Residential conversions of industrial spaces aren’t news in Wicker Park and Bucktown. Corner bars are made into adobe huts; convents into condos; and bathhouses change to mansions. Today’s featured property had various uses before being converted to one of six minimalist lofts. At one point the 1917 building served as a boxing gym. Reports from seasoned Wicker Parkers also point to a distant past life as a truck maintenance depot for the city.
The conversion took place in the mid-1990s and included a rooftop addition supplying all units with terraces—and this 3,800-square-foot three-bedroom space with a partial third level. A spiral staircase backed by glass block and bursting through brick connects the bedroom level with the rooftop sunroom and office.
The sellers are local restaurateurs who asked their names be withheld. According to public records, they bought in 2003 from Maya Sahafi and Barry Cassilly, original developers of the building. Much of the interior work was already to their liking but they did redo much of the second level, which previously had an Eastern design motif, says @properties listing agent Maria Casciaro. The master suite is the star of the show, split into three large pieces: an understated bedroom with wood-paneled fireplace; a sleek dressing room, with vanity and separate toilet; and, a modern bathroom-as-solarium with cedar walls and a corrugated plastic roof.
The less fussed-with main level is a single extra-wide open space with the exception of a small entertainment room taking in rays from the master bathroom-solarium above. The dining area does the same with checkered skylights above. With tile floors, brick walls, and a porous ceiling, this part of the home resembles a courtyard.
A rotund kitchen comes next, with an eat-in setup dropped right at the center of the action. The ensemble isn’t lacking in counter space, high-end appliances, or flash, with custom wood-and-metal cabinetry and a beefy double oven. Out in front of this is a large living area addressing the front window wall—part glass block for privacy. Standing against the window is a clay furnace-sized fireplace.
The home has two outdoor spaces, but the sliver of patio behind the building pales in comparison to the 750-square-foot roof deck. The luxurious amenity has a high privacy wall, built-in benches, and a pergola for al fresco dining. The sellers have adored the unit for eleven years, but according to Casciaro, are on a quest for a home in the neighborhood with a proper backyard.
Price points: There’s another very attractive condo for sale in the building, 1,000 square feet smaller and priced at $849,000. The sellers of that corner unit dug out the basement for added living space, as there’s no enclosed third level and the main level is narrower than at the featured unit.
The $990,000 asking price for the featured unit is $100,000 above the owners’ 2003 purchase price. It’s been eight or nine years since any major improvements, says Casciaro. An unspecified amount of money went into the home early on, moderated by the owners’ ability to tap their network of contractors for some of the work.