List Price: $1.499 million
The Property: It’s a view property, but what you see from this two-story townhouse at the base of a River North condo tower isn’t the usual grand sweep of skyline or lake. Instead, you get a human-scale view of a quieter stretch of the Chicago River and tranquil Erie Park, with the handsome old Ohio Street Bridge as backdrop.
The sellers, Bill and Judy Swindle, bought the place during the planning phase of Park Place, the condo tower at 600 North Kingsbury Street. The couple snapped up this rare space, combining two condos in the building’s rounded northwest corner into one three-bedroom townhouse. Among other things, the Swindles installed a kitchen with a stainless-steel backsplash and a side door that opens onto a small balcony overlooking the park that lies immediately north of the building.
But the main views are to the west, where summertime tour boats and water taxis glide past on the river’s North Branch. The first-floor ceiling in the living room cuts away to give that room a soaring view—and the round second-floor sitting room a view that extends down toward the water.
“Where are you going to go in this city where you have direct access to a four-acre park and that view of the river?” asks Bill Swindle, a truck dealer whose wife, Judy, retired from Chicago Public Schools a few years ago. “When you look out there, you know why we’re reluctant sellers.” Because he’s now semiretired and can work from anywhere, Swindle says, the couple plan to move to a condominium in Mexico.
Price Points: The Swindles bought the raw space for $620,000 in November 2002. In addition to finishing the plumbing and electrical work, they built a see-through staircase that preserves the view from the foyer. They installed extensive custom tile, stone, and glass, as well as stainless steel interior columns and premier wood finishes (bird’s-eye maple, African wenge, walnut, and pecan). Their exterior landscaping included mature birch trees, which now punctuate the view from some of the townhouse’s rooms. Bill Swindle would not disclose the couple’s total investment in the property, which they completed in 2005.