Illustration: Iris Gan
From $300,000 to $1.5 million

Reshaping the Summit
Developer makes over the top eight stories of 34-year-old “pinstriped” tower

A 49-story Loop office tower is getting a face-lift. Actually, it might be better characterized as a forehead lift, since the changes will affect only the top eight stories of 55 E. Monroe, where developers are installing condos-a process that entails adding balconies and removing some of the columns that give the 34-year-old structure its pinstriped look.

“We’re taking great pains to make sure there’s a good visual transition from the lower floors to the upper, residential floors,” says Jim Losik, the Equity Marketing senior vice president who is overseeing the development of the Park Monroe condos. “It’s not going to look like a new building put down on top of an old one. It’s going to break up the monolithic look of the building.”

Also broken up: the pricing structure of the 156 condos. Units on the west side, overlooking the Loop, will have either one bedroom or a bedroom and a den and will be priced from $300,000 into the high $400,000s. On the east side, looking toward Millennium Park and the lake, units will have two or three bedrooms, and some will be duplexes. Prices there will start at about $650,000 and go to $1.5 million, Losik says. The first residents should move in late next year.

Illustration: Schulzdesign
Lake View
From $266,000 to $349,900

Flex Time
Condominiums go convertible

Converting the smallish apartments of a Lake View four-plus-one into condominiums required the developer Kevin Kroupa to keep his thinking flexible. And so was born the “fleximinium,” a residential unit with custom-built walls that can be reconfigured on a whim.

There are 46 units in the Vivant (at 515 West Melrose Avenue), and eight of them will be fleximiniums. In those, a large bedroom will have movable dividers that split the space in two, giving homeowners “more control over the floor plan,” says the Vivant’s sales agent, Jay Stover. And since the dividers don’t go all the way to the ceiling, natural light from the window projects into both spaces. Fleximinium units, priced from $315,900 to $334,900 (depending on the floor), are each 1,000 square feet.

Other units range in size from 850-square-foot condos (one bedroom and a den, priced at $266,900) to 900-square-foot duplexes (topping out at $349,900). At press time, seven units had already sold. The new owners were scheduled to begin arriving in May.

Illustration: Lucien Lagrange
Glen Ellyn
Condos from $760,000 to
$1.2 million
Townhouses from $590,000 to $895,000

“Lower Wacker Drive” Pops Up Out West
Development’s underground parking-and plans for sidewalks and gardens-ensure a paradise for pedestrians

The developer of a Glen Ellyn condo-and-townhouse complex has devised a way to make the property a pedestrian’s haven. At the Mews of Glen Ellyn, all the parking spaces will be underground, reached by a tunnel that the project’s sales manager, Jenny LaPointe, describes as “the Lower Wacker Drive of Glen Ellyn.” That leaves more room for sidewalks, fountains, gardens, and terraces. “You also lose all that light bleed into your home from the streetlights and parking lights,” adds the developer, John Vivoda. Designed by Lucien Lagrange, the Mews has townhouses encircling a four-story condo building. At press time, five (of eight) condos and nine (of 24) townhouses had already been sold. The remaining condos are priced from $760,000 to $1.2 million; townhouses are priced between $590,000 and $895,000.