Skokie’s most expensive listing is also the priciest condo in all of Chicago’s suburbs. The 4,000-square-foot penthouse rests on the 19th floor of Optima Old Orchard Woods’ Maple Tower, one of three interlaced 20-story steel and glass buildings designed and developed by David Hovey towering over the Edens Expressway at Golf Road. Mirjana Garcia and her late husband Salvador combined a couple of two-bedroom units for the sensational layout, taking in a 600-square-foot corner balcony with skyline views and a sliver of the lake.
The Garcias bought new in 2008 for $1.94 million after the buildings were up but before the floor-by-floor build-outs had finished. Plumbing had been laid and rooms demarcated when they made the move to combine. The space doubles up on are living rooms and master bedrooms: The east living room was named the family room and either bedroom can easily be a a guest suite—the Garcias favored the west master with its extra sitting room and private balcony.
“I never wanted to live in an apartment,” says Mirjana, who owned a house in Glenview previously, “but my husband came home one day and said ‘guess what, I saw something you might like’ so we dashed to the Evanston sales office. We were planning ahead for grandkids with the extra rooms, but with my husband’s passing it almost feels obnoxious having all this now.
“You don’t feel like you’re in an apartment up here because the home doesn’t end with its four walls,” she continues. “I can garden, throw the ball for my dog, and she has the freedom to come in and out.” The terrace that allows for such liberty is flanked by neat hedges—a trademark of the development—that can be pruned or shifted to alter the view. It is also wired for audio and is buffeted against winds on two sides by the building.
The unit’s 9-foot ceilings are among the highest in the building (they get as low as 7.5’ on some floors), and that certainly aids the drama of floor-to-ceiling glass. An open living and dining area grabs big views, including a look-back on the adjoining tower and its plush rooftop balconies. Adjacent to this central space are kitchen and butler’s pantry with wet bar, each with all-new appliances and granite countertops. The bathrooms are decked in marble and the floors in stained oak.
Well-kept common amenities are a calling card of Optima Old Orchard Woods. All three towers have fitness centers with a view on the 19th floor, just a stroll down the hall from the penthouse. There are tennis courts on the premises and a large indoor pool and twin hot tubs. Proximity to the highway is the least interesting fact of the development’s setting. On the backside is county forest preserve; standing right next to the south tower is the Illinois Holocaust Museum; and across Golf Road is an equestrian center. Downtown Skokie is a trek, but hey, there’s a big mall right nearby.
Price Points: Mirjana is selling but she’s not leaving the building. Assuming her penthouse sells reasonably soon, a two-bedroom unit she bought for her late mother will be ground zero for a hunt for her next spot. And should her penthouse sell for anything close to its $2.3 million asking price, it will be the top resale at Optima Old Orchard Woods. The next highest priced condo at this address is an eighth floor three-bed listed for $639,000; the next highest-priced home in Skokie is a single-family asking $1.28 million; and the next highest-priced condo in the suburbs as far as I can tell is going for $1.9 million in Highland Park.