List Price: $829,900
The Property: This two-story penthouse condo at the top of the 101-year-old Mentor Building (at 39 South State Street) has three bedrooms plus an office, a stylish kitchen, and striking views of the surrounding architecture. Windows in the condo’s lower floor look out between some of the columns that give the building’s upper reaches the look of a temple-in-the-sky. (The condo’s upper level, where the three bedrooms and two full baths are, is on a floor concealed from street-level view.) Views stretch north all the way to the new Trump building; what’s more, those views can never be blocked because the landmark Sullivan Center (formerly the Carson Pirie Scott store) stands just to the north. To the south, the views are of the ornate limestone trim at the top of the Palmer House.
Originally designed for offices and retail, the Mentor Building is the tallest structure designed by the architect Howard Van Doren Shaw—and for a time it housed Shaw’s own offices. Developers converted most of its 17 stories to condos in 2002, and in 2005, Keith Conant bought this unit (which actually has a Monroe Street address), the building’s largest. Conant, who is the principal viola in the Lyric Opera’s orchestra, was drawn to the unit because it is less than eight blocks from three of the four places he works: the Lyric, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Pritzker Pavilion (the fourth is Ravinia). It also helped that his grand piano fit in the living room. Conant installed that great kitchen and a new furnace; upgraded the second-floor skylights; and replaced the carpet on that level with hardwood flooring—renovations that transformed this condo into what Conant calls his “dream place.”
Financial difficulties unrelated to Conant’s work forced him to list the property for sale earlier this year. He has a deeded parking space in a building across State Street that he is selling separately, with an asking price of $40,000. A buyer will most likely opt to upgrade the two and a half bathrooms, which are still modestly outfitted “builder specials” and not the same caliber as the kitchen
Price Points: When Conant first listed the place, in March, he was asking $965,000; he settled on the $829,900 price tag in September.
Listing Agent: Len Nevin, Koenig & Strey GMAC; (312) 204-5003