Designer Apartment Living in the Gold Coast: A 2/2 at 1555 N. Astor


This 2-bedroom at 1555 N. Astor in the Gold Coast just came on the market.

The building was constructed in the mid-1970s and has 104 units. It has views of Lincoln Park, the Gold Coast, and, depending on where you are in the building, of the Lake.

The listing says this unit is the home of designer Susan Fredman and has been completely renovated.

It has leather flooring, custom Iris lighting, sound and light automation systems and custom built-in cabinetry.

The kitchen has Calcutta gold marble countertops, Subzero, Wolf and Miele appliances.

The dining area has a custom banquette.

The master bath has heated stone floors and a walk-in shower with a Kohler digital system.

The second bath has a concrete counter top.

The unit has an in-unit washer/dryer but no central air. It has the built-in wall units that were common in the 1970s high rises.

There is rental parking in the building that other listings say includes a weekly car wash and unlimited valet guest parking.

This unit is on the fourth floor and has tree top views.

For those tired of the same old highrise layouts and finishes, is a custom unit like this one a breath of fresh air?

Timothy Salm at Jameson Sotheby’s has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit 4SE: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1480 square feet

  • Sold in June 1992 for $252,500
  • Sold in April 2010 for $390,000
  • Currently listed for $699,000
  • Assessments of $1190 a month (includes exercise room, indoor pool, tennis court, patio with grills, doorman, exterior maintenance, scavenger and snow removal.)
  • Taxes of $10,781
  • No central air- electric wall units
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Parking is leased: a different listing says it’s $135 a month and includes weekly car wash
  • Bedroom #1: 16×12
  • Bedroom #2: 13×12

Living on the Penthouse Floor for Under $400,000: A 2/1 at 545 N. Dearborn in River North


This 2-bedroom in the Grand Plaza at 545 N. Dearborn in River North came on the market in August 2016.

Grand Plaza was built in 2003 but it wasn’t converted into condos until 2005.

It has 283 units over a rental parking garage.

Grand Plaza is a full amenity building with an outdoor pool, fitness room, outdoor track, basketball court, library, party room and doorman.

Floors 30 through 36 were marketed during the boom as the “Grand Plaza Penthouses.”

This is a 33rd floor unit which the listing calls a penthouse.

It is a corner unit with north and west views from floor-to-ceiling windows.

The listing says it is designer owned and decorated and has dark wide plank hardwood floors and a “completely remodeled” bath.

There’s a chef’s kitchen with a walnut breakfast bar, LG stainless steel appliances, and granite counter tops and backsplash.

It has central air and in-unit washer/dryer. Parking is rental in the building for $253 a month.

Originally listed in August for $399,724, it has been reduced nearly $25,000 to $375,000.

Is this a good luxury rental apartment alternative for a River North millennial?

Matt Laricy at Americorp has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3303: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 1070 square feet

  • Sold in August 2009 for $339,500
  • Originally listed in August 2016 for $399,724
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $375,000
  • Assessments of $862 a month (includes heat, a/c, cable, gas, doorman and all the amenities listed above)
  • Taxes of $5447
  • Parking is rental for $253 a month
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 11×16
  • Bedroom #2: 22×18 (is this really the living room in the pictures?)
  • Living room: 15×13

How Long Does a Celebrity Connection Matter? 3526 N. Marshfield in Lakeview


It’s back!

We’ve chattered about this house at 3526 N. Marshfield in Lakeview numerous times over the years.

The last time was in August 2013.

See that chatter here.

If you recall, it not only has “ornately carved faces” on the exterior (look closely at the house) but in prior listings it talked about “underground tunnels”- although that reference has now been removed.

The house was built in 1889. It is on an irregular lot measuring 27.2×73.5x60x51.5.

The listing, once again, says the house is being sold “as-is.”

All four bedrooms are on the second level and there is a family room in the basement.

The kitchen has dark cabinets and white and black appliances as well as a kitchen island.

The house has central air and a gated yard with parking for 1-car.

Once again, the listing also mentions that the house has a celebrity past. Many of you named who owned it all the way back in March 2012- but this “celebrity” lived in the house nearly 20 years ago.

See the March 2012 chatter here if you want to find out who the “celebrity” is.

There are several questions regarding this house:

  1. It never sold in 2013 even though that was a hot market. What has been going on with it for the last 3 years?
  2. What’s the life span of a celebrity owner? (i.e. does anyone care years later???)
  3. What happened to the underground tunnels?

It has come on the market at $35,000 higher than the 2013 price at $685,000.

Will this finally sell in 2016?

Jamey Johnson at Kale Realty has the listing. See the pictures here.

