List Price: $799,000
Sale Price: $770,000
The Property: Tom Skilling, the WGN-TV weather guru, has bought a condo on the Far North Side. Skilling had lived on a higher floor in the 45-story building since 1978, but, unlike his old place, the new condo on a lower floor offers a full view of Lake Michigan. “For a weather forecaster to have an unobstructed view of the lake, it’s like a dream come true,” Skilling says. “I love the building, so I wouldn’t dream of moving from [it], but now I’m going to look over … the whole lakefront.”
Skilling is also trading up from two bedrooms to three, and he is taking on roommates for the first time in more than 30 years. The CLTV anchor and WGN reporter Sean Lewis and his roommate, Bruce Caulkins, will sell their condo, Skilling says, and move in with him. (Lewis did not respond to a call requesting comment.) “The idea of having some friends to come home to and we can all talk and then retreat to our own corners seems kind of neat to me,” Skilling says. “It’s unconventional, but what the heck.” (WGN, the Chicago Tribune—where Skilling’s reports also appear—CLTV, and Chicago are all owned by Tribune Company.)
In 2008, Skilling undertook a total overhaul of his condo on the higher floor, spending about $300,000 on the project, according to Percy Smith, his real-estate agent. The work included replastering walls and installing new wiring, furnace, air conditioning, a water heater, and hickory floors. “I had just gotten it where I wanted it,” Skilling says, but the opportunity to move to a lake-facing condo proved irresistible. Skilling bought the unit in early October; he says that the particulars of the ownership or tenant arrangement with Lewis and Caulkins are yet to be worked out. The condo, a combo of two original units in the 38-year-old building, is undergoing a total rehab, Skilling says. The work includes adding a gourmet kitchen, because Lewis and Caulkins are big cooks. “Boy, if you’ve got somebody in the place who likes to cook,” Skilling says, “then hey, let them do their thing.” Skilling expects the condo to be ready for move-in by March.
Price Points: Skilling says that he paid $72,500 for the higher condo when he moved to Chicago 31 years ago, and he lived with it mostly as-is until a few years ago, when he launched a full rehab. “I got tired of the paint peeling off the walls,” he says. Now the fully redone condo is listed for sale at $330,000, or just $30,000 more than what his agent says Skilling spent on renovations. The highest sale price for a condo in that tier of the building was $285,000, and that came two and a half years ago when the market was thriving, Skilling says. “It wasn’t fixed up the way mine is, so I’ll give it a try,” says the weatherman.
Listing Agent: Percy Smith, Century 21 A-Team, 773-283-4600