It’s hard to tell that the mishmash of lofts and town homes of Terra Cotta Condominiums and Terra Cotta Village at Clybourn and Wrightwood Avenues was once the 24-acre site of the Northwestern Terra Cotta Company plant— at its 1920s peak, the world’s largest producer of the fussy and frail architectural ornament. Only a small piece of the original factory remains—where six custom loft condos exist today. The conversion took place in 1989.
Katy Thomas bought her unit, a 2,300-square-foot triplex, in 2004 for $505,000. The condition of the home was good then and it’s better now—the latest round of alterations were cosmetic things such as new paint, new lighting, a modern touch-up of the double-sided fireplace, and the installation of a wet bar on the one-room third floor. Baths and the kitchen are as Thomas found them. The intrinsic selling points are a 400-square-foot private roof deck with east views over Lincoln Park; 16-foot ceiling in the living and dining area; eight-foot windows; a large open kitchen; gated courtyard; and garage parking. The unit is set up with just one bedroom but the lofted second floor lounge with full bath will take on another.
The unit had a stint on the market from April through October of last year, but at $799,000 the interest just wasn’t there. Listing agent Debbie Maue of Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty brought the home back to market January 6 with a new ask of $699,900 and a belief in 2015’s improved economic climate. “[Interest] rates are still low, gas prices are low, the job market is much better, and people are more certain about this being a time to buy,” says Maue. The asking price is low by square foot and high in comparison to other two-beds. It definitely helps that the neighboring triplex sold in April 2014 for $827,500—200 square feet larger with an extra bedroom and a superior roof deck.
Your money gets something contemporary but awfully close to historic landmark. That’s because the building is orange-rated on the city’s historic resources survey and is covered by a 90-day demolition delay in case anybody ever moved to tear it down. The delay gives the city time to act to officially landmark the structure if desired.