem Redevelopment Authority Feb. 27 to increase the unit count of its community from 29 to 36 units, 22 of which would be marketed as apartments rather than condos for a period of five years. The rental units, located in the 17th century jail building and old jail keeper's house, would revert back to condo units in 2013. New Boston spokesperson David Goldman tells The Salem News that the current economy does not support the developer's original full cellblock-to-condo conversion. "It's a way of making this project a reality," Goldman says. "We want to make this project happen. Quite honestly, we're very deeply invested in it right now, and we're very anxious to get started."

Totally Busted

Note to Windy City bank robbers: Avoid boasting of your exploits to the multifamily real estate community. On Feb. 20, David R. Carter allegedly walked into the Chicago Community Bank, robbed a teller of $1,050, and ran off down an alley. According to police reports, Carter then returned to his apartment complex, grabbed his property manger by the neck, and said, "I just robbed a bank." He then flashed a handful of bills and gave a fellow resident a $50 note. Carter was arrested the following day in his unit, where he was watching television with $400 in marked bills lying around. Reports by Chicago's ABC-7 News did not account for the additional $650. There were also no details on whether Carter found new residency in the slammer or the psych ward.

Snooze Fest

Protestors at a planned all-night rally against condo conversions in Chicago's Roger's Park got cold feet, literally. On Feb. 22, protesters apparently returned to the warmth of their apartments rather than enduring 22 degree temperatures for the "sleep out," which was organized in part by Lakeside Community Development Corporation, a Chicago-based affordable housing advocate. Nevertheless, the rally gathered a sizeable crowd who pleaded with 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore for a moratorium on condo conversions in the neighborhood. Protestors claim a Chi-Town condo wave has hit no less than 42 buildings and has taken nearly 1,000 affordable units off the market. "We call for a moratorium on zoning relief for the construction of any more market-rate condominiums in Roger's Park until we have addressed the crisis we are facing today," said CDC executive director Brain White at the protest. "The last thing our community needs is more condos."

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