Village Green plans to renovate and rename the property at 860 N. DeWitt in Chicago to attract Gen Y renters. RENDERING: Courtesy Village Green
A wave of young, fresh renters looking for apartment homes is expected to help a newly acquired property shine in Village Green’s portfolio.
The building, located at 860 N. DeWitt in Chicago, includes 147 apartments and will be rebranded and renovated with a new fitness center, business center, custom closets and marble finishes. The purchase is meant to compliment the other buildings the Farmington Hills, Mich.-based firm already owns or manages in the Windy City, CEO Jonathan Holtzman says.
Village Green has been in the Chicago market since 1995 and manages 21 properties in Chicagoland, four of which are owned, including the newly acquired DeWitt building on the Gold Coast.
The Gold Coast and River North area of Chicago saw the most expansion in the metro area last year, according to a Hendricks-Berkadia report. About 1,890 apartments were added in 2013 in those neighborhoods, according to the Phoenix-based advisory firm.
Young professionals desiring to live in urban environments have fueled the expansion over the last few years, Holtzman says. The need to house job candidates who are being recruited to work for major companies also helped Village Green make acquisition decisions.
“They’re trying to recruit talented employees,” Holtzman says. “And those talented employees are telling these talented companies they’d rather live urban than suburban.”
Finding a nice building within a certain price range with luxury amenities is a challenge for recent college graduates heading to Chicago, Holtzman says.
“When you’re looking at a young person just out of college, they might have student loans,” he says. “That young person is forced to go home to mom and dad and they don’t want to. Or they’re forced to have a roommate and they don’t want to. So Village Green looks at a lot of these new apartment buildings and they’re not affordable.”
So, to attract that demographic, the company plans to add appeal to the building by adding luxury finishes and introducing rents that are doable for young, motivated professionals with fresh-out-of-college salaries.
“Why can’t the apartment business provide more to the customer?” Holtzman says. “We’re looking at better finishes and better amenities so the renter feels like they’re going to get real value.”
Lindsay Machak is an Associate Editor for Multifamily Executive. Connect with her on Twitter @LMachak.