3526 N. Marshfield: 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2500 square feet, 1 car parking

  • Sold in July 1991 for $160,500
  • Sold in February 1994 for $176,000
  • Was listed in March 2012 “as-is” for $550,000
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in April 2012 at $539,000
  • Withdrawn
  • Re-listed in July 2013 for $650,000
  • Reduced
  • Listed in August 2013 at $599,000
  • Withdrawn
  • Re-listed “as-is” at $685,000
  • Taxes now $8641 (they were  $8056 in 2013 and $7958 in April 2012)
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 20×12 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 15×13 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 16×12 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 9×12 (second floor)
  • Family room: 30×17 (lower level)

A 4-Bedroom Classic Chicago Bungalow on the Park in Peterson Woods: 5746 N. Virginia


This 4-bedroom bungalow at 5746 N. Virginia in the Peterson Woods neighborhood of West Ridge came on the market in June 2016.

Built in 1923 on a 35×119 lot, the back of the house faces Legion Park. Legion Park is on the Chicago River and has nature paths and a children’s park.

It has 6 original leaded windows and the original woodwork.

The listing says there are hardwood floors under the carpet.

The kitchen has dark cabinets and white appliances.

The full walk out basement measures 2400 square feet and has a rec room, a bar, a full bath and a summer kitchen. (What’s a “summer” kitchen?)

The house has a 2-car garage but no central air. There are window units.

Originally listed for $579,000, it has been reduced $30,000 to $549,000.

The listing says it’s the first time on the market in 30 years.

Is this a deal for someone looking in Peterson Woods?

Terry Silis at Baird & Warner has the listing. See the pictures here.

5746 N. Virginia: 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2439 square feet

  • Listing says it last sold 30 years ago. I couldn’t find a prior sales price
  • Originally listed in June 2016 for $579,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $549,000
  • Taxes of $6438
  • No central air- window units
  • 2 car garage
  • Decorative fireplace
  • Full walk out basement
  • Bedroom #1: 15×16 (main level)
  • Bedroom #2: 13×15 (main level)
  • Bedroom #3: 13×18 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 10×18 (second floor)
  • Sitting room: 16×9 (second floor)

When Your Home IS a Castle: A 3-Bedroom at 2436 W. Greenleaf in Indian Boundary Park


This 3-bedroom in the Park Castle Condominiums at 2436 W. Greenleaf in the Indian Boundary Park neighborhood of Rogers Park came on the market in May 2016.

Park Castle Condominiums are on the architectural tours. It has 68 units.

From Open House Chicago:

Architect Jens J. Jensen—not to be confused with landscape architect Jens Jensen—designed this 1925 structure. The sprawling, double courtyard brick apartment building looks like a castle, with crenelations, turrets and towers. A moat-like pond was once graced by live swans. This feature has been removed, but the bridges and some retaining walls remain. Inside the complex, an extravagant indoor pool, reflecting the opulence of the era, remains one of Chicago’s best-kept secrets.

The pool is apparently open 24 hours a day and has mosaic tile walls.

This unit is on the top floor of the building and has picture windows with views of Indian Boundary Park.


Indian Boundary Park is a 14-acre park that was once the boundary of Indian lands.

It now has a lagoon, tennis courts, community center and children’s park. In its early years, it once housed the second zoo in Chicago.

When I was there, there were a handful of painters painting in front of the lagoon.

This unit has built-ins and crown molding.

The kitchen has white cabinets, granite counter tops, a backsplash and stainless steel appliances.

It has window units for air conditioning and there is no in-unit washer/dryer. The building does not allow it. There is coin laundry in the building.

Like a lot of vintage buildings, the parking is leased nearby. There is 2 transferrable parking spaces available for up to $65 a month each.

Is this complex a hidden gem for architecture lovers?


Katrina de los Reyes at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1619 square feet

  • Sold in March 1989 for $105,000
  • Sold in September 1992 for $127,000
  • Sold in March 1996 for $122,000
  • Sold in April 2007 for $245,000
  • Originally listed in May 2016 for $199,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $189,000
  • Assessments of $697 a month (includes heat, exercise, pool, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger, snow removal
  • Taxes of $2143
  • No central air- window units
  • No in-unit w/d allowed. Coin laundry in the complex
  • 2 transferrable leased parking spaces from $50 to $65 a month
  • Bedroom #1: 13×11
  • Bedroom #2: 13×11
  • Bedroom #3: 13×11



You Can Still Get a 3-Bedroom in River North for Under $800K: 33 W. Huron


This 3-bedroom at 33 W. Huron in River North came on the market in early September 2016.

