Simplicity Rules: Streamlined Yet Sophisticated

Many luxury buyers seek homes with complicated floor plans, high-end finishes and the latest technology. But architects’ homes are often simple, sophisticated structures that merely look expensive.


simple is good. The trick is making the complex appear simple. That is a great design challenge many do not quite find.

See on Scoop.itHealthy Homes Chicago Initiative

LivingHomes sustainable prefab houses are judged by their own standard

Back in 2013, Gizmag covered the launch of the C6 sustainable prefab homes from LivingHomes. The residences were designed to be low-cost and to be LEED Platinum certified. Since then, the company h…


My absolute fav prefab sustainably minded LEED developers. Setting the new standard for healthy and sustainable homes. C6 is HERE!

See on Scoop.itHealthy Homes Chicago Initiative

Developer aims to convert funeral home to retail, apartments

Ten units and a restaurant are planned for the Lakeview property.


I am surprised the zoning (or community groups) would not allow more units on this site in Lincoln Park. Let’s hope Lou Mitchell’s is the restaurant tenant!

Average Sales Price for Single Family homes up 11.8% in Lincoln Park


Not only are prices up but number of homes seller per month continues to rise significantly. In January, 2012, 59 homes closed. In January 2013 we closed 78 homes with an average sales price of $1.888M. In 2013 we closed out 87 homes at an average sales price of $2.009M or up 6.4%. That trend continues. In January 2015 101 homes closed escrow at an average sales price of $2.246M or up 11.8% from the previous year. 

Median Sales Prices for Condos in Lincoln Park up 9.4% since 2013


So far this year we are seeing a flat 1.6% increase in median sales prices since 2014 however a healthy 9.4% since 2013. I do expect the market prices to remain in the growth path however not nearly as improved as the 2013 increase. Check out the interactive graph and three year trend here. 

Who would have guessed that Lincoln Park was seeing population loss?

Chicago’s affluent North Side has lost a lot of people. That’s a problem for businesses, residents of moderate means and anyone who would like to move there but can’t afford to.


I could have guessed this. What draws people into the community? It is too expensive for many to live here and the rental market continues to push more residents out. Besides the DePaul bars is there a stretch people decide to go to on the weekends? Not really.  

This is one reason we need to look positively on the revised density plan of Children’t Memorial Hospital redevelopment plan. There are affordable set-asides, senior housing, condos and lots of retail. Hopefully the politics will end next week after the aldermanic elections and we can begin the long over due and long debated redevelopment of the hospital site. Hopefully before the next wave of a recession hits us so the retail can take root and revitalize the area of Lincoln Park. 

What Buyers Want in a Green Home


heating and cooling costs are a common buyer interest but trending too for younger buyers is the cost to commute

See on Scoop.itHealthy Homes Chicago Initiative

CMK pays $33 million for riverside land in South Loop

The developer’s not talking about its plans, but two sites could accommodate thousands of residential units, transforming an area only now beginning to take shape as a neighborhood.


I called this the $40 million dog park because that’s what the current owners used it for since they bought it 4-5 years ago. Glad to see CMK is moving it forward. It seems prime.

See on Scoop.itChicago Housing Market News Reports

With $1 Billion Invested And $100 Entry Points, Real Estate Crowdfunding Grows Up

Real estate crowdfunding is proving to be much more than a fad.


This new investment platform has huge potential now that SEC has opened the door

See on Scoop.itChicago Housing Market News Reports

Useful Investment Guide » Simple Tips And Tricks To Help You In The Real Estate Market

Simple Tips And Tricks To Help You In The Real Estate Market –


See on Scoop.itChicago Housing Market News Reports

Illinois seizing clean-energy funds to balance budget

A House-passed short-term budget fix to plug a $1.6 billion shortfall would snatch nearly $100 million in ratepayer-funded money to invest in renewable energy projects.


The carrot has been and will always be a new revenue stream for governments and corporations to get on board. Illinois needs this funding back in the budget for people, profit and planet. 

