Once again high end Chicago home buyers (people looking to spend $4 MM+ on a home) showed a strong preference for condos over single family homes. A couple weeks ago I posted on the most expensive single family home sales of 2019 and there were only 9 of them. However, there were 29 condo sales at or above $4 MM last year and that’s actually down slightly from 37 the year before.
Granted, the bulk of those sales were actually closings from just 2 new construction buildings. No. 9 Walton, which dominated last year’s list, accounted for 8 of the sales while One Bennett Park accounted for 11 sales. Those two buildings were 2/3 of the closings and 4 of the top 5 sales occurred in No. 9 Walton, which I’ll get to later. If you want to know more about No. 9 Walton you can check out last year’s post on the most expensive condo sales of 2018.
One Bennett Park started closing on units in February of last year so it wasn’t in my 2018 list. Thus far 24 units have sold. The two highest 2019 sales in that building were units 5609 and 5709 at $6.35 MM each, which placed them at positions 6 and 7 in last year’s ranking.
One Bennett Park is a 70 story LEED certified building designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects and developed by Related Midwest with 69 condos that started at $1.85 MM and 279 apartments that started at $3195/ month. The single tower has been constructed in such a way that it can be marketed as two separate buildings for renters vs. condominium owners, each with their own entrance and lobby. The renters enter on 514 N Peshtigo and their units occupy floors 4 – 39 but the condo owners enter at 451 E Grand and their units occupy floors 41 – 66.
Condominium owners have exclusive access to 5000 square feet of amenities on the 41st floor which includes a fitness center, a salon and spa suite, and an event suite that includes a catering kitchen, landscaped terraces, and lounges with billiards. Both renters and condo owners share amenities on the 3rd and 4th floors that include a 10,000 square foot deck with an outdoor pool, lounge areas, outdoor kitchens and cabanas, and fire pits. There is another 5,000 square feet of fitness and wellness facilities, a 60 foot long indoor pool, a catering kitchen, an entertainment center, and facilities for children of various ages that are also shared on these lower levels.
The third most expensive condo sale of 2019 occurred in the Park Tower at 800 N Michigan. Unit 5101 with 6240 square feet and 5 bedrooms, 5 full bathrooms, one half bath, 2 terraces, 2 garage spaces and 2 fireplaces sold for $6.958 MM to an unknown buyer – most likely in a private transaction since the MLS shows it sold in a single day with a de minimis description and no photos.
The listing does say that there was a major renovation but the photos from the 2016 listing, when it sold for $4.5 MM, show a unit that was a little outdated but nicely finished. I guess it’s hard to imagine that the identical unit sold 3 years later for an additional $2.5 MM so maybe there was substantial work done to it. The seller of the unit was Georges and Leila El-Zoghbi. Georges is a director of several companies, including the Kraft Heinz Co.
The top 2 condo sales of 2019 were both in No. 9 Walton which has now closed on 60 units (7 of which were subsequently flipped). The second most expensive condo sale was unit 3300 for $8.2 MM – originally listed for $13 MM but subsequently lowered to $10.7 MM. It was a full floor, partially finished unit at 7085 square feet with 4 bedrooms, 6 full bathrooms, 2 half baths, and 2 parking spaces. According to the description:
Incredible, rare opportunity to own a full-floor unit in Chicago’s premiere, sold-out building, No. 9 Walton. 7100 square feet of luxury living with 360-degree views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. The enormous private heated terrace is perfect for entertaining. Sophisticated floor plan with many unique and special features designed by Tom Stringer Design Partners. The space is currently drywalled with all electrical, plumbing and pre-wired for a Lutron home automation system. All cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, doors, hardware and trim are included and ready for installation. Experience the ultimate in 5-star services and ultra luxury living at No. 9 Walton. Amenities include 24 hour door staff and valet, house car, indoor pool, sauna, steam room, hot tub, 2-story exercise studio, golf simulator, private hospitality room with catering kitchen, bar, and landscaped terrace, 2 guest suites, indoor/outdoor pet area, and wine storage room. Price includes 2 valet parking spaces…Includes all kitchen and bathroom cabinetry by O’Brien Harris, Kallista plumbing fixtures, solid core doors, custom profile crown molding, door casing, and baseboards. All materials are on-site but not installed. Unit has been pre-wired for sound, Lutron lighting, and window treatments. One of only 3 units with unobstructed south views of the skyline.
So it’s actually hard to say whether or not the labor to finish the project was included in the price and what, if any, finishes remained to be purchased – e.g. what about flooring? To make matters even more confusing unit 3100 closed 6 months earlier for $11,274,395 vs. a list price of $11.2 MM. So did the buyers of unit 3100 get more thrown in or did they subsequently feel like the biggest suckers in the world?
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Gary Lucido is the President of Lucid Realty, the Chicago area’s full service real estate brokerage that offers home buyer rebates and discount commissions. If you want to keep up to date on the Chicago real estate market or get an insider’s view of the seamy underbelly of the real estate industry you can Subscribe to Getting Real by Email using the form below. Please be sure to verify your email address when you receive the verification notice.