Many people think that the priciest real estate in Chicago is lakefront real estate. That is a fair assumption, considering that in most communities, limited access to a resource, natural or otherwise, drives up the price of that access.
Not so on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.
A recent analysis that I did, shows that many of the buildings along one of the finest stretches of Lake Shore Drive – from 900 north to 1400 north, are priced to reflect aging inventory, more so than the prime piece of real estate on which these buildings sit.
Let’s take 990 North Lake Shore Drive. Built in the early 70’s, this white tower of a building rises up out of the ground, just south of the Oak Street curve, giving all of its residents some form of a lake view. A mix of two and three bedroom condos, the average price per square foot, for 990 Lake Shore Drive hovers around $515 per square foot. So, a renovated,1500 square foot two bedroom, will cost in the high $700’s, while a 2000 square foot three bedroom will be just over $1million, depending upon the view, floor level, etc.
To put this in perspective, new construction in Chicago’s Gold Coast runs anywhere from $1000 to $1500 per square foot, or almost three times as much, and while your views may be great, they are not lakefront.
Moving north along Lake Shore Drive, are the “twin towers” of 1100 and 1110 Lake Shore Drive. Also built in the early 70’s period of urban renewal, these buildings are an even better buy, at $340 to $425 per square foot. A mix of two and three bedroom condos, the degree of updating, of course, heavily influences the sale price. Ceilings are low and the buildings have window unit air conditioners, but some of the views are outstanding! And, in what major city, can you live near its heart and be on the lake for $350 per square foot, translated to $700k to $850k for a 2000 square foot condo?
Traveling a bit further north, we come to 1212 North Lake Shore Drive, built in the same era; it is the largest of the buildings that are in this analysis, with almost 180 total units. For perspective, 990 North Lake Shore Drive has 145 units and 1100 and 1110 North Lake Shore Drive each have 75 units.
1212 North Lake Shore Drive has incredible lake front balconies, some expanding the full width of the apartments. In part, this is why this is the priciest of this building analysis at $560 per square foot, making an 1800 square foot two bedroom unit, right around $1 million. But where in Chicago can you get lakefront property, in the heart of the Gold Coast, with private outdoor space for that kind of money??
Two other buildings, of note, were included in this analysis. A smaller, boutique building of only 54 units, 1240 North Lake Shore Drive, is undergoing somewhat of a “renaissance” with six units selling within the past six months, for an average of $340 per square foot! Some of the newly renovated 2000 square foot three bedroom units are outstanding, with incredible views, and those have sold in the $450 per square foot range; i.e. hovering around the $900k mark.
Finally, at 1300 North Lake Shore Drive, one more 70’s era building, with lovely balconies, overlooking the lake, one can purchase a two or three bedroom at $470 per square foot, or approximately $1 million to $1.2 million.
To be on the lake, in a two or three bedroom condo, for these prices, seems almost incredible. Keep in mind these are older buildings, so your monthly assessment will be higher than in a newly built building due to maintenance, but the flipside is that your taxes will be lower.
Everything is a tradeoff, when purchasing real estate, unless you have unlimited funds. But, if you want to wake up to the lake every morning, walk to the beach, Starbucks, or dinner, than this stretch of Lake Shore Drive, is a great value.