The cover story of Time’s July 14 issue is a 39-page special report, “The Smarter Home.” Naturally, I had to read it.
Chicago Lofts Pull Affluent Baby Boomers
Lewis Kostiner's pride and joy is 850 West Adams, five blocks west of the Seart Tower.
Lewis Kostiner’s pride and joy is 850 West Adams, five blocks west of the Sears Tower. The seven-story, 102,000 square-foot, loft conversion, by Kostiner’s Annie Properties, of a former light manufacturing building--built before World War I--is a beacon for affluent, suburban empty-nesters moving downtown.
|Building: 850 West Adams.
Location: Downtown Chicago, five blocks west of Sears Tower.
Builder: Annie Properties, Chicago.
Architect: Mayer, Jeffries & Gillespie, Chicago.
Interior Designer:Anne Neri Kostiner, Chicago.
Hard Costs: $160 a square foot.
Major Products Used:
Kitchen appliances: Frigidaire Gallery Professional Series (stainless steel).
Cabinetry: Wood Mode.
Sconce, track & cable lighting: Tech.
Washer & dryer: Maytag.
HVAC: Carrier high-efficiency.
Countertops: custom-made, dyed, polished concrete.
Toilets: American Standard.
Carpet: Triple Crown.
"Our buyers are full-time residents," says Kostiner. "Our median sale is $454,000 for 2100 square feet, plus parking. They are not buying a $150,000 condo for weekends."
Lewis and wife Anne Neri Kostiner fashioned 37 condo lofts into the building, with the help of architects Mayer, Jeffries & Gillespie, who handled the working drawings. Sales opened in January, 1997, and ended in April this year.
The units range from 1977 to 3150 square feet, and were base priced from $349,600 to $678,900. No two units are alike. And none were ever discounted from the list price. Two of the units were combined into super-condos of over 5000 square feet, one of which the Kostiners kept for themselves. So in the end, 850 West Adams had 35 buyers. "For Chicago, this is the top of the loft market," says Kostiner. "A lot of buildings have one or two units priced at $450,000, but that’s our average."
|The two-bedroom, 2100-square foot plan for 850 West Adams in Chicago sold for $450,000.
Kostiner notes that his buyers gladly accept some hardships associated with loft living: "A loft building is just a big concrete box," he says. "We tell people right upfront that insulation is a problem. They will hear the city, and lofts are not energy-efficient at all. Those big windows are double-glazed, but they have an R-rating of 2.6. Still, this is a lifestyle choice they’re making." Standard finishes in the units included stainless steel appliances, custom cabinetry, dyed concrete countertops (fashioned by Anne Neri Kostiner), marble baths with whirlpool tubs, and custom lighting."We did quite a bit of customizing for buyers," says Dee Terry, who marketed the property for Koenig & Strey Realtors. "Mechanicals were laid out for fixed bathrooms and kitchens, but buyers could move partition walls." Hard costs ranged from $155 to $165 a square foot.
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