Jay Michael, the co-founder and managing partner of Cedar St. Cos., one of the busiest developers in Chicago, passed away Friday, January 8 after a year-long fight with stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In addition to his career in real estate development, Michael was also one of the cast members of the Bravo show 100 Days of Summer. A self-described "lifestyle architect," Michael was keen on good design and played a major role in launching the FLATS Chicago line of apartment buildings, as well as Chicago's Heritage Bicycles. And while Michael earned praise from design enthusiasts, affordable housing advocates often cried foul at Cedar Street's formula of purchasing derelict buildings and rehabbing them as hip and somewhat pricey micro apartments. However, over the last few years, Michael and Alex Samoylovich, a lifelong friend and partner at Cedar Street, quickly became one of the busiest and most successful duos in Chicago real estate.
And as much as Michael was a true developer, he was also represented what could be considered the anti-developer. Michael cared for design, preservation and function, and his focus on these aspects of development served as the foundation for Cedar Street's success. Major projects include the renovation and overhaul of the historic Bush Temple of Music in the Gold Coast, the redevelopment of the Combined Insurance office complex in Uptown, and the redevelopment of the former Salvation Army Freedom Center campus located in the Near West Side.
A true believer in good design and micro-living, Michael practiced what he preached. In June 2014, Michael invited Curbed to tour his own personal residence at his No. 5411 Flats building in Edgewater. In addition to Michael, other FLATS dwellers invited us to explore their micro apartments to get a look at what it's really like to live in a 300-square-foot space.
Michael, who had written extensively about his battle with cancer, worked through his illness to ensure that projects were moving along. Michael's funeral service will take place tomorrow afternoon.
·Previous FLATS Chicago coverage [Curbed Chicago]