Eddystone 3-Bedroom “Mansion in the Sky” Reduced to $699K: 421 W. Melrose in Lakeview

We’ve been following this 3-bedroom duplex up vintage gem in The Eddystone at 421 W. Melrose in Lakeview since 2008.

In that time, the price has been reduced $1,191,000 to $699,000.

We last chattered about it in August 2010 when it had been reduced to $999,000. See that chatter here.

Back in 2010, Laura chimed in that she didn’t think it would sell for over $700,000, especially with the high assessments.

If you recall, the unit has amazing vintage details from wood paneled walls, plaster ceilings, leaded and stained glass, and original moldings.

There is a limestone fireplace and paneled first floor study.

This is detail work usually found only in the most luxurious of properties.

You can see more details of the craftsmanship in a post from Craigslist here.

Remember, the kitchen was also recently added. It has maple cabinets, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

This unit does not have central air and does not have parking (but that is available for lease next door for $200 a month.)

The unit DOES have an in-unit washer/dryer and pets are allowed.

Will this go back to the 1999 price?

This is a condo (not a co-op) so taxes are NOT included in the assessment.

Paul Gorney at Prudential Rubloff now has the listing. See the pictures here

Unit #14-15C: 3 bedrooms, 4 baths, no square footage listed (but craigslist ad says 4,000 square feet)

  • Sold in February 1999 for $450,000
  • Was listed in November 2008 for $1.89 million
  • Reduced
  • Withdrawn
  • Re-listed in July 2010 for $1.1 million
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in August 2010 at $999,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $699,000
  • Taxes of $12201
  • Assessments of $2,878 a month (includes heat, electric, gas, doorman, cable)
  • No central air- window units only
  • Parking is leased next door for $200 a month
  • Washer/Dryer now in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 18×13 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 16×11 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 16×13 (main floor)
  • Library: 15×13 (second floor)
  • Laundry room: 5×5 (second floor)

20 Responses to “Eddystone 3-Bedroom “Mansion in the Sky” Reduced to $699K: 421 W. Melrose in Lakeview”

  1. As I said back then, this is a really rare, beautiful, exceptional place but this is a very high-maintenance building. This is a very difficult unit to own. It is really just for person who has a guaranteed before-tax income of $12,000 a month, if s/he paid cash for the place and has no mortgage.

    If you need a mortgage, you might not be qualified to own this place, because these assessments aren’t going away and aren’t going to get any lower, especially if natural gas prices should start to rise to parity with oil prices. I see energy costs going nowhere but up over the next few decades.

    Delightful place, though. Wish I could afford it.

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  2. This is a cool place to own, and live in, but I think that it will continue to be a really tough to sell in todays market.

    All aboard for the rental market next stop…rental market.

    Someone out there will pay too much for a year or two of really cool rental space. Always another show off my place punk that will part with too much cash to make an impression for a year or two of life before figuring things out.

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  3. was totally sold on this place and its awesomeness until i saw the kitchen,
    WTF?

    all i can say is WOW, not just because the ass fee that dang kitchen

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  4. what on earth explains those assessments? is Rahm Emmanuel the doorman? it’s awesome, but really for someone who loves the detailing and for whom money is no object.

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  5. I can’t make up my mind about this place. It certainly does have an allure. The place is far short of being a real luxury condo as of right now though, whoever buys it will likely put a lot more money into it. Combine that with no central air (seriously?), no parking and the high assessments means this still has a way to fall.

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  6. SoPoCo Lurker on March 16th, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    “Was listed in November 2008 for $1.89 million”

    Oh man, what a dreamer. And you know this person had $2.89 million in their head before the crash. So when Lehman happened they thought “lop off a million from the fair value” and offer it up at $1.89 million.

    I’m not convinced this is worth more than the 1999 price of $450. Maybe someone could find a convincing comp. I couldn’t.

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  7. What’s in the one really dark room? It reminds me of a museum where they keep the gems in dark rooms, in lit boxes.

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  8. The photography is terrible.

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  9. Reminds me of the Romeo and Juliet suites at the Peabody.

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  10. If this is anywhere close to 4000 feet, I’d say it’s worth close to asking price–even if some work is needed (and even with the sky high assessments, though 4000 sq. feet of vintage in a doorman building would rarely have assessments much below $2000). Even budgeting for adding spacepak cooling and other updates, this would be a truly unique, irreplaceable family-sized home.

    But, from the room dimensions, it seems likely to me that this is much closer to 3000 square feet, so that would alter my estimate!

