List Price: $990,000
The Property: The spectacular view is the primary attraction of this two-bedroom condo on the 13th floor of the 38-story Riverbend; it looks eastward along the main branch of the Chicago River, taking in all the soaring skyscrapers that flank its sides and the muscular bridges that cross it. From the condo balcony, the el trains on the Wells Street bridge “look like Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood,” jokes Sue Dedmond, who has lived in the condo since 2002. From this level, the lowest condo floor in the building (parking and riverfront townhouses occupy the lower floors), the river and streets still have a human scale; from much higher floors, they would appear even smaller and more remote.
When I was able to pry myself away from the view, I found that the condo has other desirable attributes. The master bedroom is large and private, separated from the living room by a short hallway; it does have blackout shades, useful for shutting out the glittery night lights of the skyline when necessary. The kitchen, too, is spacious, and it’s set between the main living area and the office or den, allowing for a good flow between formal and informal spaces.
Because the main orientation of the building, designed by De Stefano + Partners, is east, its rear or west side holds the common hallways. But the tower’s glassy western wall and light wells on the west end of each condo ensure that daylight reaches that side of the building. “You don’t get a cave effect,” Dedmond says of her rear bedroom and office, which get natural light (from the light wells) even though they have no windows.
Riverbend, at 333 North Canal Street—the point at which the Chicago River breaks off into its north and south branches—occupies a former industrial site. While the immediate neighborhood is still semi-industrial, the East Bank Club is a few blocks north, and a new Dominick’s is a few blocks west. Riverbend has one newer neighbor immediately to the southwest, and developers have announced plans for another building to the south, which would block views from Riverbend’s southernmost condos. Other plans call for a tower to be built across the North Branch from Riverbend at Wolf Point (occupied now by a parking lot adjacent to the Sun-Times/Apparel Mart building). But as of now, that is only a plan.
Price Points: Dedmond initially listed the condo for sale in May 2007, with an asking price of $1.15 million. In 2008, according to dreamtown.com, six three-bedroom units at Riverbend sold for an average price of $788,000 each (the third bedroom in Dedmond’s condo is laid out as an office).
Listing Agent: Jane Shawkey of Rubloff, 312-368-5329; email@example.com
Update: Dedmond’s agent, Jane Shawkey, provided me with her own research from Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) that showed a much higher average price for and three-bedroom condos that were sold at Riverbend in 2008. Shawkey found just two three-bedroom condo sales, at $1,137,500 and $925,000–for an average of $1,187,500. (Each of those condos had an additional half-bath.) The dreamtown.com info, also based on MRED data, differs dramatically from Shawkey’s, but she did provide solid data.