Price: $6.4 million
Another helping of luxury penthouse is headed to market at The Residences at 900 North Michigan Avenue (aka The Bloomingdale Building), expected to list by day’s end. The property, on the tower’s 63rd floor (four shy of the top), is one of eight duplex penthouses at this Four Seasons Hotel-anchored address, Chicago’s third-tallest residential building. The asking price for this classically appointed 7,000-square-footer will be $6.4 million—slightly more appealing than the $11.5 million sought by a previous owner in 2010.
That owner was Richard J. Klarchek, a real estate investor who acquired mobile home parks around the country but ended up filing for bankruptcy at the same time he listed the penthouse. Philanthropically, Klarchek donated $10 million to Loyola University and got his name on the Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons, an inviting piece of architecture right on the lakefront. Nothing came of his sales attempt, and the penthouse sold in foreclosure this January. The buyer’s identity is not yet public record, nor is the price paid in foreclosure. We are still seeking this information. New listing agent Millie Rosenbloom of Baird & Warner also declined to name her client.
She did share a thorough description of the custom home, redesigned to seamlessly unite Klarchek’s combined units (nos. 6302 and 6304) in 2004 by star Chilean interior decorator Juan Pablo Molyneux and architect Marvin Herman. Borne of admiration for Europe’s Neoclassical lakeside villas but working with 20-foot window walls, dominant lake and city views, and an immovable limestone staircase, Molyneux hauled in refined materials, ornate millwork, marble, and silk and velvet wall tapestries to create intimacy against all odds.
A wood-paneled foyer opens to grand staircase and double-height living room accented by wrought iron railings and gilded lion head medallions. A seductive dining room, eat-in kitchen, parlor, powder room, and master bedroom with his and hers master bathrooms and walk-in closets fill out the main floor. The comparison isn’t even fair—the “lady’s bath” has brass-framed mirror walls, inlaid marble floors, and a solid onyx soaking tub pushed up to east-facing windows. As Molyneux told Architectural Digest in 2009, he and his team made four or five trips to Europe to decorate and furnish the home to this exacting standard.
Rarely is a home’s second floor as captivating as its main floor, but in this case the upstairs is built around a broad balcony looking out over the living room and Mag Mile (the Hancock Center steals the show). Ceiling murals come into play here and in the sprawling family room, and a second master suite is nearly the equal of the primary one. There is a also an operatic home theater, and a 2,000-bottle wine closet with an adjoining bedroom-sized tasting room. A third and final en-suite bedroom and an exercise room are also stashed upstairs (somewhat redundant considering the Four Season’s gym and spa are at your disposal).
Price Points: The only numbers that serve as a remotely usable barometer are what two neighbors spent on penthouses in early 2011. One bought a 4,300 square-foot 66th floor unit for $7.2 million (or $1,674 a square foot!) after the seller reportedly subjected it to a $5 million renovation; the other paid $2.25 million for 3,000 square feet on the 63rd and 64th floors. The former, especially, puts our featured unit’s asking price ($914 a square foot) in an even more favorable light. Klarchek paid $2.65 million for the place in 1995, pre-renovation and not distressed.
$6.4 million ain’t what it used to be. This property will hit the market as just the eighth most expensive condo in Chicago, falling outside the top 20 overall.