You Don’t Have to Be Rich to Live in Vintage Grandeur: 421 W. Melrose in Lakeview

421 w melrose approved

This 1-bedroom in The Eddystone at 421 W. Melrose in Lakeview came on the market in May 2014.

The Eddystone was built in 1929 and as you can guess from the date, that proved problematic.

Designed by Holabird & Root, it was originally supposed to take up most of a city block and encompass over 2,000 apartments around a central courtyard.

However, the stock market crash intervened and portions of the building were abandoned by the developer. The current building was all that was built.

It now has just 77 units on 22 floors.

But the vintage grandeur is still there.

This 1-bedroom unit has the large rooms associated with buildings of this era and includes a full-sized dining room and a 10×10 foyer. The foyer is almost larger than many bedrooms we’ve chattered about in other newer buildings.

While the fireplace is decorative, the unit has extensive crown molding, herringbone floors, barrel vaulted ceilings and arched doorways.

The kitchen has white cabinets with a Subzero refrigerator, stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops.

While it has in-unit washer/dryer there is no central air (it has window units).

Parking is also leased.

The listing says it will escrow $10,000 for a special assessment on the windows over the next 12 months. The listing says it has north, south, east and west exposures.

Originally listed in May for $245,000, it has been reduced to $225,000.

Is Chicago one of the best kept urban secrets in the United States?

Joan Watson at Baird & Warner has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #15B: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 1250 square feet

  • Sold in February 2002 for $200,000
  • Sold in April 2007 for $220,000
  • Originally listed in May 2014 for $245,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $225,000
  • Assessments of $892 a month (includes heat, water, gas, doorman, cable)
  • Taxes of $3624
  • No central air- window units
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Leased parking
  • Bedroom: 29×12
  • Living room: 27×14
  • Dining room: 17×12
  • Kitchen: 13×10
  • Foyer: 10×10

18 Responses to “You Don’t Have to Be Rich to Live in Vintage Grandeur: 421 W. Melrose in Lakeview”

  1. Gorgeous and perfect- any imperfections are minor and easily altered to suit your personal taste. I have always loved this building and would be very strongly tempted by this unit were it not for the elevated cost of running this place. The level of service in this building is very high, and you have to pay for that.

    This being a B tier unit, methinks it was made smaller to enlarge another,adjacent unit, because the B tier is usually a 2 bed 2 bath. It is much larger than the A tier 1 bedrooms. It’s in overall good condition, with room for improvement here and there, according to preference.

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  2. AND an in-unit washer/dryer! What more could you want? If you are not so unrealistic as to want to park a car in that nabe, the place is perfect.

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    Rating: +3 (from 5 votes)
  3. It better be perfect those HOA’s are ridiculous for a 1 bedroom

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    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  4. That’s what drives people away from these fine old buildings- the HOAs, which run the scale from too high to flat outrageous. The Eddystone has always had really high HOAs, though I note that this building’s HOAs are lower than they used to be.

    We who own in these old buildings and love living in them, need to work to reduce the operating expenses of our places NOW, while oil is still cheap. Believe me when I tell you that the current low energy prices are not only temporary, but will lead to the mother of all supply squeezes in the not-distant future. Now is the time to weatherize our buildings and reduce their operating costs, because there is a real risk that future super-high energy costs and scarcity could render them unlivable. I am very worried about my own place.

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  5. Exactly, 900 bucks at these low rates can sure buy a lot of house, that right there is about 200k @ 3.5% 30 year fixed

    even if they are half that, that is a big portion for the how much a month club.

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    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  6. You have to consider what the HOA includes. In the case of this and other older buildings that are still heated by a central boiler, the heat is included in the HOA, and that is a pretty big item. There’s an advantage in knowing what your cost will be, and in main, a central boiler is more efficient than individual furnaces. Some of the owners in my place favor converting my building to individual furnaces, but I don’t want to think of 9 individual gas furnaces and gas pipelines and in any case, installing the ducts and furnace would wreck the architecture and consume a closet.

    On the other hand, younger buyers in especial like to be able to control their heat, and what they spend on it.

    The important thing is to know what your HOA includes, and do the numbers to see if a higher HOA that includes heat works out to be a better deal than a deceptively low HOA that does not. Additionally, consider the level of service you get in return. Elevators, a 24 hour doorman, and perfect common area maintenance are things that will cost money. They might be worth it. However, this building’s HOA costs are just a little out of line with what similar buildings in the same neighborhood are, so the owners here really need to go over their budget and see where they could reduce expenses and cut fat.

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  7. I looked at this building 20 years ago and there were very small reserves. My real estate agent steered me away from this building suggesting there would be ongoing special assessments.

