A view of the John Hancock Building from the lake.

List Price: $1,750,000
Sale Price: $950,000
The Property: When a 2,900-square-foot condo on the 83rd floor at the John Hancock Center sold June 22, it became Chicago’s loftiest foreclosure—and very likely, the world’s.

The condo, which combines what were a four-bedroom unit and a studio unit, had been completely renovated within the past several years, says Meg Nagel, the Southport Sotheby’s International agent who represented the home. The condo has marble, granite, and onyx finishes, whitewashed oak flooring, lots of cabinetry in the kitchen, and a walk-in pantry. Its condition, Nagel says, was “exquisite, move right in, nothing wrong with it. There is so much closet space, it looks like a movie star’s home, and the views are spectacular. On the west you get the sunsets, and north you see across Oak Street Beach and all the way up the lakefront to Evanston.”

Nagel, who lives in the building and knew the former residents of this condo, would not discuss them. The public records on the home are not clear; the former residents may have owned at least one of this unit’s two original condos as far back as 1987. In January 2009, the former residents were hit with a foreclosure suit, and in July 2010 the deed was transferred by a judicial sale to United Central Bank. United Central listed it with Nagel in January, with an asking price of $1.75 million. Given its size, condition, and views, “in a better market, it would have gone for almost $2 million,” says Nagle, who has sold more than a dozen Hancock condos. In late May, the bank struck a deal with buyers at $950,000; the deal closed a little over a month later.

The John Hancock Building and Water Tower Place

In Chicago, only three buildings have residences on the 83rd floor or higher: the 100-story Hancock, the 98-story Trump International Hotel and Tower, and the 86-story Aqua. I have not found any foreclosures on the uppermost floors of those buildings. There are only a handful of residential buildings that tall in other parts of the world, and I have not found foreclosures at their tops, either.

While I can’t say with complete certainty that this is the loftiest foreclosure in the world, it certainly holds that dubious honor in Chicago, a distinction that made Nagle laugh. That’s because she was also the agent who sold the second loftiest foreclosure here, an 82nd-floor Hancock unit that she sold last September for $651,000. “The buyers of both of those two [Hancock units] got really great deals,” she says. Prior to these sales, the loftiest known foreclosure in the city was a 59th-floor River North condo that sold in spring 2010.

Price Points: The two Hancock foreclosures are among five distressed properties—three foreclosures and two short sales—to have sold in the building since 2008, according to records at Midwest Real Estate Data. That’s a slim percentage of the roughly 120 sales in the building in the same time frame, Nagel says. Another Hancock home that sold at a markedly low price was the 64th-floor home of the late Saul “Solly” Sherman, who was the last surviving member of the Chicago Bears’ 1940 championship team until his October 2010 death. Combining a two-bedroom unit with a three-bedroom unit, the south-facing home had 3,300 square feet and “needed updating big time,” Nagel says. It sold for $877,000 a few months before Sherman died.

Listing Agent: Margaret “Meg” Nagel of Southport Sotheby’s International Realty; 773-348-9700