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Urban Wowboy

List Price: $1.899 million
The Property: Among the sharpest buildings from the city’s recent years of condo buildup is the five-year-old Contemporaine, a modern 15-story concrete and glass design by the estimable Ralph Johnson.

List Price: $1.899 million
The Property: Among the sharpest buildings from the city’s recent years of condo buildup is the five-year-old Contemporaine, a modern 15-story concrete and glass design by the estimable Ralph Johnson.

Inside this 11th-floor penthouse with a two-story-high atrium/living room and a terrace that wraps two sides of the home, visitors get the full effect of Johnson’s handiwork. There’s the “wow!” that comes when they first enter the tall, emphatically glassy living room, its glass crisscrossed by the windows’ steel framing. That openness gives way to intimacy as the high ceiling drops down to a more human-scaled height for the dining room and kitchen area.

The views of the building’s exterior from inside the condo or from its terrace accentuates the urban, raw feeling of the bare concrete—a material that looks merely like cheap gray stuff on so many other buildings. And a walk along the slender terrace on the condo’s south wall leaves the impression of strolling among the upper stories of River North’s older brick buildings.

The master bedroom is large and has two walls of glass (one of which frames a broad view of the Merchandise Mart a few blocks south). The adjacent bath has a “wet room,” which combines the shower and the tub, and the dressing room, big enough to have been another bedroom, has floor-to-ceiling glass that looks to the west.

The seller of this unit, Matt Kihnke, was an original employee of his brother Colin’s company, CMK, which developed the Contemporaine. CMK has built several other fine contemporary buildings, including a new visual treat from Ralph Johnson: 235 Van Buren (which will be the subject of next Wednesday’s item here). Now running his own company, Matt Kihnke finished this penthouse unit—one of four condos in the building with a two- or three-story atrium—with a clear eye toward maintaining Johnson’s hand. He installed rough-textured wall coverings that complement the concrete, a sleek kitchen, and mostly minimal window coverings that let the urban view take over.

Price Points: The asking price does not include parking. Kihnke owns two spaces that his selling agent, Karen Ranquist, describes as “rockstar parking.” They are in a private bay at street level shared by just five of the Contemporaine’s 28 owners. (The others have spaces on the building’s aboveground parking floors.) The spaces are priced at $45,000 each. A buyer could opt to pick up a space in the main garage instead; they go for about $32,000.

Listing Agent: Karen Ranquist, RCR Realty, 312-948-9700; Karen@ranquistdevelopment.com

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