A new, expensive neighborhood begins at NorthShore 770

Left to right, Morningside Group's David Strosberg and Brian Pawlik, Northbrook Village Trustee Michael Scolaro and grocery CEO Bob Mariano get ready for the Aug. 13 groundbreaking of NorthShore 770. | Irv Leavitt/Sun-Times Media
Left to right, Morningside Group's David Strosberg and Brian Pawlik, Northbrook Village Trustee Michael Scolaro and grocery CEO Bob Mariano get ready for the Aug. 13 groundbreaking of NorthShore 770. | Irv Leavitt/Sun-Times Media

NORTHBROOK — Who is it all for?

Developers and politicians gathered at Dundee Road and Skokie Boulevard Aug. 13 to thank each other and themselves for their parts in getting to the ground-breaking for $140 million dollars worth of NorthShore 770, and encourage people to want to move there.

With only a few shovels-full of dirt turned, it was hard to picture a 347-unit apartment building rising over 100 feet in the air on the north side of the long-vacant property, filled with — whom?

Who will populate this dense new neighborhood, when doors open around December 2015?

Builder David Strosberg doesn’t expect the residents of what he’s now calling “ultra-luxury apartments” to be the kind of people who usually live in Chicago-area apartments. Working people unready to buy homes, or saving for them, are unlikely to spend between about $1,900 and $2,700 a month – topping at $3,500 – for one- or two-bedroom units, just to swim in the pool and exercise in the fitness center.

But he also doesn’t expect a revolving door of executive trouble-shooters, coming and going for temporary jobs. People will stay for years, he maintained.

“A lot of empty-nesters, snowbirds,” he said.

At that price, why not own a condominium?

“Ownership is a hassle. This is maintenance-free. A maintenance crew and a doorman take care of everything. No problem.”

Northbrook Trustee Todd Heller, shrugging, said he could see people from Glencoe, Highland Park and Northbrook leaving the homes where they raised their kids and moving to The Residences of NorthShore 770. “Winnetka,” added Strosberg.

Glencoe empty-nesters may be the prototype. In that landlocked town, there are few places to go after selling a big house. And for many of the residents there, Skokie Boulevard is already a familiar shopping destination.

Don’t expect any kids, Strosberg’s wife Jori said.

“I’m in real estate, and I can tell you, one and two-bedroom units are really not conducive to kids,” she said.

Heller wasn’t so sure. “I can really see people getting into the school district (28 and 225) this way,” especially divorced women, he said.

“If they’re going to do that, they’ll rent a house,” David Strosberg said.

Everybody gathering around the post-ground-breaking conversation agreed that the other side of typical family break-ups would be a key 770 resident.

“Divorced dads,” David Strosberg said. “Looking for a place not far from their kids.”

And where will they all shop? For groceries, by next summer, there will be the new 71,000 square-foot Mariano’s right on the 770 site. Or, if they prefer, there is the Garden Fresh Market and Trader Joe’s, a couple of minute’s drive north in the Village Square Shopping Center.

Heller suspects there will be a shakeout among grocery stores converged on Northbrook.

Who will be shook, it’s hard to say. “It’s not going to be Sunset,” he was sure.

Bob Mariano said the shakeout may have already occurred. “Thirty-five (of 72) Dominick’s are still closed,” he said.

There are no unfilled Dominick’s holes nearby. Mariano’s has moved into the one in Northfield, Joe Caputo & Son’s Fruit Market into the one in Sanders Court, and Heinen’s into the long-vacant Dominick’s space in downtown Glenview. And Mariano’s has moved into south and west Glenview, on properties where no groceries stood before.

“Only time will tell,” Mariano said.

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