Bienvenue to the South Loop
List Price: $1,499,900
The Property: This 4,300-square-foot condo on the 19th floor of a century-old building on South Michigan Avenue has expansive views of Grant Park, the skyline, and Lake Michigan—but it is laid out with the convenience of suburban ranch house. Two bedrooms and a bath sit at one end, the master and another bedroom are at the other end, and in between are enormous living and dining rooms and a big kitchen.
From the tall windows that line the condo’s broad north exposure, the seller, Michele Vasarely, enjoys looking out at the city that drew her from Paris in 2003. “I think Chicago is a far better city than New York,” she said as we stood looking out from the solarium that connects two bedrooms and the kitchen. “I adore it.” (Balconies were not allowed on the landmark building when it was converted to condos in 2000.)
Vasarely’s late father-in-law, Victor, and husband, Jean-Pierre, were noted artists. After her husband died in 2002, Vasarely moved to Chicago, looking at dozens of condos before buying this one. “It was my blank canvas,” she says. She filled the home with art and antiques—her collections are extensive, as you will see in the video—and in some of the rooms, she wallpapered not only the walls but the ceiling. New buyers will likely want to redecorate those rooms, but they will move into a home whose living room and dining room are scaled for large parties but also contain smaller, more intimate spaces on the sides. “It’s very important for a home this big to have cozy spaces, too,” Vasarely said.
The condo has two full baths and one partial, and it comes with two garage parking spaces. The building has a very warm lobby, a gym, and party rooms. Now known as Michigan Avenue lofts, the building at 9th Street and Michigan Avenue was the headquarters of the Standard Oil Company of Indiana for six decades; in 1973, the company moved into the Randolph Street tower now known as the Aon Center. While the South Loop has boomed, this particular area, between the new condo towers south of Roosevelt Road and the bustling student population mostly north of 8th Street, has remained relatively quiet, but with access to all the nearby vibrancy. “It has been a dream life here,” says Vasarely, who is now planning to return to France.
Price Points: Files at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds do not indicate what Vasarely paid for the condo, and both she and her agent, Cara Buffa, declined to say.