See on Scoop.itHealthy Homes Chicago Initiative

Green Building Efficiency and Design Approval | Sustainable Cities Collective

A world leader in sustainable innovation, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has achieved the Living Building Challenge for its Center for Sustainable Landscapes, a facility that houses groundbreaking sustainability research and science…


The Living Building Challenge is one of the most rigorous standards today. This is an amazing accomplishment for Phipps Conservatory.

Chicago Bulls to host sixth annual “Go Green” game tonight –

Mar. 23, 2015 – The Chicago Bulls will celebrate NBA Green Week with their annual “Go Green” night sponsored by Constellation at tonight’s game vs.


Even the NBA is going green! Sort of. Well it is a start and we have to start somewhere….

See on Scoop.itHealthy Homes Chicago Initiative

5 remarkable inventions improving water quality across the globe

Approximately 750 million people don’t have access to clean drinking water around the world, but these five inventions offer some hope.


Some creative innovative solutions to the global water problems

See on Scoop.itHealthy Homes Chicago Initiative

Perkins + Will to design Manhattan Pikettyscraper

How will they possibly make these inherently inefficient slivers sustainable?


Not so sustainable design…

EPA Takes Action on Spray-Foam Health Risks –

EPA Takes Action on Spray-Foam Health Risks –

EPA Takes Action on Spray-Foam Health Risk  Peter Yost

Icynene’s open-cell spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation is among the SPF industry products under scrutiny by EPA and others.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a new action plan for chemicals used in spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation. Isocyanates, such as MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate), are highly reactive chemicals that can cause skin, eye, and lung irritation, asthma, and chemical sensitization when absorbed through the skin or inhaled.

When SPF is applied on a job site, both the ingredients and the byproducts of the process involve potentially toxic emissions that require protective measures for workers as well as any occupants. This is not news: worker protection protocols and quality assurance programs for SPF installation were developed by the SPF industry decades ago. Why the fuss now?

“There has been an increase in recent years in promoting the use of foams and sealants by do-it-yourself energy-conscious homeowners, and many people may now be unknowingly exposed to risks from these chemicals,” Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, told EBN. You can add to that a growing number of complaints about adverse health effects from homeowners and occupants of office buildings where SPF has been applied during energy retrofits.

A Clearer Definition for Smarter Smart Growth | ArchDaily

A Clearer Definition for Smarter Smart Growth | ArchDaily

High Line, New York, is a good example of what is to come. Image © Iwan Baan

As cities become more conscious of their environmental and social impact, smart growth has become a ubiquitous umbrella term for a slew of principles to which designers and planners are encouraged to adhere. has distributed 10 points that serve as guides to development that are similar to both AIA’s Local Leaders: Healthier Communities through Design and New York City’s Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design. Planners all appear to be on the same page in regards to the nature of future development. But as Brittany Leigh Foster of Renew Lehigh Valley points out, these points tend to be vague; they tell us “what” but they do not tell us “how”. 10 Rules for Smarter Smart Growth by Bill Adams of UrbDeZine San Diego enumerates how to achieve the various design goals and principles that these various guides encourage.

“These days, a lot of projects are crashing through the gates of community plans and dashing existing neighborhood character under the banners of smart growth or transit oriented development. Typically, such projects are simply high density or near transit corridors, or sometimes they include gratuitous green space and walking paths. However, they fail in many of the finer points of smart growth, new urbanism, or transit oriented development.” – Bill Adams

This introduction makes a most poignant point about how runaway development is possible under the guise of “smart growth” by using specific principles while ignoring important factors that contribute to community development. Adams begins by discouraging the use of the term NIMBY. ”Every criticism or opposition to a high density project is now labeled as NIMBYism, with little further discussion of community concerns.” This behavior dismisses community concerns and fails to create compromise between developers and affected communities. Adams also notes that community involvement in the planning process of future development is crucial to accounting for community needs and respecting the kind of development that has gone in to building existing neighborhoods.

