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Apartments in Legendary Marina City Are Surprisingly Affordable

It starts with a retro studio on the 52nd floor for just over $200k, but a sleek one bedroom with a great city view isn’t much more.

Want a one-bedroom on the 42nd floor in one of the city’s most famous buildings for just $315k? The apartment above is for sale.   Photo: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff

The concept for the “city within a city” is nothing new, but the idea of developing an expansive mixed-use complex with residences, office space, retail, and entertainment was a groundbreaking one when Marina City was first conceived of back in the 1960s. Designed by architect Bertrand Goldberg, the striking towers at Marina City were a radical departure from the Miesian-style boxy high-rises that were common at the time. Noted for his dislike of corners (which Bertrand believed was wasted space), the towers at Marina City are round to maximize living space, provide striking views, and to set the development apart.

Marina City is a favorite of tourists and locals alike and a highlight of any downtown riverboat architecture cruise. The corn cob-shaped towers are also a point of endearment for listeners of dad rock (hello Wilco fans). In early 2016, Marina City earned official Chicago Landmark designation, forever protecting the towers’ place in the Chicago skyline. But despite the cultural and architectural significance of the distinctive towers, Marina City is also known as a relatively low-cost option for downtown buyers. It’s rare to see units crack the half million dollar mark, but the trade-off is that many units for sale likely need some updating or improvements.

If you’re a longtime admirer of Marina City or just a curious bypasser, here’s a look at some fresh listings in the midcentury towers.

300 N. State Street #5201, $209,000

Photo: VHT Studios

In some ways, Marina City could be thought of as the anti-luxury downtown high-rise. Instead of granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, you’ll find delightfully retro finishes and pastel colors in this 52nd floor studio apartment. At 500 square feet, there’s just enough room for a bed, a desk, and a few other items, but you’re also getting a generous outdoor balcony with incredible views of downtown.

300 N. State Street #5130, $259,900

marina city chicago apartments
Photo: D’aprile Properties

Listed back in September, this 51st floor one-bedroom has taken a couple of small price cuts in recent months. Originally listed for just under $270,000, the seller is now seeking just under $260,000. The unit has seen some updating, the listing agent indicates, including a newer kitchen. Having been on the market for several months, this one may be ready for a competitive offer.

300 N. State Street #3635, $262,000

marina city chicago apartments
Photo: VHT Studios

If you prefer a place that has been mostly updated already, this 36th floor one-bedroom is worth a look. New to the market, the residence boasts a newer kitchen and bathroom and enough room for a dinette. Again, you’re getting a large balcony—a huge bonus and a nice amenity that is tough to beat at the price point.

300 N. State Street #4206, $315,000

Fan of fixer upper shows and the rustic chic aesthetic typically seen in television rehabs? This one-bedroom on the 42nd floor (pictured at top) might be for you. Edison bulbs? Check. Sliding barn-style door for the bedroom? Check. With north-facing balconies, this unit has particularly nice views of the city. It can be yours for just over $300,000.

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