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    Rating: +4 (from 8 votes)
  8. “I looked at this building 20 years ago and there were very small reserves. ”

    Thank you for the 20 year old information.

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    Rating: +1 (from 15 votes)
  9. For 1200 sq/ft, every room in this place looks very narrow and cramped. Add in the ridiculous HOA fees that come with buildings like these and you’ve got yourself an overpriced 1 bedroom that will get claustrophobic as soon as you start adding furniture.

    I have to wonder how sustainable the future of these lower tier vintage buildings are. Obviously the location is huge advantage, but unless you’re very hardcore about living in them, and rich enough to not care about the money you’re throwing away on assessments and the “excellent level of service” that apparently comes with it, who is the market for places like these? As the middle class continues to deteriorate and the wealth gap widens, wealthier people who are actually smart with their money will turn away from places like this or simply spend a little more to live in more elite vintage buildings.

    I love vintage buildings and respect the charm, but I’m either too poor (comparably) or too stingy to ever comprehend the investment.

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    Rating: +9 (from 13 votes)
  10. “overpriced 1 bedroom that will get claustrophobic as soon as you start adding furniture.”

    Claustrophobic? 1200 square feet?

    Bah ha ha ha ha!

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  11. By the way- windows are an issue in EVERY condo building. If you’re buying in a building that is more than 20 years old and they haven’t talked about the windows yet- OR they haven’t been replaced in several decades- you better believe that it is coming. They only last so long.

    The three biggest maintenance issues in buildings are windows, the roof, and the elevators.

    I was in a vintage building in the Gold Coast a few years ago at an open house and the agent reassured me that the windows had just been replaced. It was a spacious 1-bedroom unit with multiple exposures like in this building.

    She told me the special was $25,000. And that was for just the 1-bedroom units.

    A lot of buildings have custom windows. That adds on cost as well.

    But I’d rather be in a building that keeps up maintenance than one where each owner is in charge of replacing their own windows whenever they see fit (yes, those buildings do also exist.)

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  12. “It better be perfect those HOA’s are ridiculous for a 1 bedroom”

    It is 1250 square feet. Those HOAs aren’t any different than many newer 2-bedroom units with 1200 square feet in River North and the Gold Coast buildings without swimming pools.

    Here’s a newer building in the Gold Coast. This 1250 square foot 2/2 has HOAs of $981 a month.

    https://www.redfin.com/IL/Chicago/1250-N-Dearborn-St-60610/unit-18B/home/14111623

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  13. “Claustrophobic? 1200 square feet?
    Bah ha ha ha ha!”

    Have you seen how long and narrow those rooms are? The square footage is there obviously but trying to get an efficient flow with furniture placement will be difficult with such awkward dimensions.

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  14. “Here’s a newer building in the Gold Coast. This 1250 square foot 2/2 has HOAs of $981 a month.”

    Maybe they’re bulking up to replace the 25+ yo windows?

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  15. “Here’s a newer building in the Gold Coast. This 1250 square foot 2/2 has HOAs of $981 a month.”

    Maybe they’re bulking up to replace the 25+ yo windows?

    I could list dozens of high rise buildings all over the downtown where 1200 square feet HOAs are at least $850 a month. Most of you here have unrealistic expectations about what it costs to run high rise buildings (even in buildings that aren’t even that old.)

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  16. “Have you seen how long and narrow those rooms are? The square footage is there obviously but trying to get an efficient flow with furniture placement will be difficult with such awkward dimensions.”

    Bah ha ha ha!

    27×14 is inefficient??? What are you smoking? Many high rises have similar dimensions for the rooms. In fact, these are very generous for a high rise. Granted, the 29×12 bedroom is a bit long. Lots of wasted space there depending on what you do with it.

    But claustrophobic? With exposures on both sides of the unit? (which is rare for a high rise?)

    Pulease.

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  17. Sabrina, there’s a reason they staged and photographed it without furniture… I do RE photography on the side and sometimes my schedule for more awkward and/or small properties like this will get delayed because they want to empty everything out of it. Personally, I would have left some strategically placed (small) furniture, since empty rooms can appear smaller than they actually are in person, and in photographs. Super wide angle lens still doesn’t help this unfortunately. But there are greater things to be concerned about when buying a property like this.

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  18. You can definitely get a gorgeous vintage unit without being loaded. Check out this low-rise vintage that recently came on the market. Hard to find a 3 BR under $500k (and in good condition) in E. Lakeview, but they’re out there.

    https://www.redfin.com/IL/Chicago/610-W-Surf-St-60657/unit-4B/home/13371247

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