Chicago high rise creates “smart apartments”

CHICAGO (WLS) — Many of us already hear voice assistant technology like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home making life hands-free. These devices can perform tasks like a thermostat temperature change, playing music on demand and turning on your lights.

Now, local firms Golub & Company and Whiz Cribs are looking to make this tech central to their tenants’ lifestyles with “smart apartments.”

Their goal is to keep apartment renters connected while putting down their phones at home. Alexa helps achieve this by connecting popular smartphone applications and functions through its platform.

“We think this is a trend that’s going to continue to evolve in the marketplace and that there will be more and more features added through this infrastructure,” said Golub Senior Vice President Stephen Sise of the company’s decision to upgrade some luxury units in its Streeterville Moment building and others across the country.

That means new wiring and light switches installed to ensure overhead lighting can be controlled by Alexa. Golub will offer the same upgrade to any tenant who requests it. Sise says those tenants do not pay for installation fees, though rent will be higher for those who opt in. The extra money brings expertise from Whiz Cribs, which helps make the most of Alexa in your home by bridging “the gap between Alexa and their lifestyle and then incorporate it in their living,” explained Whiz Cribs Co-Founder Jordan Cooper.

Cooper says Google and Apple are making strides in voice assistant tech too, though he sees Amazon’s Alexa as the best platform for now.

Plus, as more home appliances develop voice assistant tech, Cooper believes Alexa will continue being compatible; smart apartments may be an investment speaking volumes about our future.


Golub & Company Named Illinois Family Business of the Year by Loyola University Chicago

Chicago-based Golub & Company, an international real estate investment and development firm, has been honored by the Family Business Center at Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business as the Illinois Family Business of the Year, in the medium-sized business category. In its 24th year, the awards program celebrates Illinois family businesses with a strong commitment to both business and family. In addition to business success, those recognized have demonstrated multi-generational family business involvement, contributions to industry and community, and innovative business practices and strategies.

Paula Harris, principal and senior vice president, accepted the award on behalf of Golub & Company and the entire family, including co-principals Michael Newman, president and CEO, and Lee Golub, executive vice president, her father Eugene Golub, founder and chairman of the board, and third generation family members Alex Newman, Laura Newman, Samantha Patinkin and Josh Patinkin.

“Working, building and growing a successful family business certainly isn’t easy, but it is one of the most thrilling and fulfilling things in life,” said Harris. “Instilled with our core values of honesty, integrity and respect, we’ve grown the company into an even stronger and more innovative entity in the real estate industry. And we’re laying the foundation for our family business future.”

Golub & Company was established in 1960 by Eugene Golub, and the company has since welcomed a second and third generation to the family business. Golub & Company has maintained a strong reputation as a real estate investment and development firm, and boasts a diverse portfolio of multi-family, office and mixed-use properties in the U.S. and Central Europe. The company also prides itself on being a good corporate citizen, supporting the Chicago-area community through the Golub Family Foundation and GoCommunity, its award-winning employee volunteering program.

For more information about the awards, visit

Michael Jordan Dunks a Restaurant into the Suburbs

His airness opens his first spot in the suburbs today, officially giving Oak Brook a Michael Jordan’s Restaurant. The restaurant, located in the Oak Brook 22 office and retail complex at 1225 W. 22nd Street, is a little different than his steakhouses on the Mag Mile, in Connecticut and Washington state: Its menu has steak but also focuses on Southern dishes including shrimp hush puppies and a pork chop sandwich. The large space includes a 90-seat bar, multiple private dining rooms, and more than 100 photos of MJ, according to a news release. A grab-and-go addition, MJ’s Coffee Bar and Market, is also slated to open there “in the coming weeks.”


Golub & Company and Alcion Ventures Acquire 300 South Wacker

Chicago-based Golub & Company, an international real estate investment and development firm, announced the acquisition today of 300 South Wacker, a 36-floor, class A office building, in a partnership with Boston-based real estate private equity firm Alcion Ventures. The new owners plan to expand on a 2014 renovation of the building with a focus on tenant experience and amenities.

“This area of South Wacker is poised for continuing high demand with the Union Station and Old Main Post Office redevelopments driving the neighborhood’s transformation,” said Michael Newman, CEO of Golub & Company. “Our renovation of 300 South Wacker will spotlight its attractive location and deliver the amenities and design today’s workforce is seeking.”

