An inside look at Chicago real estate

FLATS CHICAGO: Reinventing the Chicago Apartment

Sometimes you’re just not ready to buy. But that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the best. Chicago-based Cedar Street Co. and its FLATS Chicago brand are continuing to reinvent what Chicago apartment living means.

Cedar Street’s Alex Samoylovich and Jay Michael have spearheaded a movement to take neighborhoods that have fallen off the grid in terms of fresh retail and an “it” factor and are turning them into hotspots to live thanks to their clever apartment designs. The results have even brought a newly popular term to Chicago real estate: the micro-apartment.

Thus far, Cedar Street has focused its efforts in neighborhoods like Uptown, Edgewater and Ravenswood. The goal is simple enough: Take old buildings in dire need of an update and create intimate Chicago apartments that are small in space but never lack in comfort and style. With features like free Wi-Fi, fitness centers, patios, granite counters and furnishings by Chicago-based design studio CB2, the FLATS deliver lots of style packed into a small space.

4875 FLATS interior

So far the effort by FLATS Chicago is to continue to expand its territory throughout the north side of the city. By redeveloping older buildings and creating micro, and space effective units that offer living quarters spanning between 350 to 450 square feet for micro units with more square footage for 1 and 2 bedrooms, FLATS Chicago provides a new style of apartment in neighborhoods that needed a kick in terms of revitalization.

1325 W Wilson FLATS dream town

Case in point: The building at 1325 W. Wilson Avenue. When Michael and Samoylovich purchased the property for $4.2 million a few years back, the building was in terrible shape and borderline uninhabitable. Cedar Street revamped the property, creating apartments with modern finishes and amenities in addition to featuring ground floor retail.

The duo behind FLATS Chicago came across the idea of creating micro-units thanks to the real estate meltdown in 2008. Focusing their efforts in Uptown and Edgewater, Michael and Samoylovich bought six distressed properties with the intention of turning them into “awesome rental buildings” reports Crain’s.

So who is in the market for apartments that average 350 square feet? Apparently plenty of young renters who want the feel of a condo are happy to forsake square footage for modern finishes and amenities like rooftop decks, fitness centers and in-unit washer and dryers.

The company is far from slowing down in its quest to deliver quality Chicago apartments on the North Side. Cedar Street recently paid $16.1 million to purchase the property at 5050 N. Broadway in Uptown reports Chicago Business. The property is made up of two six-story buildings attached to an 11-story structure with parking for roughly 625 spaces located across the street.

5411 FLATS Lobby

“It’s situated in the center of our core market, near the Argyle (Red Line) stop on a major thoroughfare, and it’s prime and ripe for redevelopment,” Samoylovich said to Crain’s. “We want to revitalize an underdeveloped pocket of the neighborhood. It’s got close proximity to Uptown Theatre, and it’s our hope that all the theaters and art the mayor is looking to bring to that area will get off the ground in the next few years.”

Cedar Street is going to take a year to make a plan for the property, which will likely include a mid-rise apartment tower with a gym and retail, before presenting it the public for approval.