2007 MFE Awards
Marketing and Advertising

How do you get a new high-end rental community noticed in a city swarming with hot condo developments? Simple: Hire Forest City Residential Group to do your marketing. The Cleveland-based developer launched a highly creative campaign to draw residents to Sky55, a 411-unit, 40-story high-rise located in Chicago's Central Station development in the city's famed Museum Campus. Sky55 is the first rental project in the predominantly for-sale 80-acre site. “For years and years, Central Station has been advertising their condos, so we really needed to stand out as a for-lease property,” says Adam Siegal, Forest City's vice president of strategic marketing.

At the heart of the campaign: taglines such as “luxuries like these no longer require a mortgage” and “views like these no longer require a mortgage.” The marketing collateral, from the detailed Web site www.sky55chicago.com to glossy print ads and billboards, all illustrate this concept through clever verbiage and sharp photography. “We are selling the best of both worlds,” Siegal says. “We are selling every bit the quality-plus of a high-end condo in Chicago with the convenience and freedom of apartment living.”

Sky55's location in Chicago's South Loop posed another marketing challenge. “This project is in the northern part of the South Loop, but anytime you say the word ‘south' in Chicago, it has the negative halo effect, so we really had to show how the project ties into the city,” Siegal says. Forest City accomplished its mission through a series of maps and postcards, inspired by IDEO, a leading San Jose, Calif.-based product design firm. A large customized wall map in the leasing office and a pop-up, take-away map feature must-see attractions in a 5-block, 5-minute, and 5-mile ring around the property. Plus, a large postcard wall in the leasing office shares tips on services and attractions in the surrounding community.

Renters were ready to sign up once they walked into the customer-friendly leasing office. Sky55 enjoyed an average lease-up pace, with no concessions offered, of more than 22 leases per month during its first 14 months of leasing. To top that off, Forest City has achieved rent levels that are 16 percent above its pro-forma projections.

Editor's note:Sky55 is part of a mixed-income development and connects to The Apartments at 1251 S. Michigan, an affordable project highlighted on page 32 as the winner of our senior housing category.

Fast Facts

  • Developer: Forest City Residential Group
  • Opened: April 2006
  • Notable: Marketing materials include a pop-up, take-away map with must-see attractions in a 5-block, 5-minute, and 5-mile radius.


    —Julie Smith, president, Bozzuto Management Co.