For a closer look at the penthouse, launch the photo gallery »
List Price: $2.5 million
The Property: Basking in the sun in the backyard is fun, but at this River North penthouse, it’s not the backyard but the upstairs yard where you go to enjoy the sun.
A condo building’s tenth-floor rooftop is attached to the ninth-floor penthouse, and from it, you’re not just looking at the near neighborhood, River North, at your feet, but at highrises on Michigan Avenue around Millennium Park, buildings in the West Loop, and northwest well beyond Bucktown. All of that surrounds the nicely landscaped rooftop, which is laid out with a main living—or basking—space and a dining space under a canopy. It’s an amazing setup, but it’s really just the cherry on top.
The sundae is the condo on the ninth floor, down a flight of stainless steel steps. Although the living space is slightly lower, the views take in almost everything the deck does, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides. It’s a panoramic view that was expanded by seller Clarence Brown when he bought the condo. He took away a bedroom and pushed the kitchen back, so that the living space had long runs of windows on two sides; it’s an indoor counterpart of the openness of the rooftop.
There are great finishes: raised, lighted ceilings; a mitered stone fireplace surround, and vanishing doors that can be pulled shut to hide the flat-screen TV. On one end of the living room is a balcony—a smaller, more intimate space than the big rooftop—that projects out from the front of the building so that when you look west you see all the old industrial lofts that are the old-timers of River North.
That original industrial feel is reflected in the condo’s interior, in the high-gloss concrete floors that run throughout the home and the sleek stainless steel of the staircase and the sides of the kitchen island, which is topped with marble. The sheen of the steel has a companion in the gleaming white wall of cabinets.
Contributing to the feeling of openness are the interior doors, all of them 10 feet high, as six feet-four inch listing agent Robert John Anderson demonstrates in today’s video.
In the two bedrooms, the tall doors, high ceilings and polished floors keep the crisp contemporary feeling going. In these rooms, the floor-to-ceiling windows look north for a different take on the city; it encompasses North Michigan Avenue and Old Town. The master suite includes a fine dressing area with zebra-wood drawers and a master bath whose light fixtures, tile, and other finishes lend a contemporary elegance.
The master bath, like the rest of the living space, is on the ninth floor, with nothing as high nearby, so it’s unlikely anybody will see you in the bathroom. But for anyone who’s worried, there’s a very unusual bathroom window that with a flip of a switch changes from transparent to opaque. If you’re modest, keep it opaque, and if an exhibitionist, transparent.
Price Points: Brown bought the space in 2006 from the original developer, Ranquist Development, which had commissioned Seattle architect David Miller to create something they told me at the time would be “sexy.” Brown then made the penthouse even sexier with extensive upgrades both inside and on the rooftop. (Public records do not say clearly what he paid for the place.) The asking price includes two indoor parking spaces.