List Price: $3.6 million
The Property: The immense living room of this fifth-floor condo at the northern tip of the Gold Coast offers a majestic view over the lawns, soccer fields, and statuary in the southern stretches of Lincoln Park. “We thought of all that as our own front yard,” says John Benjamin, who, with his wife, Esther, has lived in this condo in the 13-story confection at 1550 North State Parkway for about 17 years (the building itself dates back to 1912). Now spending much of the year in Florida, the Benjamins have listed their home—which they created out of two smaller condos in the early 1990s—with Nancy Joyce of Koenig & Strey GMAC.

Among other details, the four-bedroom, four-bath condo features the 738-square-foot living room’s original wood paneling, four balconies, and a three-room master suite that includes an original fireplace and one of the building’s distinctive bowed bays of windows. The condo also looks east over the 19 chimneys of the Queen Anne mansion where Francis Cardinal George lives; a high-rise limits any views of Lake Michigan.

The building’s columnar bays, ornate stone façade, and rows of oversized urns lining the roof make it one of the sweetest sights along the rim of Lincoln Park. Designed by Benjamin Marshall, the building originally had a single 9,000-square-foot apartment on each floor, with servants’ rooms on the west side (where the views were inferior). Those grand spaces were later chopped up into several units each, Joyce says, but each floor now contains only two units. 

You will see a handsome dining room in the video tour; that didn’t exist when the Benjamins acquired the space. The couple created the dining room, next to the period-piece dining room, out of the master bedroom of one of the two units they had bought. "We had inherited John’s parents’ dining room furniture, and we needed room for it,” explains Esther Benjamin. They also created a big kitchen with views over the park and lots of storage space behind the flat-panel cabinet doors that reach to the ceiling.

The building’s shared amenities speak to an earlier era’s view of gracious living. On the “library floor” (a mezzanine), there is a large wine room with ample storage space for each resident’s wine collection, and on the 11th floor there is a two-room suite for guests of the building’s residents.

Price Points: Joyce reports that there have been no recorded sales in the building in at least a year, so price comparisons for this one are difficult. Also for sale in the building now is a 3,600-square-foot, three-bedroom unit seven stories up from this one but on the west side of the building, where the views are far less spectacular. According to Joyce, that unit also lacks virtually all the original finishes. The asking price there is $2.45 million.

Listing Agent: Nancy Joyce, Koenig & Strey GMAC, 312-339-4949