Built in 1997, this midrise building is across from the Whole Foods and has 67 units.

It is famous for having low assessments because there are absolutely no amenities: no gym, no doorman, no pool.

The listing for this unit says it has been “fully renovated.”

The kitchen has dark cabinets, quartz counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

There are hardwood floors throughout.

It has a north facing balcony.

It has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and 1-car parking is included.

The unit originally came on the market at $800,000 but has been reduced to $770,000.

Unit #709, which is the same floor plan and exposure but three floors higher, is under contract at $695,000, and includes 2 parking spots, but the unit has not been renovated.

Is this a deal for a 3-bedroom in the heart of River North?

Or do midrise buildings just not command high prices?

Robert Picciariello at Prello Realty has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #409: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1776 square feet

  • Sold in August 1998 for $343,000
  • Sold in March 2004 for $595,000
  • Sold in March 2014 for $622,000
  • Originally listed in September 2016 for $800,000 (included the parking)
  • Reduced twice
  • Currently listed at $770,000 (including the parking)
  • Assessments of $588 a month (includes exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger and snow removal)
  • Taxes of $9860
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 17×14
  • Bedroom #2: 12×10
  • Bedroom #3: 11×10

A Loft House With a 40 Foot Indoor Lap Pool in Lakeview: 1225 W. George


This 5-bedroom single family loft-like home at 1225 W. George in Lakeview came on the market in July 2016.

I believe this was an old warehouse as the 1997 seller was Culinary Foods Inc.

The listing says it was transformed into a single family home in 1999 by architect Larry Booth and has won architecture awards.

It is built on an irregular lot with 75 feet of frontage but measuring 75 x 102.4 x 87.99 x 56.4.

It has concrete beamed ceilings and concrete slab floors with radiant heat along with exposed brick walls.

The master suite has a private outdoor terrace and also looks into the 40 foot indoor lap pool.

The kitchen has luxury stainless steel appliances and seamless granite counter tops.

4 out of 5 bedrooms are on the second floor with the 5th bedroom actually a huge studio on the main level. The listing says it could be a playroom, a nanny’s room or a 5th bedroom. That studio also has a kitchenette.

It has a 2-car attached garage and air conditioning.

It listed at $3.995 million and has not done any reductions.

At this list price, it would make it one of the most expensive single family homes in this part of Lakeview.

Will they get the price?

Joanne Nemerovski at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

1225 W. George: 5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, 7400 square feet, 2 car garage

  • Sold in July 1997 for $114,500
  • Then renovated into a single family home in 1999
  • Originally listed in July 2016 for $3.995 million
  • Currently still listed for $3.995 million
  • Taxes of $35,492
  • Central Air
  • Studio with a kitchenette
  • Bedroom #1: 22×19 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 16×13 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 16×9 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 23×13 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #5 (studio): 30×22 (main floor)


The Ultimate Loft House Returns in 2016: 2436 W. Bloomingdale in Logan Square


This 6-bedroom single family loft-like home at 2436 W. Bloomingdale in Logan Square came on the market in June 2016.

It is a former mechanic’s garage and is built on a double lot measuring 48×125.

To long time readers, this house would look familiar because we chattered about it several times in 2008.

See our May 2008 chatter here.

Back then, it was new construction and the neighborhood was listed as Humboldt Park. We actually debated whether or not this neighborhood was in Humboldt Park or not and what was nearby.

Said one commenter named “Dave”:

I always drew the line at Western for my housing hunt, but they make a strong case for crossing the border. The area around the Armitage blue line stop is pretty barren but I’ve never felt unsafe there.

It never sold.

Now, it is listed as being in Logan Square and the successful 606 trail can be seen from one of the decks.

The house, however, remains the same.

It has high bow truss ceilings with exposed sandblasted heavy timber trusses and radiant heated concrete floors.

There’s a massive skylight.


The Chef’s kitchen has Scavolini cabinets, Thermador, Subzero and Miele appliances and granite counter tops.

There’s an inner courtyard with a pool.


The house also has 2 dens and 3 wetbars.

It has a security system and a 4-car heated attached garage.

It has the preferred layout on the bedrooms with 5 out of the 6 bedrooms on the second floor.

Originally listed in June 2016 for $3.25 million, it has been reduced to $2.85 million.

A lot has changed in this neighborhood in the last 8 years.

Is this house now a deal?

George Furla at North Clybourn Group has the listing. See the pictures here.

