Get 4400 Sq Ft for $850,000 in this Famous Mid-Century High Rise: 320 W. Oakdale in Lakeview


This 4-bedroom on the 10th floor at 320 W. Oakdale in East Lakeview came on the market in February 2016.

Built in 1955 and designed by Milton Schwarz, 320 W. Oakdale is considered one of the best examples of Chicago modernist mid-century architecture.

Its floor-to-ceiling windows, for instance, were ahead of its time.

Many architecture buffs move into the building for its heritage.

It has 54 units.

This unit is a combined unit, and at 4400 square feet, is the largest in the building.

It has 200 feet of windows with east, west and southern city views.

The listing says it was once featured in Architectural Digest.

The chef’s kitchen has solid bird’s eye maple cabinets, a large island, a double oven, Subzero appliances and an indoor grill.

There’s a family room, a breakfast room and an 8×6 pantry.

The unit has the features buyers look for including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and there are 2 covered parking spaces included.

Originally listed for $1.1 million, it has been reduced to $850,000.

Is this a deal for the square footage and location?

Susan Davids at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures and the floor plan here.

Unit #1001: 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, 4400 square feet

  • It’s had the same owner since 1987
  • Originally listed in February 2016 for $1.1 million
  • Reduced twice
  • Currently listed for $850,000
  • Assessments of $2279 a month (includes complete cable package, Internet, heat, a/c, live-in building engineer, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger and snow removal)
  • Taxes of $9319 (senior exemption)
  • Central Air
  • Washer/dryer in the unit
  • 2 covered parking spaces included ($1000 transfer fee for each)
  • Bedroom #1: 15×14
  • Bedroom #2: 14×11
  • Bedroom #3: 16×13
  • Bedroom #4: 31×15
  • Laundry room: 6×6
  • Pantry: 8×6

Is This Your Last Chance to Build New in Old Town’s Landmark District? 1810 N. Orleans

1810 n orleans #1

This house at 1810 N. Orleans in Old Town’s historic landmark district came on the market in August 2016.

It’s being marketed as a chance to build new.

From the listing:

One of the Last Opportunities to build your DREAM HOME in Old Town!!!

The listing says the white and green house was built in 1886.

It’s on a 36×124 lot on one of the most exclusive streets in the Old Town historic district.

According to the listing it is zoned RM5 with alley access.

It seems to be a dream come true, right? A big lot right in the middle of Old Town.

But there’s one little catch. From the listing:

Due to Old Town Association guidelines and Landmark status, the structure on the back of the lot will most likely have to remain with some of the front area/enclosed porch allowed to be altered. All indications are there previously was a home on the front portion of the lot thus possibly establishing precedence. Buyer will have to do the due diligence. Seller does not warrant the feasibility of a newly built structure. Build your dream home in Chicago’s Prestigious Old Town Triangle!

Here’s what the Old Town Association says on its website:

Each month, members consider requests for proposed exterior changes to existing buildings, new construction, and applications for zoning changes in the Triangle. Their deliberations range from the appropriateness of building materials used in rehabbing and construction projects to the height of fences and building additions. The Guidelines for Alterations to Historic Buildings and New Construction, prepared by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, serves as the guide for their recommendations. These recommendations are sent to the Alderman of the 43rd Ward and to appropriate city commissions and departments for approval. In every instance, the final decision on any rehab project rests with the Landmarks Commission.

This property is listed at $3.2 million.

Given that the back house/structure most likely has to stay, and the other issues with building in a landmark district, will they get this price?

1810 n orleans #2

Debbie Maue at Jameson Sotheby’s has the listing. See the pictures here (only shows the exterior of the house)

1810 N. Orleans: built in 1886

  • Last sold in or before 1995. A $78,500 mortgage was taken out in 1995.
  • Currently listed for $3.2 million
  • Taxes of $21,668
  • 36×124 lot in a historic district

Revisiting the Unicorn Criteria 5 Years Later: 626 W. Belden in Lincoln Park

626 w belden

This vintage 3-bedroom at 626 W. Belden in Lincoln Park came on the market in August 2016.

Built in 1890, this greystone has 3-units.

It has many vintage features, including 10 foot cove ceilings and moldings.

It also has 2 fireplaces, including one in the master bedroom.

The master bedroom also has a marble bath with a steam shower and a rare walk-in closet. Vintage units are usually light on the closets, so having a walk-in is unusual.

The kitchen is in the front of the unit and is open to the living/dining space. It has cherry cabinets, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

It has front and back outdoor spaces.

