Filming Begins in Elmhurst for New ‘Million Dollar Listing’ Reality TV Series


by Dave Noble, Entertainment Editor

ELMHURST – Move over New York, Miami and San Francisco! The city of Elmhurst is ready to be featured in the next series spin-off from the hit Bravo cable television reality show “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles”. Set to air this fall, shooting for “Million Dollar Listing Elmhurst” began earlier this month. The series chronicles the professional and personal lives of local real estate agents and the whirlwind adventures of selling high-end residential properties in Elmhurst.

“There’s a lot of competitiveness in the real estate market here, and some juicy storylines,” said series producer Ralph Gunner, who selected Elmhurst as the location for the fourth spin-off of Million Dollar Listing based on its rising million-dollar home sales and the propensity of Elmhurst homebuyers to tear down perfectly good houses and replace them with “McMansions” that often occupy up 95% of the lot size. “By the time we’re done filming this spring, we’ll have enough material for two or three seasons of shows.”

One of the agents featured on the series is Schiller Real Estate’s Mike Sparrow, known for being the man who not only sold the most expensive house ever listed in Elmhurst, but managed to unload a famously difficult property that had been on the market for more than ten years.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to close the deal,” said Sparrow, who in the opening episode slips one client a pair of free tickets to an Elmhurst College men’s basketball game and is later shown closing a deal with another client during the Turtle Racing Finals at The Club Shot & Beer. “If I have to wine and dine a client to make the deal, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

The series also features some of the home buyers, who are typically a husband and wife from Chicago with two kids, a disposable income and an urge to live in the Bank Robbery and Lost Dog Capital of the Western Suburbs. Agent Suzanne Phelps of Berkshire Hathaway is featured in an episode trying to meet the eccentric wishes of one couple who will only look at homes that are less than six months old and have a direct view of Wilder Mansion, The Prairie Path or Salt Creek.

“Most families looking at million-dollar listings just want an outdoor fireplace, an in-ground pool and a couple of media rooms,” said a frustrated Phelps in a scene filmed outside of Ace Hardware, where the 30-year veteran of the Elmhurst real estate market came up empty in her search for a water feature of any kind that would have been used to depict Salt Creek for her clients. “But I seem to get all the most difficult buyers.”

Local viewers will recognize various parts of Elmhurst that serve as a picturesque backdrop throughout the series, including the town’s majestic parking garages, empty downtown storefronts, and the quarry.  

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Ashamed Residents Hope New Metra Station Will Mask Elmhurst ‘Ugliness’

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Residents and business owners expressing feelings of “disgrace” and “embarrassment” during a Metra Station Workshop held at City Hall Wednesday night pleaded with local officials to disguise the increasingly “repulsive” views of Elmhurst that thousands of commuters see on a daily basis and requested an array of alluring and exotic upgrades to the city’s train station and surrounding elements to promote local shopping and incite jealousy from members of other communities.

In what was deemed as the “start to the planning and design process” for identifying potential upgrades to the depot building, platforms, and other features of the station, attendees at the workshop often focused more on what riders see from the train rather than what the 2,300 weekday boarders experience.

“We need a way to hide the mammoth Addison Street parking garage and anything else that looks like it was built in the last 30 years,” said lifelong Elmhurst resident Meredith Bruno, who stated that she last used the train in 1981 to attend a Blue Öyster Cult concert at the old Chicago Amphitheater. “I think they should throw a giant tarp over the parking garage so people will instead notice our long-standing core businesses like Ace Hardware and 7-Eleven.”

The number of retail vacancies seen by train riders – particularly the boarded-up storefront at the northwest corner of First and York streets – was another discussion point at the workshop. Representatives on hand from the professional design team CDM Smith listened to the concerns of residents and suggested a temporary “We Sell Guns!” sign for the high-visibility location to highlight a distinct Elmhurst shopping advantage.  

Proposals to improve the train depot included turning “Pilot Pete’s Coffee and Treats” into a hookah lounge to attract more hipsters and Uber drivers to the area, and ambitious plans to expand the walkway underneath the train tracks into a dimly-lit maze with numerous dead ends and spaces for people to rest in privacy.

“I’m for anything that takes away from the humiliation I feel when I board the train each morning,” said Elmhurst resident and frequent Metra user Tim Miller. “I can tell that people are looking at me and thinking ‘You live here?’.”

Breaking: Ace Hardware Associate Begrudgingly Places Snow Blowers Back on Display

  

by Dave Noble, City News Editor 

ELMHURST – Moments after opening for business at 8:00 a.m. this morning, First Street Ace Hardware Lawn and Garden Associate Luke Bingham was ordered to immediately pull all patio furniture, gas grills and other Outdoor Living items from the front sidewalk and replace them with snow blowers.

“It’s supposed to be 60 degrees tomorrow,” said Bingham, angrily pushing a four-wheel cart full of lawn seed and fertilizer toward the stock room.  “The snow isn’t even sticking to the ground.”

Despite earning the same hourly wage during his scheduled six-hour shift today regardless of what he is asked to do at the store, Bingham stated that he’s simply more comfortable working with spring and summer items like planters and pest control.

“I was planning on putting together two bird houses this morning and stringing some patio lights down Aisle 3,” added Bingham.  “Frankly, I haven’t had the proper training to sell snow blowers.”

Store Manager Tony Martz was unavailable for comment.