2436 W. Bloomingdale: 6 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, 7640 square feet

  • Was listed in May 2008 for $2.495 million
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in October 2008 for $2.25 million
  • Withdrawn
  • Re-listed in June 2016 for $3.25 million
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $2.85 million
  • Taxes of $19,708
  • Central Air
  • 4-car heated attached garage
  • Pool
  • Skylights
  • 3 wet bars
  • Bedroom #1: 20×14 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 18×12 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 18×12 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 13×11 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #5: 18×12 (main level)
  • Bedroom #6: 13×11 (second floor)
  • Den #1: 12×20 (second floor)
  • Den #2: 12×20 (second floor)

Vintage Queen Anne on the Outside, Modern on the Inside: 2134 W. Lunt in West Ridge


This 4-bedroom Queen Anne at 2134 W. Lunt in the West Ridge neighborhood of Rogers Park recently came on the market.

Built in 1891, before the area was even part of Chicago, the house is on a double lot measuring 50×171.

If you’re not familiar with West Ridge’s history, its one of the older parts of Chicago as there were Indian villages in the area as early as the 1700s.

From the Encyclopedia of Chicago:

During most of the nineteenth century West Ridge remained relatively rural. St. Henry’s Roman Catholic Church served as both the religious and social center of the community. West Ridge was home to two cemeteries, Rosehill and St. Henry’s, and Angel Guardian Orphanage. Truck farms, greenhouses, and the open prairie characterized much of the area. Disagreements with Rogers Park about taxes for local improvements led to the incorporation of West Ridge as a village in 1890. Despite local controversy over annexation to Chicago in 1893, proponents prevailed and West Ridge became part of Chicago. Unlike in Rogers Park, annexation did not bring immediate growth. The number of residents remained under 500 until after 1900. No prominent business districts existed, as community members relied on either Rogers Park or Evanston for their goods and services.

It has a brick patio as well as a brick walkway to the 2 car garage along with a formal garden and landscaping.

The listing says the house has been rehabbed.

The kitchen has modern German-made Poggenpohl cabinets, with upscale appliances including Miele and Subzero.

It still maintains some of its vintage character, including crown molding and hardwood floors.

The house has an unfinished basement and central air.

We’ve chattered about how move-in ready properties sell fast in this market.

Will this house be scooped up soon?

Laurie Jacobson at Century 21 S.G.R. has the listing. See the pictures here.

2134 W. Lunt: 4 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, 1918 square feet

  • Looks like it has only sold once since 1988
  • Sold in January 1998 for $326,000 (per Redfin)
  • Currently listed for $589,000
  • Taxes of $5893
  • Central Air
  • 2-car garage
  • Bedroom #1: 13×12 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 12×11 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 11×11 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 13×10 (second floor)
  • Family room: 17×12 (main level)


Market Conditions: Were August Sales Held Back By Low Inventory?


How’d the Chicago market hold up in August?

Inventory remained extremely low statewide and in the city of  Chicago.

From the Illinois Association of Realtors:

The city of Chicago saw a 2.6 percent year-over-year home sales increase in August 2016 with 2,770 sales, up from 2,701 in August 2015. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in August 2016 was $275,000, up 1.5 percent compared to August 2015 when it was $271,000.

August Sales since 2007:

  • August 2007: 2923 sales
  • August 2008: 2078 sales
  • August 2009: 1927 sales
  • August 2010: 1486 sales
  • August 2011: 1787 sales
  • August 2012: 2209 sales
  • August 2013: 2850 sales
  • August 2014: 2414 sales
  • August 2015: 2701 sales
  • August 2016: 2770 sales

“We saw a strong surge of late-summer buying in August which lifted sales to positive annual gains,” said Dan Wagner, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and senior vice president for government relations at the Oakbrook-based Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, Inc. “The downside to this is that inventories in the city of Chicago saw a notable 14.7 percent decline, making August the fifth month in a row where we’ve seen double-digit percentage decreases in the number of homes for sale.”

Statewide, the average number of days on the market fell to 55 days from 64 days a year ago. Inventory also fell 14.8% to 64,915 homes versus 76,156 last August.

Mortgage rates remained cheaper than a year ago, with the 30-year fixed averaging 3.44%, down from 3.9% in August 2015.

“Sales recovered in August and prices continue to show positive annual gains,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “However, month-to-month sales’ forecasts suggest a downward trend for the next three months, driven in part by low inventories, the poor job recovery in Illinois and uncertainties about the presidential election.”

Do presidential elections really play a part in housing sales?

First I’ve ever heard of that excuse for a possible slowing market.

Market conditions continue to be favorable for sellers. Low mortgage rates, the stock market at record highs and a stable economy all seem to be underpinning this market.

Will the strong housing market continue into the fall market?

Illinois home sales, prices make a late-summer surge in August [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, September 22, 2016]