Two former suburban residents have returned to the area to snap up distressed properties, including the Metrolofts in downtown Arlington Heights for $3.89 million. And they said Friday they plan to buy more.
Attorney Rob Oliver, 33, a former Mount Prospect resident, and real estate investor Jeff Steinberg, 31, a former Arlington Heights resident, founded SO Holdings LLC in 2009 and the firm closed on the Metrolofts earlier this month. The firm now has a portfolio of about 300 condo and rental properties in Lombard, Buffalo Grove, Skokie, Niles, Chicago and elsewhere, and more acquisitions are planned, Oliver said.
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"We're very bullish on the Northwest suburbs," Steinberg said, adding, "especially those with suburban downtowns near the train station."
Oliver and Steinberg, who each live in Chicago, said they specialize in acquiring distressed properties, including foreclosures and short sales. Oliver is also an attorney for Chicago-based Beaulieu Law Offices PC.
Besides Metrolofts, at 10-12 S. Dunton Ave., their firm owns other Arlington Heights properties at 509 N. Dunton, 205 W. Miner and 120 N. Lincoln.
The Metrolofts originally was developed by Banbury Metrolofts LLC, led by Arlington Heights-based Metroscapes LLC. But Banbury filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and the sale of the property went to BMO Harris, which provided the loan to Banbury. A BMO Harris spokeswoman and the attorney representing Banbury did not immediately respond.
"The opportunity was brought to us and we decided to close on it," Oliver said of Metrolofts.
Metrolofts also has 55 condos, including 35 units sold to consumers and another 20 units used as rentals. Rent starts at $1,700 a month.
When those leases come due from the residential tenants, Oliver and Steinberg said they will "re-evaluate" their options.
The building also has more than 8,000 square feet that includes La Roca Tapas restaurant, Vintages wine store, and an Ameriprise Financial office. Two more commercial tenants are being sought, the men said.
"It was in a very attractive downtown area, just near the train, and rentals are a niche market for us," Oliver said.
The condo market is also picking up, making a building like Metrolofts an attractive buy in a busy downtown area, Oliver said.
Arlington Heights village and chamber of commerce officials said they would help seek potential tenants for the building, said Bill Enright, Arlington Heights deputy director of planning and commercial development.
"It's a good sign that there's so much interest in our downtown," Enright said. "Just a few years ago, Dunton Towers sold for about $40 million and the Hancock Square sold for about $80 million, which all shows there's positive interest in real estate and in our downtown area."