A team from Golub, led by Adam Short and Ania Najder, along with Alcion Ventures negotiated the transaction. The seller, Beacon Partners, was represented by JLL. JLL’s Managing Director Keith Largay also arranged financing for the deal through Deutsche Bank on behalf of the purchaser. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“This acquisition continues our strategy of investing in well-located value-added opportunities,” said Mark Potter, Co-Founder and Partner of Alcion Ventures. “We’re eager to bring a revitalized office option to Chicago businesses in this re-emergent area of the CBD.”

The 536,000-square-foot property, originally built in 1971, boasts unobstructed 360-degree views of downtown Chicago and is located directly on the Chicago River. The building also features smaller footplates of 16,000 square feet, allowing small to mid-size companies to occupy full floors. Other amenities include 24/7 staffed security, a 17-car executive parking facility, a new destination dispatch elevator system, and a fitness center. Planned updates will focus on the lobby, indoor and outdoor common areas, and a new tenant amenity lounge.

“The office market in Chicago’s central business district continues to be one of the strongest in the country, with limited opportunities to buy significant space along the coveted Wacker Drive corridor and extremely strong tenant demand,” said JLL International Director Bruce Miller. “Our purchaser recognized the strength of the Chicago market and had confidence this strength will continue for years to come.”

About Alcion Ventures
Founded in 2004, Alcion Ventures is a real estate investment manager with extensive experience of generating risk-adjusted returns for institutional investors through the active repositioning of assets across property types. Alcion’s senior team have worked together for almost two decades resulting in a disciplined, thesis-driven investment strategy that leverages a deep network of relationships and targets seven major North American cities. Based in Boston, Alcion invests on behalf of major U.S. and international institutional investors including public and private pensions, endowment and foundations and high net worth individuals. For more information, please visit

About Golub & Company LLC
Since its founding more than 55 years ago, with three generations of professionals working in the business, Golub & Company has built a strong reputation as a trusted co-investor and developer with its many institutional and private capital partners. It’s a reputation based on track record; Golub and its affiliates have owned, leased or managed more than 50 million square feet of commercial, mixed-use and multifamily real estate properties, including 45,000 residential units, valued in excess of $10 billion located across the United States and internationally. Access more information by visiting



When Joshua Bryan leaves his apartment to go to work, he travels up three stories, to the 40th floor of his building in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. There, he settles into a workspace with television screens, a kitchenette and sweeping views of Lake Michigan.

For meetings, Mr. Bryan books a first-floor conference room with teleconference equipment and interactive white boards for presentations. The building also has a fifth-floor “Makerspace,” a shared office area with personal computers, a 3-D laser printer and a computerized milling machine for cutting and shaping metal or wood.
“The communal workspace is pretty much the reason I chose this building,” says Mr. Bryan, who is 37 and owns the Chicago franchise of Poop 911, a company for dog-waste removal.
With his wife, Irene Rivera, a 36-year-old practitioner of alternative medicine, and cocker spaniels Gracie and Sophie, he rents a two-bedroom corner unit with floor-to-ceiling windows for $3,705 a month. Since moving there in December, Mr. Bryan has saved $1,500 a month in office rent he used to pay in a suburb—not counting the gas “and the years of my life sitting in Chicago traffic,” he says. Now, he likes to take work calls on a 40th-floor terrace, also equipped with TVs and Wi-Fi.

One of today’s most practical amenities in residential buildings: shared office space equipped with the latest tech and communications equipment. With more Americans working from home, architects and developers are designing spaces that spare residents from conducting business at a Starbucks . At Mr. Bryan’s building, 1001 South State, developer Golub & Co. hoped to build a creative, techie vibe for young professionals. The idea, says president and chief executive Michael Newman, was to differentiate the building and charge higher rents than what is typical for the neighborhood. Developers say amenities such as communal offices and gyms also keep revenue in the building, rather than residents paying for them elsewhere.

In 2016, 15 million workers, or 10% of the American workforce, were self-employed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Along with telecommuters, consultants and others with flexible schedules, they make up a sizable market of renters and home buyers in need of living space that fits their lifestyle. For single-family houses, home builders are now conceiving floorplans with fully wired “flex space” suitable as an office area. In apartment buildings, they are installing work lounges inspired by the creative work environments of the tech world—less business center and more cyber-café—with big windows, hip furniture and often, free coffee.

