Price: $4.8 million
A rare offering of East Lake Shore Drive quality has surfaced in east Lake View, situated on Belmont Harbor instead of Oak Street Beach.
The fifth-floor condo at 3400 North Lake Shore Drive combines three routine floor plans to form the largest home in the building, a 7,877-square-foot colossus with nearly 100 feet of lake frontage. Its classical finishes were actually installed a decade ago in a full-throttle renovation lasting three years. It’s a testament to the owners’ commitment to get it right that they bought a unit on a lower floor so they could oversee the progress but steer clear of the work. Now empty nesters, the owners (names withheld) are ready to sell and will publicly list their home early next week for $4.8 million.
3400 North Lake Shore Drive is one of the only large buildings in the Belmont Harbor area built prior to World War I, in 1912. It is also one of the only vintage buildings around with a side drive and garage parking, with two spaces assigned to the featured unit.
A keyed elevator opens directly into a private lobby with custom doors to the limestone foyer. Three openings to “public” rooms—living room, music room, and den, and rangy north and south wings beyond—encourage impulsive wayfinding. These central spaces plus library and dining room claim the lake frontage, with a straight shot to the harbor.
“Most units of this caliber are in the Gold Coast or Lincoln Park, and many are co-op,” says listing agent Jennifer Ames of Coldwell Banker. “At 2450 [North Lakeview Avenue] there have been sales [of comparable units] in the $7 million range and you have to pay cash and only get one parking space.” Mortgages are frowned upon at many co-ops.
The soul of this condo is its chef’s kitchen with three ovens, a zinc hood, Viking appliances, a walk-in cooler, mahogany cabinets, and the largest island I’ve ever laid eyes on. The floors are hand-scraped wide plank oak. Known to stage a party or two, the sellers are equipped with two pantries, a scullery, and a catering kitchen.
Pushing past the main kitchen lands you in a wood-paneled family room with and a south balcony. Another small balcony faces east off the music room. One consistency through the common spaces is a preference for mahogany—in pocket doors, paneling, cabinets, and coffered ceilings; another is the recurrence of carved marble fireplaces from France and plaster moldings to match the era. The renovation paid close attention to historical accuracy even while throwing around decadent imports.
All five bedrooms have en suite marble baths and the south-facing master has two walk-in closets and his and hers bathrooms with a shared shower in the middle. A long, barrel-ceiling gallery with cove lighting strings the bedrooms and an office together. Between this and the foyer, there is plenty of display space for a growing art collection.
A similarly sized combo two stories up sold in 2005 for $2.9 million. Otherwise only a handful of condos or co-ops have sold for over $2 million on the Lake View waterfront, and none above $3 million. The next priciest active listing is a 4,900-square-foot condo at the superb 421 West Melrose Street tower, asking $1.3 million. That ought to tell you how uncharacteristic it is to find anything like this north of Diversey.
The sellers have rented or owned at 3400 North Lake Shore Drive for more than 20 years, according to Ames, and although they’re starting to favor their home in Italy they’ll keep a Chicago presence.