Countless journalists have passed through the doors at 435 N. Michigan Ave. From famous Pulitzer Prize winners to humble copy editors, they often worked into the wee hours and pecked away at stories that played out on the streets below the crowned Tribune Tower.
But the Chicago Tribune (and Chicago Magazine, which is owned by Tribune Publishing) left the building in 2018 and the bustle of the newsroom has since been replaced by the far slower pace of luxury condos. For between about $900,000 and $7 million a pop, you too can live where William Mullen covered voting irregularities, Mike Royko penned columns, and Gene Siskel critiqued films. You can TiVo episodes of The Real Housewives where journalists once recorded history.
The building is now the Tribune Tower Residences, owned and co-developed by CIM Group and Golub & Company. Their gut renovation of the Tribune Tower resulted in 162 living units of one to four bedrooms a piece and a matching number of baths. The one-bedroom units range in size from 1,100 to 1,630 square feet, while the four bedroom spots are approximately 3,900 to 4,340 square feet. Almost half of the units have been sold, and the first move-in occurred in June. The average sale price has been $2.7 million, or about $1,100 per square foot.
The nods to the Tower’s past as a newsroom aren’t heavy-handed. The historic two-and-a-half-story Michigan Avenue lobby, famously covered with engraved quotes about the press and the First Amendment, is now accentuated by plush couches and Art Deco-inspired designs that continue throughout the communal spaces and residences. The decor and approximately $1 million in commissioned art are in mostly subdued colors, accented by metallics and the occasional jewel tone — plus a few historic photos and blueprints of the building itself. The designers’ intent is very clear: You’re sipping that evening beer within a significant piece of history.
The amenities on the third floor include a full bar, work-from-home space, conference rooms, game room, and the McCormick Study — so named after the Chicago Tribune owner and publisher Colonel Robert R. McCormick. The developers even refurbished and re-installed McCormick’s fireplace (engraved with one of his own quotes) for the study. It’s a striking piece that renders the conference rooms around the bend incredibly dull.
On this same floor, tenants have access to a one-third-acre “park” — essentially an outdoor walking path that winds through greenery and is enclosed on the north and south sides by residence terraces and balconies, with the east end opening toward the lake. But the best outdoor views are elsewhere: on the Crown Terrace.
Taking the elevator up to the 25th floor, you can step out into the Tower’s Crown Terrace for a Quasimodo-style view of the city (of course, the hunchback would need a better-paying job than bell-ringer for this particular perch). The building’s facade was cleaned up during renovations, and its flying buttresses are on full display criss-crossing and arching overhead, allowing light to splash over the seating areas. There’s also an outdoor dining spot with a grill, all connected to a chef’s kitchen indoors.
Moving back down the building to the seventh floor (still under construction) is the building’s 75-foot lap pool and arguably its second-best view. Residents can lounge under the Chicago Tribune sign — which could make for some interesting tan lines (headlines?) — while watching boats move up and down the Chicago River. There are additional grills and outdoor seating areas on this level as well.
The residential units themselves include a few Art Deco touches (such as the cabinetry inlay) seen throughout the building. Each features Sub-Zero kitchen appliances and an air filtration system that pulls from hallway vents inside the units, reducing the likelihood that you’ll smell whatever the neighbors might be cooking.
Lastly, the second floor amenities focus on health and entertainment. The space includes a fitness center, steam and saunas, and an indoor golf room with a simulator and putting green. Treatment rooms are forthcoming.
Just like the newspaper tenants whose presence once graced the Tribune Tower — spilling in and out at all hours — it’s likely that its new residents will eventually grow accustomed to yet another day at the (home) office. But one spin around the Crown Terrace would leave even the most hardened journalist in awe.