Shared office space reflects the tastes of young Americans growing into the real-estate market. Those in their 20s and 30s are more social than their parents were, architects say, and need larger spaces for public amenities and smaller private apartments. Whether at work or play, they note, young renters and buyers need functioning electronics, electrical outlets and Wi-Fi everywhere in a building. And even if freelancing, observers note, young adults crave the camaraderie that comes with an old-fashioned office.

“It’s not just giving them a space to work in the building, but a space to interact with fellow residents—for sharing ideas, social events and for being part of a bigger community,” says Rohit Anand, principal in the Tysons, Va., office of Irvine, Calif.-based KTGY Architecture + Planning.

Community was a draw for 31-year-old Michael Weinberger, who moved into a new KTGY-designed building in Washington, D.C., on April 12. The building, called AVA NoMa for its location in the bustling North of Massachusetts Avenue district, has an open-plan ground floor, where chill-out seating groups are adjacent to a long work table reminiscent of Apple Inc.’s Genius Bars.

Mr. Weinberger, a transportation planner with Rockville, Md.-based Foursquare ITP, works remotely two days a week and plans to use the space on those days. For meetings or Skype calls that require privacy, there are enclosed workstations with sliding doors.

“There was no other place that was going to make telework so convenient,” says Mr. Weinberger, who leases a 650-square-foot studio for $1,950 a month. The building’s open ground floor, he says, is “like I’m going to a coffee shop without going to a coffee shop.”

Mr. Weinberger also hopes to use other amenities, such as a bike-repair shop and yoga studio, now nearly ubiquitous in new buildings, along with pet spas, gyms and outdoor hot tubs. In most cases, renters don’t pay extra to use the amenities.

Even luxury condo developments lure buyers with facilities for at-home work. 50 West, a new residential tower in Manhattan’s Financial District, where a three-bedroom, 3,400-square-foot penthouse costs $24.5 million, lists a “laptop bar” among the amenities on its entertainment floor.

The building, designed by Chicago-based architect Helmut Jahn, also has 15 office condominiums with a separate entrance that residents can buy separately from their apartments. Prices for the office condos range from roughly $500,000 for a 260-square-foot space to $1.4 million for a 740-square-foot space.

The offices, which are set to be completed in the summer, are drawing interest from foreign buyers who need workspace when in New York, says Francis Greenburger, founder and chief executive of real-estate firm Time Equities Inc., which developed the building. He predicts that the suites will also appeal to New Yorkers like himself.

“I work a lot at the office, but I have adopted a mobile lifestyle, where I work from home early in the day and on weekends,” says Mr. Greenburger, who bought an office condo in the building to complement his main office on Fifth Avenue.

Self-employment rates are higher for older Americans than for younger workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and new homes targeting mature buyers reflect this trend.

At Chelsea Heights, a development in Silver Spring, Md., developer EYA built townhouses with a flex space on the ground floor, which many owners use as an office.

In 2015, Michael Shulman and Jackie Judd paid $950,000—more than they planned—for a 2,600-square-foot townhouse in Chelsea Heights. It has three bedrooms, along with flex space.

“The flexibility of the floorplan was very important to us,” says Mr. Shulman, a 60-year-old investment adviser who runs an online service called “Options Income Blueprint” from his townhome’s first-floor flex space. Ms. Judd, a freelance journalist, works on the townhome’s third floor, far away from her husband’s frequent webinars.

“We don’t get into each other’s way during the day,” says Mr. Shulman. “You know that old saying: I married you for better or for worse, but not for lunch.”



When city officials envisioned the Transbay district, the plan was to create an economically integrated neighborhood where luxury towers and affordable housing were built side by side.

Enter Golub & Co. and Multi-Employer Property Trust (MEPT), which won the rights to build a luxury tower with 409 condos on Transbay Block 6 and to partner with Mercy Housing on 70 affordable units.

But the development team didn’t have a partner at the city level to negotiate with. In 2012, San Francisco’s redevelopment agency was abolished. It look a year for its successor, the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, to be formed.

“We sat on our tail for a year, wondering what to do,” said principal Lee Golub of Golub & Co.

It was Mercy Housing’s Doug Shoemaker who came up with the final concept, Golub said. Instead of including the affordable housing in the tower, the developers bought out the affordable portion. Golub and its partners paid $24 million as a buyout, $14 million of which was used to build neighboring 280 Beale St., built by Mercy. The two buildings share a courtyard and garage.

