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High-End Apartment Rentals Booming Near Downtown

The new K2 apartment tower. (CBS)

The new K2 apartment tower. (CBS)

Derrick Blakley Derrick Blakley
Derrick Blakley is a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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(CBS) – There’s a new wave of luxurious, residential towers about to hit Chicago, part of a high-rise building boom.

But you can’t buy a place to live there. You can only rent one, CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports.

At 34 stories high, K2 in the Fulton River district is Chicago’s first residential high rise to open this year. The nearly 500 apartments have dramatic views. But the most eye-popping features are for playing.

Darryl Dee, 26, is one of the first tenants.

“I think if I’m renting, I think it’s only fair that you have those types of great services,” Dee says.

Services like a swanky theater room with a Hollywood-sized, 185-inch screen; two dramatic lounges for relaxing and drinking; a high-tech workout room and a basketball half-court that doubles as a yoga studio.

These are features most condo owners would die for. But K2’s developers say most new downtown residents don’t want to buy.

“Having heard the horror stories of their friends who bought condos that are now worth less than the mortgages, they are preferring to rent,” Steven Fifield said.

K2 is just the start. Within the next four years, more than 5,000 units of high-rise luxury rentals are scheduled to hit downtown Chicago. Experts believe the demand is there.

One reason for the demand: continued job growth downtown. That includes the 2,500 Google employees moving this spring from Libertyville to the Merchandise Mart.

Those amenities don’t come cheap: K2 rents range from $1,650 a month for a studio to $6,500 a month for a three-bedroom, three-bath penthouse.