This duplex penthouse at Lincoln Park 2550 is the most expensive condo to hit the market since 2012 and is second only to Donald Trump’s $32 million chunk of the Trump Tower among active listings. The 12,506-square-foot unit has enormous windows, multiple Juliet balconies, and 14-16 foot ceilings, but the main thing is the views and the freedom to conceptualize an interior from scratch.
The imperious Lincoln Park 2550 brought a touch of Dubai to coastal Lincoln Park, opening in June 2012 impervious to the down economy. It was one of a very few large Chicago projects at that time able to cling to construction financing and is Lincoln Park’s tallest tower. It contains 40-plus condos that have sold above $2 million and more $3 to $5 million sales than any other building in the city, according to Tere Proctor, President of ARC Residential and in charge of sales at 2550. The building’s 218 developer units are 92 percent sold at press time.
The penthouse is more semi-raw than raw, thanks to an introductory round of finishes by Ricker-Murphy Development. 38 arched picture windows have been installed, trimmed by sloping floor-to-ceiling drywall—a play on the tower’s mansard roof. Architect Lucien Lagrange typically incorporates opulent Parisian details into his neoclassical portfolio, and 2550 is no slouch in this department. Hardwood flooring has also been added with a suggested blueprint for walls and utilities taped off. The exposed structural columns and ceiling are painted white, but there’s still a gaping hole between floors 38 and 39—clearance for a dramatic staircase. In the meantime, a private elevator will do the work for you.
The upper floor, also full, constitutes just one-third of the square footage, or 4,500 square feet, since the top of the building has to make space for mechanicals. This portion of the penthouse doesn’t have the main floor’s cosmetic add-ons, nor will it get any prior to a sale. It’s useful for a buyer to be able to compare floors visually in making design decisions, along with utilizing the concept renderings and model floor plans of two design firms: Darcy Bonner Associates, who produced the building’s elegant and traditional common spaces, and Soucie Horner, Ltd, with more modern flair.
The developer’s improvements are meant to make the space more appetizing on the MLS, where it just went public after being quietly marketed since the very beginning of 2550 in 2007. The new look also should amplify foreign interest, which has been creeping in from China and elsewhere, says Proctor. “With international buyers it comes down to value. When you consider some New York spaces command $8,000 a square foot, Chicago is a bit under the radar.” Proctor, who traveled for a year behind The Spire in a marketing capacity, knows a thing or two about the rising tide of international real estate investment. Still, foreign dollars follow family—it’s that connection that anchors interest above all else.
Price Points: Raw spaces have sold before at or around this $1,050-per-square-foot price in Chicago, but I don’t know if there’s ever been a raw duplex of this caliber. And there have been sales of finished units approaching $1,300 a square foot at Lincoln Park 2550. The cost of high-end construction build-out runs about $200 a square foot, a number easily eclipsed if you’re not concerned with margins. The $15 million resale of Park Tower’s 7,900-square-foot penthouse in November 2012 stands as the priciest condo closing in the city’s history.
The monthly homeowner assessment is $7,937 and garage parking costs an extra $75,000 to $100,000 per space. Five of the choicest spots have been reserved.