The remaining buyout money is funding additional affordable housing across the street on Block 7, set to open in early 2018. The Block 7 project, originally planned for 80 units, now includes 120.

“We were the guinea pigs with the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure,” Golub said. “It took us a long time to negotiate the development agreement.”

At the time, it was a pioneering approach, with two separately owned and developed communities on the same block. Solaire, the market-rate project, is a 32-story LEED Gold tower with 402 apartments and seven townhomes. Solaire is nearly 80 percent leased. Mercy’s eight-story 280 Beale comprises 70 affordable homes.

“It was one of our most cost-effective projects,” Shoemaker said. “That had a lot to do with the fact that the market-rate and affordable (developers) shared a contractor and went out for bids together.”

The developers planned to open both buildings at the same time. But construction delays, including a glass shortage, pushed back Solaire’s opening to May 2016. 280 Beale opened in 2015.

The decision to split the market-rate and affordable units into two separate buildings made the development possible, Golub said.

“Otherwise,” he said, “we might have still been sitting here without a project.”

RESIDENTIAL – Solaire and 280 Beale
Location: Solaire at 299 Fremont St. and 280 Beale St.

Size: 409 market-rate units (Solaire) and 70 affordable apartments (280 Beale)

Cost: More than $200 million

Developers: Golub & Co. and MEPT (advised by Bentall Kennedy) and Mercy Housing California

Contractors: Balfour Beatty and Cahill Construction

Architects: Solomon Cordwell Buenz, Santos Prescott and Associates

Link: Solaire Awarded Real Estate Deal Of The Year


The Chicago Architecture Foundation hosted its 42nd Annual Benefit Gala on Thursday at Morgan MFG in Chicago where they debuted a graphic novel aimed at inspiring Chicago students.

During the event, CAF unveiled No Small Plans, a new graphic novel that serves as the center piece of a three-year civic education initiative. The graphic novel was inspired by the 1911 textbook that taught students about Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago, according to a statement from the foundation.

The money raised during the evening will kick start the funds CAF needs to get the graphic novel into the hands of 30,000 Chicago teens over a period of three years. The foundation hopes it will inspire high schoolers and catalyze conversations about what can make a neighborhood or city great.

According to CAF’s Kickstarter page, the foundation has already raised $38,251 nearly reaching its second stretch goal. Each book costs $10 to print and distribute so CAF will need to raise $300,000 in order to reach 30,000 students.

The Gala also recognized two community innovators for their impact on civic inclusion and engagement in Chicago, CAF said. Karen Case of The PrivateBank received the CAF Catalyst Award for her work in growing Chicago’s real estate and development. Golub & Co. was given the CAF Corporate Award for serving as one of the most vibrant and successful businesses for more than half a century.

Link: CAF Launches Citywide Civic Education Initiative At 42nd Annual Gala


“We’re a family business, that treats the business like a family,” is the Golub & Company motto, and the core of Paula Harris’ leadership success. The winner of this year’s 2017 CREW Chicago Industry Leadership Achievement Award, Harris is principal and senior vice president of Golub & Company, the business she has helped run for more than two decades, as part of a management team including her brother Lee Golub and brother-in-law Michael Newman.

CREW (Commercial Real Estate Executive Women) Chicago honored Harris, a longstanding CREW member and leader, with this award at a dinner at the Standard Club on March 9, 2017. The organization lauded Harris both for her leadership in one of Chicago’s most respected and successful real estate companies, and for her philanthropic efforts in the Chicago community and beyond.

A heartfelt video opened the evening, featuring Harris’ colleagues in the commercial real estate industry. The video described how Harris motivates and inspires not only Golub employees, but Chicago real estate professionals industry-wide, with her dedication to supporting the community through her work.

Next, Harris provided insights into her decades of leadership in a talk entitled, “The Art & Soul of a Family Business.” She discussed how Golub leadership aspires to continue the entrepreneurial spirit of her father Gene Golub, who began the business in 1960. Since that time, the company has successfully transitioned a second and third generation into the business, while also giving non-family employees opportunities to grow and lead.

