The big pandemic-related real estate story these days is whether people are moving out of the city for all the open space in the suburbs. It’s certainly an option, but even if you’re closing soon, you’ve only got about a month of nice weather to enjoy it before you’re back to looking at the same few rooms.
The other option? Buying an absolutely massive space — if you have a couple million or more laying around.
There aren’t many places bigger than 7,500 square feet for sale in Chicago — Redfin only lists 41 right now — and many of them are what you’d expect. (Five of them alone are on two blocks of Astor Street.) But if you want something other than a tasteful near-North Side mansion (I know), you’ve got options, from a South Side colonial by the Drake Hotel’s architect to a fixer-upper live-work condo near Navy Pier.
Here's what's on the market:
420 West Grand Avenue, Unit 1A, $1.95 million
This is 7,935 square-foot condo in River North has just three bedrooms and 2 and a half baths between its two levels. So where does all the space go? For starters, the family room is 47 by 37 feet and the living room is 63 by 33 feet. Meanwhile, the master bedroom is 47 felet ong (but a modest 14 feet wide). It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, so bring your ideas: live-work space, live-store space, live-dispensary space, live-skatepark space, etc. Yes, it’s weird, but it’s also a relative bargain at that size and neighborhood.
1325 North Astor Street, #13, $8 million
The opposite of the aforementioned condo is this six-bed, six-bath duplex penthouse on prestigious Astor Street. It was designed by legendary fancy-house designer David Adler, himself a protege of legendary fancy-house designer Howard Van Doren Shaw and the guy who got Mies his first job in Chicago. It’s been well preserved (see the marble spiral staircase) and handsomely updated (the massive semicircular kitchen cabinets). Features like three terraces, a large living room, and an intimate library are ideal for soirees, and the master bedroom’s separate dressing areas offer plenty of space and quiet to prepare. At a hair under $8 million, it’s one of the pricier properties in the city, and the HOA dues run over $8,000 a month. Read more about the place here.
1764 North Hoyne Avenue, $3.6 million
If you’re a regular on the 606, I know you know this place and wonder what it looks like. This neo-neo-Palladian mansion has more than 300 windows, seven and a half baths, six fireplaces, six outdoor spaces, five beds, two private wings, and one courtyard. If you really, really like the 606, one of the terraces butts right up to the trail, which is also visible from the chef’s kitchen in one of the wings. $3.6 million is a lot, but at 10,000 square feet, you get a lot of space.
5001 South Greenwood Avenue, $1.95 million
“Colonial” doesn’t exactly scream representative Chicago architecture, but this one has a good pedigree: that of Benjamin Marshall, architect of the Drake Hotel, the Blackstone Hotel, the South Shore Cultural Center, and the Edgewater Beach Hotel. Merely handsome on the outside, the real marvels are on the inside: the elaborate circular plaster ceiling in the dining room, the ornate iron railing above the foyer, the glass-front built-in bookcases in the library, and, well, the ballroom. (The ballroom could use a tasteful restoration, but it is probably better than your current ballroom.) At just over 11,000 square feet for $1.95 million, it’s the best bang for your buck on this list.
817 West Hutchinson Street, $2.6 million
The Hutchinson Street Landmark District in Buena Park is a two-block stretch dominated by the houses of George Maher, a one-time draftsman for Frank Lloyd Wright whose work spans the very compatible styles of late Arts and Crafts and early Prairie School. The 107-year-old Seymour House, which the AIA Guide to Chicago calls “broad, monumental, and dignified,” preserves much of Maher’s vision, and the library — ripped out in exchange for a hot tub — was recently restored. Move fast: this 12,000 square-foot house, at $2.6 million, is up for less than half its 2017 price.