List Price: $449,000
The Property: A three-bedroom loft condo in a century-old Chicago commercial building with red-brick flourishes on its arches, this home suddenly added a cool tidbit to its profile last week. On January 29th, the Chicago Tribune’s Patrick Reardon wrote in the paper’s Tempo section about buildings around the city that had appeared over the years in different movies. Reardon’s lead example was an old triangular building at Milwaukee Avenue and Noble Street—Chicago’s Noble Square neighborhood—that played a small role in the 1948 film noir docudrama Call Northside 777.
Margaret Haggerty, who had her third-floor condo in that very building up for sale, found out about the story through friends and alerted her real-estate agent. Suddenly, Louie Kritikos wasn’t just listing a “spacious, sun-drenched corner loft.” He was listing a condo that has a distinct link to the big-screen image of Chicago as a gritty, muscular city.
Call Northside 777 was the first film after the silent era to be shot on location in Chicago; it fictionalizes the true story of a newspaper reporter (played by Jimmy Stewart) investigating the decade-old case of an immigrant Chicagoan imprisoned for killing a police officer. The convicted man’s mother has been trying for years to get him freed. In the movie, the dogged Stewart spends some time in the Polish neighborhood around Milwaukee Avenue and Division Street. In one scene, he walks beneath the Schlitz sign hanging over a tavern and goes in.
Haggerty lives two floors above the site of that tavern, which is now an art gallery. She bought the condo in March 2002, and for nearly six years, she knew nothing of the building’s tiny screen role. “It’s nice to know that the building has some history in film,” she says now, “and it’s neat that Jimmy Stewart was in this building.”
The triangular structure was converted to three condos (with a retail space on the ground floor) in 1999. Haggerty’s 2,100-square-foot unit occupies the entire third floor. It has exposed brick walls, tall windows, and a well-designed floor plan. The third bedroom and bath are at one point of the triangular layout (for privacy), the living room is at a second point, and the master bedroom, ensconced behind French doors in its own suite, occupies the third point. The kitchen has cork floors, two big windows looking onto the neighborhood, and doors on the refrigerator and dishwasher that, in a clever twist on the usual stainless steel appliances, are covered with steel mesh screening.
There is one indoor parking space (included in the sale price), and a new deck and rear stairs are under construction. Haggerty has already paid for the special assessment that covers that project, so a buyer gets those improvements without paying extra for them.
Price Points: Haggerty, who is moving farther north within the city to be closer to her office in Morton Grove, initially listed the condo last May, with another agent. She volunteers that, at the original asking price of $525,000, “it was over-priced.” She cut the price a few times before relisting the property in January with Kritikos, who set the asking price at a more reasonable $449,000.
Listing Agent: Louie Kritikos, Century 21 SGR, (773) 203-0500; email@example.com.