Condominiums in Edgewater - Part 1

Vol. XVII No. 3 - FALL 2006

By: LeRoy Blommaert

Today, the condominium form of home ownership is taken for granted and is widespread not only in Edgewater but nationally, particularly in metropolitan and resort areas. It was not always thus. In fact, in the United States it is a relatively recent phenomenon, even in Edgewater’s short history. This, even though the form of ownership dates from Roman times. “Condominium” after all is a Latin word.

The first condominium project in the continental United States was in California – where else. The year was 1962. Illinois enacted legislation permitting the condominium form of ownership effective July 1, 1963. The first condominium declaration filed in Chicago was on January 31, 1963; it was also the first filed in Cook County, and probably also the first in the Midwest. And while it was not located in Edgewater, it was close – very close, located at 6347-59 N. Ridge – less than a block from Edgewater’s western border formed by the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad tracks. The Fountain View was a small, low rise project, consisting of 30, four-room apartments, and it was an all-electric project. The developer was Dunbar Builders, which would later build several condominium high rises along Sheridan Road. The first high rise condominium in Chicago, however, was not built by Dunbar Builders; nor was it built in Edgewater. It was built at 339 Barry; and the declaration was filed August 13, 1964.

Despite the fact that the first condominium was not built in Edgewater, the condominium form of ownership had a greater impact in Edgewater than in almost any other Chicago community. In fact, a good case can be made that it had its greatest impact here, at least initially. That was primarily because the first phase of condominium building and conversions coincided with the high rise construction boom along Edgewater’s Sheridan Road. A number of high rises were built as condominiums and, not too long afterwards, high rises that had been constructed only a few years before as rentals were converted to condominiums.

Using the Sidwell maps found at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds office, the author compiled data on all the condominium declarations recorded for Edgewater properties through 2003, which is the last year for which such information is available. The date a condominium declaration was recorded is, of course, only one of several dates relevant to condominiums. Other dates are the date a building permit is issued for either new construction or rehabilitation, the dates construction begins and ends, the date marketing begins, the date the first unit is sold and the date the last unit is sold. In developing statistics regarding condominium development in Edgewater, the declaration recording date is controlling. Marketing and sales of units occurred later. In a few cases, a building showed two or more declarations. In those cases, the first filed was the one used in the study.

There are a number of different ways of looking at the condominium development in Edgewater – or in any community for that matter. One way is by firsts – the first condominium, the first high rise condominium, the first low rise, the first 6-flat, the first 3-flat, etc., the first new construction, the first conversion or the first in a particular neighborhood.

Another way is to look at patterns of development and to do so by decades and by geographical subdivisions. For Edgewater, the development of Sheridan Road condos vs. condo development west of Sheridan Road presents an interesting and somewhat unique comparison.

Still another method of comparison is to analyze new construction vs. conversion of formerly rental property. And then there is an analysis by type of structure built or converted.

We shall address all dimensions. First the “firsts.” The building at 6121 Sheridan was Edgewater’s first condominium, the declaration being recorded April 10, 1964. It was a 32-unit low rise building developed by Surety Builders. It was also Edgewater’s first condo built as a condo as opposed to a rental property converted to condominium ownership.

The Thorndale Beach Condominium at 5901 Sheridan was Edgewater’s and Sheridan Road’s first high rise condominium, recorded June 25, 1965, and “weighing in” at 151 units. It was developed by Dunbar Builders, which had developed the first condo in Cook County, and like their first condo project, it too was all electric.

Edgewater’s first condo conversion was a 2-story, 4-unit building at 1637 Glenlake, recorded May 4, 1971. It was also Edgewater’s first condo west of Sheridan Road, as well as the first 4-flat to be either built or converted to condo. Sheridan Road’s first condo conversion was the 42 unit building at 6334-42, recorded March 21, 1972. It was also the first condo on the west side of Sheridan.

The first building constructed as a condo west of Sheridan was a 4-flat at 1253 Early, recorded December 14, 1998, 34 years after Edgewater’s first condo. It replaced a single family home.

Table-1 shows the “firsts” by type of building (converted or constructed). Interestingly, with only four exceptions, all the “firsts” occurred before 1980.

Table-2 shows the “firsts” by neighborhood (we’ve used the abbreviation of the neighborhood association where possible). This table shows that, with only one exception, the first condo declaration in each neighborhood was recorded in the decade of the 1970s. Another interesting fact is that, with only four exceptions, all the declarations involved the conversion of 6-flats. The first conversions, in almost all the cases, were not gut rehabs.

In Part Two of this article, to be published in a subsequent issue, we will do a decade by decade analysis of condo declarations and furnish statistics of Edgewater’s condominiums by type of building built or converted, by neighborhood and by new construction compared to conversion. We also should have comprehensive data for 2004.

Table 1

Type Address Recording Date New/Converted
2-flat 5217 Ashland 10-27-2000 Converted
3-flat 5863 Kenmore 12-30-1977 Converted
4-flat 1637 Glenlake 05-04-1971 Converted
6-flat 1319-21 Ardmore 08-08-1972 Converted
8-flat 5306 Winthrop 09-21-2001 New
9-flat 1700-04 Catalpa 12-28-1977 Converted
Corner walk-up 1400 Thorndale
5944-46 Glenwood
08-10-1977 Converted
Court-yard 1445-49 Thorndale
5953-59 Greenview
12-05-1978 Converted
4+1 5918-20 Kenmore 12-06-1979 Converted
Commercial 5325 Ravenswood 05-25-1995 Converted
Mixed use 5852 Broadway 06-25-2003 New
High rise 5901 Sheridan 06-25-1965 New

Table 2

Neighborhood Address Recording Date Building Type
East Edgewater
EBNA 5453-55 Kenmore 03-07-1979 10 unit, corner
TAHBS 5863 Kenmore 10-30-1977 3-flat
NEBA 6225 Kenmore 08-21-1979 6-flat
Central Edgewater
LBRC 5201-03 Magnolia
1214 Foster
02-09-1981 6-flat
EARC 5306-08 Glenwood 10-19-1979 6-flat
ETNA 1410 Bryn Mawr 10-08-1974 6-flat
BARGE 1319-21 Ardmore 08-08-1972 6-flat
EPIC 1407-09 Elmdale 10-09-1976 6-flat
NET 1516 Thorndale 08-20-1973 6-flat
EGA 1226-28 Norwood 03-21-1974 6-flat
ENN 6221 Magnolia 08-23-1974 6-flat
West Edgewater
WANT 1700-04 Catalpa 12-28-1977 9-flat
WEAR 5726 Hermitage 09-11-1979 6-flat / 8 condos
NEW 1637 Glenlake 05-04-1971 4-flat