The view from Aqua's 81st floor

Since Jeanne Gang’s Aqua was completed in 2009, views of the tower have landed in countless tourists’ scrapbooks and Facebook posts. But views from Aqua can be pretty sweet, too, as you will see in the video and pictures I shot recently from two condos for sale on the tower’s top residential floors.

On the 81st floor, the 82-story tower’s highest residential level, is a two-bedroom condo with an asking price of $1.2 million. It offers a splendid view south and east over high-rises, parks, and a vast crescent of Lake Michigan. From the balcony, the views also extend north, past the Chicago River and Navy Pier and out into the lake.

The 1,800-square-foot condo bounced back to Magellan, the builder’s developer, after a buyer abandoned the contract. It has an upgraded kitchen with Snaidero cabinets and high-end appliances, and (except in the two carpeted bedrooms) floors with an antique maple finish.

The condo next door is also for sale, at $1.9 million; the three-bedroom unit has about 2,880 square feet. That one also bounced back to the developer, but it is unfinished, largely raw space. Its six main rooms are all lined up along the building’s south face, and it has a 91-foot-long balcony.

For city views from Aqua, there’s this 71st-floor three-bedroom, 1,800 square feet priced at $929,000. This condo’s northern view stretches across the river and Streeterville to the Lake.

A view of the John Hancock Building from the 71st floor balcony at Aqua

The view west is a breathtaking sight: the river laced by bridges, and some of the city’s architectural gems, including the gold-topped spire of the Hard Rock Hotel (originally the Carbide & Carbon Building).

A view of the Chicago River from the 71st floor balcony at Aqua

And the south view takes in Millennium and Grant Parks. Hard as it may be to believe, all of that is visible from the same condo.

A view of Millennium Park from the 71st floor balcony at Aqua

About 62 of Aqua’s condos remain for sale, according to Tricia Van Horn, Magellan’s marketing vice president; prices start at $300,000 and top out at $1.9 million. The highest price paid at Aqua was $2,299,999 for a 3,600-square-foot duplex penthouse last fall. Van Horn said that, as of this week, only about ten of the 474 apartments on floors 19 to 53 are not yet leased.

Aqua’s neighborhood, Lakeshore East—already a city standout—is getting some much-needed additions this year. Its retail component is finally catching up to the residential, with four tenants—Mariano’s Fresh Market, III Forks Steakhouse, Black Coffee Gallery, and Cuticles Nail Salon—slated to take up about 80,000 square feet of the new 102,000-square-foot Village Market Center, currently under construction about a block south of Aqua. Those businesses are expected to move in this fall, and Van Horn says that some additional tenants will be announced soon.

Elsewhere, Chalk Preschool is coming to a building about a block and a half east of Aqua, and later this year Magellan plans to break ground on a new apartment building northeast of Aqua.