The unit also has the other criteria that buyers look for, including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and a coveted garage parking space.

This property was the closest thing I could find currently on the market that seemed to fit Anonny’s old “Unicorn Criteria” from 2011.

If you recall, 5 years ago, Anonny was looking for a condo in East Lincoln Park that fit a set of criteria he dubbed the “unicorn criteria” because he didn’t believe they existed.

Here was his list:

1) Absolutely required:

* 2/2
* garage
* LP east of Halsted
* w/d in unit
* not on ground floor or “low first floor” (and no duplex down)
* wood floors (or permitted installation of wood floors, with a corresponding discount in purchase price)

2) Strongly preferred (bordering on required):

* LP east of Clark
* kitchen is not open to the living room (but may certainly be open to the dining area)
* master bath

3) Greatly desired (bordering on strong preference):

* powder room/half bath
* some sort of private outdoor space (at least big enough for a grill, and ideally big enough to also fit a smallish table and four chairs)
* central air
* working fire place

Anonny was willing to pay $3,000 a month (inclusive of assessments and taxes) with 10% down and expected to pay in the mid-$400,000s to get his dream home.

This 3-bedroom on Belden appears to fit most of the criteria with the exception of it being east of Clark. But it is east of Lincoln, so many would consider this East Lincoln Park as well.

Priced originally at $575,000, this unit has been reduced to $550,000.

Doing the calculations on one of the realtor web sites, with a 3.75% 30-year mortgage rate, taxes, PMI, insurance, HOAs and 10% down, his payment on this place would be around $4050 a month.

With this strong housing market, is Anonny’s 2011 price point now completely unrealistic for the unicorn criteria, even with low mortgage rates?

Cindy Wilson at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #2: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed

  • Sold in April 1995 for $279,000
  • Sold in February 1999 for $338,000
  • Sold in July 2003 for $445,000
  • Sold in October 2006 for $533,500
  • Sold in July 2008 for $460,000
  • Originally listed in August 2016 for $575,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $550,000
  • Assessments of $550 a month (includes exterior maintenance)
  • Taxes of $10,103
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Garage parking included
  • 2 fireplaces
  • Bedroom #1: 12×11
  • Bedroom #2: 13×9
  • Bedroom #3: 13×9



Rare 2-Car Parking in River North: A 1-Bedroom at 60 W. Erie

60 w erie approved

This 1-bedroom in 60 W. Erie in River North came on the market in August 2016.

Built in 2002, it is a boutique building with just 24 units.

At 1100 square feet, this is one of the extra large one bedrooms that dot River North, Streeterville and the Gold Coast as its square footage is equivalent to many 2-bedroom units in the neighborhood.

It has luxury finishes in the kitchen including Subzero, Bosch and Thermador appliances, cherry cabinets and granite counter tops.

The master bathroom is marble.

It has a south facing balcony.

The unit has a separate laundry room as well as a half bath.

The price includes one deeded parking space and a second one is available if you need two spaces.

Listed at $449,000, that is $6,000 below the 2003 purchase price of $455,000.

However, that is a bit misleading as the 2003 purchase included both parking spaces but in this sale, only one is included.

For someone looking for 2 deeded parking spaces, is this a deal even if you have to pay extra for the second space?

Paulette Rodriguez at Baird & Warner has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #901: 1 bedroom, 1.5 baths, 1100 square feet

  • Sold in December 2003 for $455,000 (includes two parking spaces)
  • Currently listed for $449,000 (includes just one parking space with a second one available)
  • Assessments of $604 a month (but parking is also $121.22 per space)
  • Taxes of $7266
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom: 14×13
  • Living/Dining room: 20×16
  • Kitchen: 20×15
  • Laundry Room: 6×3


How Hot is West Lakeview? A Top Floor 2-Bedroom at 1348 W. Wellington

1348 w wellington

This top floor 2-bedroom in a vintage greystone at 1348 W. Wellington in Lakeview recently came on the market.

The greystone was built in 1878. The listing says it was originally a mansion for a local physician.

The house now has 4 condo units.

Unfortunately, none of the vintage features survived in this unit.

It does have high ceilings and hardwood floors.

The master bedroom has an ensuite bathroom.

The kitchen has light wood cabinets, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

There’s also a brand new private roof deck with city views with an entry where you open the hatch on the roof to access it (see the pictures in the listing.)

This unit has the other features buyers are looking for including central air, garage parking and washer/dryer in the unit in its very own separate laundry room.

