Communal movie theater, 24/7 coffee service, and rent of about $2,000 a month for a one-bedroom sound like features of a luxury high-rise downtown. Here’s what’s different about the new rental building Elmhurst 255: it’s 19 miles west of the Loop, at the intersection of Addison (not that one) and North Avenue (yes, that one) in Elmhurst.
The least expensive option is a 545-square-foot studio that starts at $1,432 per month. Rents climb from there, topping $4,000 for the priciest layout, a 1,505-square-foot three-bedroom, two-bath unit.
Each apartment in the building features an open floor plan, private outdoor space, plank floors, and kitchens decked out with stainless steel appliances, 42-inch cabinets, and a breakfast bar. Most apartments also have spacious walk-in closets—some have more than one. Plus, the six-story building has a fitness center with spin bikes, outdoor fire pits to enjoy when days are too cold to hop in the heated pool, a sundeck and bocce ball court, and private and communal work spaces.
But can a suburban building really command rents almost as high as Printers Row or Lakeshore East? Elmhurst 255’s management team certainly hopes so, and some real estate experts say the prices may be warranted. “It’s the first of its kind in the area, so they’re sort of setting the bar for pricing,” says David Fidanza, a Redfin real estate agent who has 15 years of experience in Elmhurst and lived in the suburb nearly as long. “As for whether they’ll fill up at those prices, time will tell, but I think they very well may.”
Newly constructed apartments downtown average $2.81 per square foot, and though suburban rents have been rising, they still average a fraction of that at $1.34 per square foot, the Chicago Tribune reported earlier this year. Elmhurst 255 is priced at between $2.08 and $2.87 a square foot before factoring in the current special of one free month when signing a lease for longer than 13 months.
Last month Zillow announced that Chicago-area rents would increase an average of 1 percent in the next year—in Elmhurst, the real estate website predicted a 4 percent increase. That’s a testament to Elmhurst’s market, which is on fire right now, Fidanza says. The median sale price in August this year was $412,000, up from $280,000 in January 2012. These days, new homes in Elmhurst sometimes list for over $1 million.
Proximity to the city is a big part of the suburb's popularity. Elmhurst 255 is a three-block walk to the Metra train, which takes less than 30 minutes to get downtown. “Also, there are very few condos in the area, so for someone who wants to live in a high-end, smaller space in Elmhurst, this may be the answer,” Fidanza says.
The building has found some takers already: over 25 percent of the building’s 192 apartments were filled as of early November, one month after the building officially opened, according to Alison Solway, a marketing manager for Morningside, which manages Elmhurst 255.