The developer building these is streamlining costs by building all of these properties in almost identical fashion, passing those savings on to the buyer. Hence, these are not built to spec.
For a buyer looking to get out of the generic new construction that plagued Chicago over the last decade, this is the latest trend to hit the city. Not quite sure if it's a plague or blessing.
The homes have modern open layouts. The finishes are of the sleek Ikea mindset, and they have basements with massive ceilings, ideal for entertainment megaplexes, photo studios or jungle gyms.
I've poked around several of them, and have found the quality of construction, in terms of mechanicals and exposed piping to be of a higher than average quality. It's too early to tell how they will hold up over the long term.
As far as "green" goes...they are basically highly insulated homes, with quality (no plastic wrap in wintertime) windows, energy efficient furnaces and tankless hot water. They aren't geothermally cooled or built with recycled materials. But you'll still save on energy costs versus a typical vintage, non-rehabbed home.
What's the gotcha? Aesthetically, you'll have a similar home to a lot of people as they continue to build more of these. But otherwise, you are getting a decent price because the developer is taking advantage of low land prices, locating in the 'border' areas just outside the last development craze, and streamlining their building costs by building the exact same house.
I'm a cynic, but I find clients who are tired of vintage Chicago, are craving these places. And I've come around to see their side. Ask to wander the models. You might be a convert too.