Summer or Winter It’s All About Water In Chicago Showstopper

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The lake, The Drake and posh high-rises from the early 20th century in summer.

Winter is the season for stillness and quiet in northern climates. Walking down a freshly snow-covered street in a major urban center is an exercise in contrasts. A road that should be humming with hundreds of cars is vacant almost as far as the eye can see. You’re temporarily alone in what should be the most crowded space. Endless views across water engender the same feelings of peacefulness without the slush-cold feet and cold glassy eyes.

These memories came to mind when I saw unit 36BC at The Carlyle located at 1040 North Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. It’s a 1964 tower wide on Lake Michigan. How wide?  One of its two balconies is 87 feet long facing the lake where the seasons will change from boating and air shows to the placidity of a frozen sheet of undulating ice.  

I know most of my Dallas readers think of winter as being when there’s ice left after the cocktail is done, but you’ll want to see more of this 5,000-square-foot beauty with four bedrooms and four and one-half bathrooms.

The Carlyle is one of those buildings I wished I’d lived in when I lived in Chicago. It’s a couple of blocks from the city’s most luxe shopping, restaurants and nightlife. It’s a block from the tunnel leading under Lake Shore Drive to the beach. It’s glamorous glam versus 1960s glam that comes and goes.

As I said, glam-glam. It’s a good thing there are plenty of chairs because entering the apartment you’ll want to sit and stare – if you can stop yourself from heading straight for the balcony. A study in white and wood, the virtually staged pics really showcase the home’s potential for a new buyer.

From the other side of the combination living and dining area, you get the breadth of the 22-foot by 29-foot space. I can already imagine the parties I’d hold here (summer or winter). In the distance the doorway leads to the 15-foot by 13-foot breakfast “nook” and kitchen.

The “nook” continues the line of the windows facing the lake. For non-coffee-drinkers like me, the view is the best part of waking up. For you early-risers, the sun rises over the lake for what I call a sunset in reverse.

This is a professional cook’s kitchen with stainless steel cabinets (the sheen) and top-of-the-line Sub Zero and Wolf appliances. Those three seats are where those lucky enough to watch you cook can get the best view (and perhaps education?).

The master bedroom is around the corner in this corner unit and has its own private balcony. Overlooking the city. If you’ve been admiring the flooring throughout, it’s rift and quartered white oak. You know how secondary bedrooms are usually just OK?  The three other bedrooms are just as luxurious as this one.

Buildings like The Carlyle are about more than a great unit, they have the whole package. Here we see the rooftop deck with grills and views that are so distracting you’ll burn your steak. The shorter building with the pole (Lindbergh Beacon) is the now condo Palmolive building that used to house the Playboy empire (complete with lit “Playboy” sign). The taller black building is the 100-story John Hancock Center.

Also at the top is an indoor lap pool and fitness center. I love high-rises that put amenities like this at the top of the building so residents can enjoy the views. Most high-rises today put amenities on the lower levels so they can sell this prime space. I almost forgot, the building also offers a ballroom that seats 100 (just in case).

On and off the market since 2016, unit 36BC was originally listed for $4.275m that has slowly drifted down to a more “manageable” $2.795m – for 5,000 square feet. Units in the building range from a 2,230-square-foot one-bedroom on the fifth floor for $799,000 to a considerably larger 3,050-square-foot unit on the 15th floor for $2.850m – for $55k you get 1,950 additional square feet?

The unit is being represented by Natasha Motev from Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty.

Remember: When I’m not stirring up trouble in Dallas, Texas or Honolulu, Hawaii for and, I’m off scouting interesting locations for a second home.  In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the National Association of Real Estate Editors recognized my writing with three Bronze (2016, 2017, 2018) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards. If you’re a Realtor with second home clients who’d like me to feature their journey, shoot me an email Be sure to look for me on Facebook and Twitter. You won’t find me, but you’re welcome to look.