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Get This Lake View Condo with an Interior Balcony for $965,000

The gut-renovated, three-bedroom duplex is open and airy. It sits atop Holabird & Root’s remarkable Eddystone near Belmont Harbor.

The richly-appointed duplex penthouse at 421 West Melrose Street.   Photo: Ian Spula

Price: $965,000

In one of the most New York-like buildings in the very New York-like neighborhood of Lakeview East, a splendid duplex is on the market. The gut-renovated space mixes Art Nouveau and Art Deco to the point where you can’t easily sort what is original to the 1928 construction. And the layout is rare: This is one of two duplex units with a dramatic double-height living space, a monumental stone fireplace, and an interior balcony—remnants of its early use as a social club, if the rumor is true.

The three-bedroom unit is delicately finished and playfully furnished, with the restored decorative fireplace and wood panel wall commanding the most attention in the central living space. There’s an array of fine millwork and light fixtures in the home, as well as an original open staircase to the loft overlooking the living area. Built-ins also flourish. There’s a great built-in bookcase in the library/dining area, another beside the fireplace, two slate-topped radiator benches, a bar nook as disorienting as a mirror ball, and a master bedroom with a bunch of clever cabinets and built-in window seating.

Besides this package of designer customizations, the renovation included big stuff like a new kitchen, windows, terrazzo floors, and air conditioning. The sellers are both lawyers but the husband is also a craftsman with a deft hand for interior design. No shortcuts were taken in the rebuild and every room excites with layout and function. For instance, only one of the three bedrooms has a bed—one is a versatile lounge and study, the other a lofted two-room office. They look like they were born into these uses.

The predominately west and north views from the top (22nd) floor take in the texture of the city and a surprisingly large slice of lake over the roof line of Lake Shore Drive buildings (The Eddystone is one building in from the Drive). You’ll find a common roof deck one floor up to mostly make up for the lack of private outdoor space (the top of the fire escape comes to the kitchen’s back exit, though I can’t condone its leisure time use).

Luckily most of the building’s immediate neighbors are shorter. The Eddystone was part of a larger parcel that, prior to the Depression, was to be developed with six towers with the tallest at 420 feet, clustered together and stepping upward like Rockefeller Center. Only one was built, with Holabird & Root as architect, and even at 252 feet was Lake View’s tallest until the 1950s.

Price Points: The sellers listed their 2,230-square-foot home in April 2014 for $1.2 million and brought the ask down to $965,000 in last week’s listing reset. They paid $560,000 in 2004. Price per square foot—$433—is about 70 percent higher than the building and neighborhood averages, but by now it’s pretty clear why.

This expressive breed of vintage property tends not to play to a wide audience, but it does have a few items working for it: quality design and craftsmanship; city and lake views through elegant, towering windows; and, the fact that it’s a condo in a co-op district. “Even in the co-ops it’s hard to find a space like this,” says KoenigRubloff listing agent Brad Lippitz. “And all things being equal, the majority of buyers prefer a condo; it’s easier to finance and resell.”

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