by Dan Rafter
David Strosberg calls it a project that the North Shore area of Chicago — home to some of the most expensive homes in Northern Illinois — hasn’t seen in a long time. And he’s happy that his development firm, Chicago-based Morningside Group, is bringing it to the residents here.
This August, Morningside Group is breaking ground on NorthShore 770, a mixed-use project in the North Shore community of Northbrook, Ill. The development will include 347 luxury apartments and a 101,435-square-foot retail center anchored by a Mariano’s grocery store.
Northbrook, and the entire North Shore community, has rarely seen a project of this scale. But Strosberg, president and managing principal of Morningside, says that the residents here are ready for a development like NorthShore 770.
“On the retail side we are bringing a new Mariano’s grocery store. Mariano’s stores are always huge hits with residents. It’s a phenomenal grocer,” Strosberg said. “On the residential side, we will be constructing an ultra-luxury building. It has been 25-plus years since a new rental building has been built in this market.”
Strosberg predicts that NorthShore 770 will be the premier rental building in the Chicago suburbs, one that offers what he calls the “highest level” of amenities.
Northbrook is a wealthy community. The question, then, is why has it been more than 25 years since a luxury project like NorthShore 770 has hit the market.
Strosberg points to three reasons: For decades, developers prefered to build condo developments in the North Shore suburbs. Secondly, developers who did want to add rental units to the area often struggled to gain the zoning changes they needed. Finally, up until recently, residents of the North Shore preferred to own.
That has changed. Today, younger residents would prefer to rent in these suburbs. And they want to rent in high-quality developments that offer the same kind of amenities present in high-end condo projects.
“People realize that they don’t need to own a home,” Strosberg said. “They realize that owning is not necessarily a great investment. They like the idea of having an apartment where someone else takes care of all the headaches. It provides for a very nice lifestyle.”
Strosberg said that NorthShore 770’s retail component, including the new Mariano’s, will open in the summer of 2015. The first residents will be able to move into the apartment building by the end of 2015.
Strosberg said, too, that he expecs more projects like NorthShore 770 to pop up in Chicago’s suburbs as demand for multi-family product spreads from the city of Chicago and into its suburban communities.
“The demand has been pent up for a long time,” Strosberg said. “The demand in the suburbs is just beginning to be satisfied now. There are a number of projects that will be absorbing some of that demand. Ours is uniquely located and will have the highest number of amenities of any multi-family project.”