Some of you may be familiar with this greystone because it sits right next door to the funeral home at the Wellington/Lincoln intersection that was recently purchased and is apparently being converted into apartments and commercial space.

The unit came on the market at $785,000.

No square footage is listed, but can it get that price point without the mention of luxury finishes like Subzero or Viking?

Brian Ban at Re/Max Exclusive has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed

  • Sold in April 1999 for $284,000
  • Currently listed for $785,000 (includes garage parking)
  • Assessments of $239 a month (includes exterior maintenance)
  • Taxes of $6315
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Private rooftop deck
  • Bedroom #1: 13×13
  • Bedroom #2: 10×10
  • Living room/dining room: 24×27
  • Kitchen: 13×11
  • Laundry room: 9×7



Are Brass Faucets Back In Style? A 2/2 at 1325 N. State Parkway in the Gold Coast

1325 n state parkway

This 2-bedroom in the Ambassador House at 1325 N. State Parkway in the Gold Coast recently came on the market.

The listing says it has been “completely gutted.”

The kitchen has custom cabinetry, a honed marble counter top and backsplash and brass waterworks fixtures.

The brass fixtures follow through in the dining room chandelier and the bathroom faucets and shower head.

Those of you of a certain age might remember that brass was very popular for faucets in the 1970s and 1980s.

Apparently, brass has been making a national comeback since 2014, as this article in the Atlantic Journal Constitution is 2 years old:

If you haven’t noticed, brass is back. No, not that shiny lacquered brass of the 1980s and early 1990s.

If you elected to get rid of your old shiny brass fixtures, faucets and cabinet knobs, don’t fret, said Kandrac. The new brass doesn’t look like the old.

“The brass being used now has a more muted, matte and weathered finish,” said Kandrac. “The metals in today’s brass will age and become more attractive over time, without the high shine.”

As a warm and timeless metal, brass is not only being used in lighting, it has re-emerged in other areas of interior design, ranging from bath and kitchen fixtures to furniture and decorative accessories.

This unit has the other features buyers look for, including central air and washer/dryer in the unit. Parking is rented in the building for $130 a month, which the listing calls the “best parking deal” in the neighborhood.

Normally, we don’t chatter about the interiors of the properties as this isn’t a design blog.

But this was a gut renovation with specific finishes selected. Most buyers aren’t going to put in all new faucets or pulls on kitchen cabinets so these will be there when you buy it.

Are brass faucets and other fixtures finally making their way to the Midwest?

Will buyers be demanding brass fixtures in 2017?

Ryan Preuett at Conlon has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #20E: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1650 square feet

  • Sold in May 2002 for $180,000
  • Sold in September 2013 for $445,000
  • Sold in March 2016 for $430,000
  • Currently listed “completely gutted” for $725,000
  • Assessments of $1161 a month (includes heat, doorman, pool, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $6341
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Parking is rented at $130 a month
  • Bedroom #1: 14×16
  • Bedroom #2: 14×13


Market Conditions: July Home Sales Fall 11.9% YOY But Market Times Fall Too

Chicago skyline from Grant Park August 2015

It was a little delayed, due to my vacation, but here is the update on the July market.

From the Illinois Association of Realtors:

The city of Chicago saw an 11.9 percent year-over-year home sales decrease in July 2016 with 2,714 sales, down from 3,082 in July 2015. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in July 2016 was $290,000, up 1.8 percent compared to July 2015 when it was $285,000

Here’s the July data since 1997 (thanks, once again, to G for the historic info):

  • 1997: 1,694
  • 1998: 2,139
  • 1999: 2,186
  • 2000: 2,013
  • 2001: 2,410
  • 2002: 2,661
  • 2003: 3,105
  • 2004: 3,429
  • 2005: 3,487
  • 2006: 3,088
  • 2007: 2,819
  • 2008: 2,200
  • 2009: 2,040
  • 2010: 1,631
  • 2011: 1,666
  • 2012: 2,088
  • 2013: 2,902
  • 2014: 2,725
  • 2015: 3,082
  • 2016: 2,714

It’s the first year over year drop in monthly sales we’ve seen all year.

“The drop-off in home sales in July underscores the fact that a continued lack of inventory is plaguing those who are in the market for a new home,”said Mike Drews, GRI, president of Illinois REALTORS® and broker-associate with Charles B. Doss & Co. in Aurora. “These homebuyers face limited choices and higher prices as a result.”

The average 30-year monthly mortgage rate was 3.44%, down from 4.04% a year ago.

