With the exception of the Clybourn Corridor, Lincoln Park is not much of a loft neighborhood. The area’s oldest residential loft conversions are scattered along this jumbled commercial avenue, and one of the finest and largest examples is the 1985 rebuild of the former Baldwin Piano factory at 1872 North Clybourn Avenue. At the time of its conversion there was still a good deal of light industry nearby, and Marcey Street, behind the complex, was a very seedy alley—far from the furniture strip and Trader Joe’s shortcut it is today.
Between 15 and 20 of the original homeowners still remain at the 57-unit Clybourn Lofts. Five of these units are three-level town homes wrapping two sides of a shared courtyard, and one is on the market for $474,900. Sabrina and Sean Cullinan are upsizing to a Bucktown house after eight years in the space.
The Cullinans sunk about $50,000 into a modern renovation, adding a new kitchen, new baths, a second bedroom within the footprint of an oversized master suite, oak floors, and inset lighting. The main floor consists of a double-height living area with exposed brick and a large eat-in kitchen; the middle floor is basically just an interior balcony, but one large enough for a second living room and a full bath; and the third floor sports both bedrooms and 12-foot timber ceilings. The rear of the home comes right to the Marcey Street sidewalk while the front features a small patio bleeding into the courtyard.
Adding to the house’s value is the common roof deck on the main loft building and a recently redesigned and reengineered courtyard. Landscape Concepts Management, the firm responsible for the series of giant human head planters along Michigan Avenue, did the courtyard overhaul with a focus on drainage.
Price Points: The Cullinans are offering their home for a few grand less than their 2007 purchase price even with the extensive improvements. Lucky for them, the market has picked up to the point where a short sale isn’t a real danger. The slightly smaller, unimproved neighboring town house sold in late 2013 for $390,000, and sales have been rolling along at a healthy clip in the main loft building. The monthly assessment is $440 and rental parking is available for an extra $120 a month.
Cara Buffa of KoenigRubloff has the listing.