List Price: $650,000
The Property: This two-bedroom condo in one of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s revolutionary steel and glass towers on Lake Shore Drive turns out to be the very apartment in which the great architect himself planned to live. Known as the “Glass Houses,” the pair of buildings at 860 and 880 North Lake Shore Drive are local landmarks. In its guide to Chicago, the American Institute of Architects calls them “the first and most forceful demonstration of [Mies’s] ideas for tall buildings,” and notes that “the influence of these structures was to pervade much of modern architecture.”
In 1950, as the two buildings neared completion, Mies decided he would take two adjoining apartments in the northeast corner of 880’s 21st floor. “You wonder what made him want this floor and not something higher,” says Nancy Joyce, the Koenig & Strey GMAC agent now representing the apartment for its sellers (both buildings are 26-stories tall). There is no record of why Mies didn’t move in; the architect remained where he had been, in an apartment on Delaware Place, near what is now the Museum of Contemporary Art.
The sellers, Catherine Murray and Kingsley Martin, an attorney, bought the unit in 2002 and renovated the place. They moved to Switzerland last year but held onto the condo; they listed it for sale last week. The place has two bedrooms, two baths, and a small kitchen that may need to be redone, even though its cabinets were salvaged from another Mies building. The condo’s 800-square-foot living room provides lofty views of Lake Michigan.
Price Points: Murray and Martin paid $615,000 for the unit and a deeded parking space in July 2002, when the market was on fire. Their current asking price is $650,000, but the parking space is listed separately at $60,000, bringing the total package to $710,000. As the market cooled over the past couple of years, most units in the twin buildings have sold for less than $515,000, according to data from the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois (one unit did sell for $695,000). In the two Mies buildings at 900-910 North Lake Shore Drive, sale prices have mostly remained below $550,000, although one unit there also went for $695,000. But this condominium comes with the cachet of a copy of a 1950 letter from Pace Associates, Mies’s architectural partners on the project, indicating that the internationally renowned architect once planned to live in the space.
Listing Agent: Nancy Joyce, Koenig & Strey GMAC, (312) 339-4949