“If you have a home on the market, it’s selling at an incredible pace,” 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. “In Chicago, the time to sell was just 38 days, and when you pair that number with double-digit annual decreases in inventory, it’s a market where sellers are reaping a premium.”

That time to sell number of 38 days is incredible when you realize it is city-wide. That is averaging the time to sell in, say, the South Shore, or in Pullman, with that in the Gold Coast.

The time to sell in the GreenZone must be incredibly fast for the overall number to be down to just 38 days.

Did lack of inventory slow Chicago’s housing market in July?

Or was it the ever increasing prices?

Illinois home prices increase in July; Sales lower amid tight inventory [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, Aug 24, 2016]

Crib Chatter on Vacation This Week

There’s time for one last summer fling so Crib Chatter will be on vacation this entire week.

Chatter amongst yourselves.

I’ll have the update on the market conditions when I come back. Meanwhile, Gary always provides links to his data ahead of time so you can check the July data there.

Fall is a good time to check in on how some of the areas outside of the GreenZone are faring. Look for some posts on our favorite non-GreenZone neighborhoods coming up.

And will we see slowing in the million dollar bracket this fall?

Everyone who has a penthouse to sell is listing right now. I’ve never seen so many penthouses on the market at the same time. Will they all be able to get out with big gains?

See you in a week-


Who Can Afford the Rents? Unwind in Luxury at 1714 W. Roscoe in Lakeview

1714 w roscoe

The Centrum Lakeview, a luxury boutique apartment building, at 1714 W. Roscoe in Lakeview just finished construction and is now leasing.

Anyone who takes the Brown Line from the north side has watched this building go up because it is right next to the Paulina Brown Line stop.

It has 39 units and just 7 parking spaces, but the whole point of the location is that you’re supposed to take public transportation if you live there so there isn’t parking for every unit.

There’s not a lot of new apartment construction in this neighborhood.

The units have luxury finishes and include in-unit washer/dryer and central air.

The kitchen cabinets are Italian designer cabinets by Abaco by Snaidero. There are pearl quartz counter tops in the kitchen and bathrooms.

The floors are Balterio gray-tone plank throughout.

The units have floor to ceiling windows and the windows on the north side, which face the L, are acoustically treated to abate the noise.

A Bow Truss Coffee is supposedly going in on the bottom floor.

Here are some of the units and the rental prices:

  • A 542 square foot studio: $1822 a month (this is the cheapest unit in the building)
  • A 835 square foot 1-bedroom: $2720-$2765 a month
  • A 1031 square foot 2/2: $3143-$3225 a month

The building also allows 2 pets per unit. There is a $500 non-refundable pet fee for the first pet and a $300 pet fee for the second pet.

Additionally, there appears to be a $25 a month pet “rent” as well. See the details here.

We have seen rents at these price points (and per square footage price point) in many of the new construction apartment high rises in the downtown neighborhoods.

Can they get these prices for a building on the border of Lakeview and Roscoe Village?

And who is the target renter for this?

You can check out the building’s website below, which also includes some pictures of the interiors of the units and the building amenities.

Website: Centrum Lakeview

What’s It Like to Live on the 80th Floor? A 3-Bedroom Penthouse at 225 N. Columbus

225 n columbus

This 3-bedroom duplex penthouse in the Aqua Tower at 225 N. Columbus in Lakeshore East just came on the market.

It’s on the 80th floor and faces north so there are views of the John Hancock Building as well as the Lake.

The main floor appears to have about 12 foot ceilings and has the living/dining rooms and the kitchen.

The kitchen has white cabinets, stone counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

The second floor has the bedrooms and laundry and ceilings that appear to be around 16 feet.

The unit has 2 fireplaces and 2 car parking is included.

Chicago is a rare American city with residences as high as the 80th floor (and higher.)

Is living this high the goal for every high rise condo dweller?

What are the pros and cons of super high rise living?

And would you ever go out on the “undulating balcony” this high up?

Leila Zammatta at Magellan Realty has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #8004: 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 3500 square feet, duplex

  • Sold in July 2010 for $2,291,500
  • Currently listed for $5.5 million (includes 2 parking spaces)
  • Assessments of $2376 a month (includes heat, a/c, gas, doorman, cable, Internet, exercise room, pool, exterior maintenance, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $34057
  • Central Air
  • Washer/dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 21×14 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 12×13 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 13×13 (second floor)
  • Laundry room: 8×9 (second floor)
  • Living room: 20×25 (main floor)