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  11. Laura,

    I agree with you except on natural gas prices, which as you may have noticed are at decade lows. While it’s doubtful they’ll stay this low, it’s unlikely they’ll rise to the levels oil is at, simply because the U.S. has so much of its own natural gas (in other words we’re not import dependent, as we are on oil). Also, although demand is strong for natural gas imports in places like Japan, exporting the stuff is a lot more difficult than exporting oil (you have to convert natural gas to liquid to get it overseas). So it’s likely staying here, whether we need it or not. I see prices staying on the low side for years to come.

    The exception to this would be if we got smart and started using liquid natural gas as a substitute for gasoline. It costs thousands to convert cars and trucks to run on natural gas in its gas state, but only a few hundred dollars each to build cars that can run on liquid natural gas as well as gasoline. Seems like a logical investment.

    That said, this place is way too expensive to maintain, with or without high natural gas prices. Amazing that it’s come down almost 50%. I’ve always liked this building, but you’ve got to wonder what sort of issues it has with its board. Even 2 bedrooms here have pretty high assessments (over $1,000 I believe). And again, no parking. Not exactly luxurious to have to park in another building and then walk through snow and cold to get to the condo for which you’re paying $3,000 a month just on assessments.

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  12. It’s unlikely that the Craigslist ad was placed by the agent. Big tipoff: no name in the ad, which would be a violation of state law.

    Disclosure: Prudential Rubloff is one of our print advertising clients.

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  13. Dan, I could talk gas supplies with you all day and how the supply is really more like 20 years than 100, but don’t get me started. Suffice it to say that we’d best all prepare for vastly higher gas prices in a few years. I’m bracing myself and part of my condo budget is a fund to be used to winterize my unit with the beefiest insulation I can afford to install. I’m studying winterization right now so that I can have it done correctly without altering the appearance of my place.

    This building has always been very high maintenance. Part of it is that the building has a HUGE payroll. I question the necessity of a 24-hour desk, as well as so many people working to maintain the place daily, but that is what the people who live here want and are willing to pay for. This building has a very high level of service and the owner/residents like it that way. I wouldn’t try to change the building culture, which I feel is a very arrogant thing for a new owner to try to do, so I figure the best thing to do is look for a place with lower costs, which most people will do. Hence the dropping price of this unit.

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  14. This price is reasonable given the square foot. The problem is that if your buying 4000 square foot at this assessment level, you want air and parking included.

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  15. I agree laura. I don’t get how many staff they need to keep on the payroll. I always see 2 or 3 guys in my building going around doing this and that. It is not like they need to vacuum the hallway every day or so.

    “I question the necessity of a 24-hour desk, as well as so many people working to maintain the place daily, but that is what the people who live here want and are willing to pay for. This building has a very high level of service and the owner/residents like it that way. “

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  16. Wonderful property great space. The propblem with this building is the monthly assessments are out of control. No parking is also a big issue.

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  17. miumiu, while in my extravagant 20s, way back in the Jurraisic Age, I lived in a series of 20s vintage high rises in St Louis, one of which was designed by the same architect who did 3830 N Lake Shore Drive and 1242 N Lake Shore. My building was a smaller version of 3830, with EXACTLY the same architecture, configuration, details, and trim, only a smaller apartment, a 1400 sq ft 2 bed 1 bath. The building was really, really well-serviced, with a maid cleaning and vacuuming the halls every day, doormen 24 hours, a maintenance staff of 3 engineers who answered your call within a half hour. I have never before or since been so spoiled and pampered, and didn’t appreciate what all this cost. I handed out eleven boxes of candy on Christmas to all the help. The owner was a nice, wealthy, generous man who was really undercharging for these great apartments and starting to run losses, so he sold it to a condo developer from Chicago, Cliff Drosda, who went on to build 1 Mag Mile a couple of decades later. The spoiled tenants realized what a gift they’d been getting when the building converted. I didn’t buy because I had been spending every dime I made as fast as I got it.

    This kind of service used to be normal in fine high rises but it is exceptional now because it is very costly. Also, these buildings were built when coal cost $4 a ton. They need extensive weatherization to keep their heating costs under control. That’s why so many converted to condo or co-op in the 70s to begin with- because that was the decade of the first major energy shocks and the cost of operating these places began to spiral out of control, while the tenants would not pay the kind of rents needed to run them. Most of these places were rentals for decades before, when high-income urbanites lived for decades in the same luxury apartments. When the exodus to the burbs began, these buildings began to flounder, and the energy crunch of the 70s finished them off as rentals. The people who own and run these places now need to work seriously on making these places more energy efficient or they will become unlivable.

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  18. Excellent post, Laura. Thank you!

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  19. Wow, what a cool home! Reminds me, randomly enough, of the miniature rooms at the AIC. Not my personal style but this is a really unique property.

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  20. “It’s unlikely that the Craigslist ad was placed by the agent. Big tipoff: no name in the ad, which would be a violation of state law.”

    Looks like JZ has been reading his continuing education workbooks. Good job, JZ!

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