Harris’ philanthropic efforts were also highlighted. In 1996, she and her sister-in-law Amy Harris launched the “Paint The Town Pink” initiative for breast cancer awareness, a cause significant to Harris as a breast cancer survivor. The program, launched in Chicago, continues to spread to numerous buildings and monuments around the world – from the White House to the Sydney Opera House. Harris also spearheads Golub’s new internal volunteer program, GoCommunity, which gives Golub employees paid time off to volunteer in small groups for organizations that make a difference in their communities.

The inspiring event, which drew more than 300 Chicago-area commercial real estate professionals, culminated with CREW honoring its 2017 scholarship recipients. The four grantees received scholarships intended to help pursue educational opportunities that will further their careers in commercial real estate in the Chicago-area.


Golub & Company and Diversified Real Estate Capital today announce that they have completed a transaction with Chase Bank to open a retail branch at the new Sienna apartment community, located in Streeterville at 423 Ohio Street. The new branch will occupy 3,600 square feet on Sienna’s ground level and represents a relocation of a branch from approximately two blocks south. It is expected to open in spring 2017. Sienna, which opened to residents in September 2016, offers 50 best-in-class, boutique apartments and features spacious, contemporary design amidst the lively Streeterville neighborhood.

“We’re pleased to continue our relationship with Chase Bank, which began when they located their branch in Orrington Plaza in Evanston,” said Golub & Company President and CEO Michael Newman. “At Sienna, residents enjoy intimate surroundings with all the benefits of a downtown location; adding a neighborhood Chase branch makes living at Sienna and other buildings nearby even more convenient.”

Chase was drawn to Sienna by its pedestrian-friendly location near businesses, retail, and entertainment destinations, as well as by the building’s community-oriented attributes. Sienna’s amenities include a furnished rooftop deck with grilling stations, a fitness center, smartphone video intercom system at the building’s main entry, automated package pick-up system, bike storage, a dog run and pet grooming station, and Wi-Fi in common areas. For more information about the building, visit

About Golub & Company LLC
Since its founding more than 55 years ago, with three generations of professionals working in the business, Golub & Company has built a strong reputation as a trusted co-investor and developer with its many institutional and private capital partners. It’s a reputation based on track record; Golub and its affiliates have owned, leased or managed more than 50 million square feet of commercial, mixed-use and multifamily real estate properties, including 45,000 residential units, valued in excess of $10 billion located across the United States and internationally. Access more information by visiting

About Diversified Real Estate Capital, LLC
Diversified is a real estate investment company founded in 2003 by Larry Levy, Mike Miller and Jeff Cherner. The company partners with top tier developers and owners to provide equity for institutional quality real estate investments. Diversified is funded by high net worth family office investors seeking above market returns. Since its inception the company has developed and owned over $2 Billion worth of real estate nationwide.

Link: Sienna Residential Midrise In Streeterville To Add Chase Bank Branch


Since last summer, rental towers have been popping up all over downtown Chicago — and the boom shows no signs of slowing down. Here, we highlight 5 of the most decadent apartment buildings to move into now, and 5 to keep an eye on in the coming year.
(excerpt below)

Creativity is encouraged at this new apartment tower, and the modern units are a perfect blank canvas.
Selling point: Forget looking for the nearest Divvy port — 1001 offers its own bike-share program. Home chefs can pick fresh herbs from the living Biowall, and engineers can tinker in the Makerspace, complete with a 3-D printer.
What’s nearby: The South Loop is on the rise, so you’ll see more and more in the coming months and years. For now, you’re steps from the basic necessities (aka Target) and gorgeous public parks, and don’t miss Eleven City Diner for breakfast.
Opt for: Apartment 3904 faces southeast, getting gorgeous morning light.
The need-to-know: Studio, one-, two- and three-bed units start at $1,750. 1001 S. State, (312) 212-1001;

Defying the notion that the Loop is all business suits and power lunches, Marquee is a chic new residential addition.
Selling point: Not only does this building have a high-end fitness center, it offers daily fitness classes — led by instructors from Orange Theory, CrossTown Fitness and more — complimentary to residents.
What’s nearby: Block 37 shopping center has a newly expanded Zara and underground pedway straight to the Red Line, and theater buffs couldn’t get any closer to the stage.
Opt for: Unit 3725 — the biggest two-bed, two-bath — has vaulted 10.5-foot windows.
The need-to-know: Studio, one-, two- and three-bed units start at $1,915. 25 W. Randolph, (312) 372-3737;

Link: On The Rise