It follows that new projects are most successful when they integrate into the urban fabric, or at the very least engage the community and avoid “building islands or erecting barriers”, as Adams puts it. In this way, it is more likely to be welcomed and incorporated within the community, encouraging the walkability and accessibility of the environment – a tenet that is touted by many of these guidelines. In the same sense, the characteristics and identity of the communities should be preserved and should be compatible with the context and type of land use.

It is also important for transit oriented development (TODs) to avoid becoming complicit to programs that encourage car use. Adams notes that TODs are not as successful when the areas that they service are just as easily accessible by personal cars. He writes, “they are usually just as close to major thoroughfares, imbued with ample off-street parking facilities (usually required by the municipality), and pedestrian deterring exteriors. These project rarely enhance walkability, and the convenience of public transit is offset by equal or greater auto amenities and convenience.”

Density is frequently a high priority in “smart growth” and Adams mentions that this should be done incrementally, encouraged by municipal governments through zoning and code development. For example, Adams suggests that infill development should be prioritized over lot-clearing projects or incrementally reducing setback requirements that encourage small lots to be built higher without challenging the character of the street life. He warns that maximizing density is not as effective as increasing density in a responsible way.

“The antithesis of smart growth and the trademark of sprawl are wide streets, dispersed development, and parking lots.” Narrow streets and usable open space bring people to the street, and create engagement with the surrounding programs, whereas “parking lots and wide streets directly undermine the attraction. Conversely, people come to successful traditional commercial districts despite the auto inconveniences. Auto inconvenience means pedestrian orientation.” Along the same vein, Adams suggests making exclusive opportunities to for pedestrians and cyclists that cannot be accessible by automobiles. This not only prioritizes specific functions, but also encourages their use. And they should be considered as a higher priority than road building. This is also an issue of scale. Where major roadways provide one means to a destination, but local traffic is encouraged through public transit systems, walking or biking.

These principles are not ground-breaking, but they provide a fundamental reasoning to the rhetoric that has been circulating among urban planning and design texts. When we hear terms like “walkability“, “sustainability”, “accessibility”, or “density” we can understand them better within the context of a specific community in regards to transit orientation, building design, and zoning codes. Ultimately, it is most important that the jargon of urban planning does not overpower a community’s ability to participate in its own development. Bill Adams’ breakdown of the ways in which “smart growth” can be smarter does just that.

Read 10 Rules for Smarter Smart Growth by Bill Adams here.

Thank you.

Jim Gramata
Managing Team Broker
The Gramata Realty Group

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5 ways your house might be making you si

5 ways your house might be making you sick 5 ways your house might be making you sick

By Laura Barnhardt Cech CNHI News Service

It was a chronic thing: Almost every time Erma Taylor’s great-grandson caught a cold, he also ended up having a severe asthma attack. Taylor, a retired nurse, spent many hours at a hospital, helping to hold the toddler for tests and breathing treatments, and wondering what was causing the attacks.

The one thing Taylor never suspected was that something inside the Falls Church, Va., Cape Cod that she shares with her granddaughter and great-grandson was a source of the 3-year-old’s medical problems.

It turned out that mold and mildew from years of shampooing the decades-old carpet were aggravating the little boy’s respiratory system.

The carpeting was replaced with wood flooring through a nonprofit group called Rebuilding Together, and Taylor says she has seen marked improvement. “We haven’t been back to the hospital since then,” Taylor says.

Many homeowners may be unsuspecting victims of medical problems, from asthma attacks to lung cancer, caused by components and conditions in their houses, according to a new federal report.

More than 30 million homes have significant health issues, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. More than 20 million housing units have a lead-based paint hazard. And more than 6.8 million homes have radon exposures above the level at which remedial action should be taken, as determined by the EPA. Niagara Gazette

Help sellers get fair value for home’s

Help sellers get fair value for home’s ‘green’ features | Inman News

Quick Indoor Air Quality Facts http://ow

Quick Indoor Air Quality Facts