Lake Point Tower’s Tip-Top Has Unmatched Views Of The Cité Of Chicago

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Lake Point Tower was completed in 1968 by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe protégés George Schipporeit and John Heinrich. It’s based on an unbuilt Mies design from 1922 that was much shorter than Lake Point Tower’s 70-story, 645-foot height. Originally 875 apartments, the building now contains 758 residential condos – maybe soon to be 759.

By the time the building converted to condos in the 1980s, it was owned by American Invesco whose family operated many businesses. Originally a private club, they retained the circular restaurant space atop the building, opening Cité decades ago.  As part of a long-term strategy of divesting assets, the 70th floor, 3,988-square-foot circular restaurant space is for sale.

Blue Angels flyby during annual Air and Water Show

The buyer could either be another restaurant or a private buyer converting the space into their home. Included in the deal is another 3,000 square feet on the second floor that house a kitchen and storage spaces. And as Monty Hall would say, “… that’s not all.” The buyer could also purchase the 69th-floor roof rights from the HOA and convert the roof into a garden.

Currently being marketed by Rick Scardino of Lee & Associates, the price has not been set – certainly in the millions. There is currently a 3,600-square-foot unit for sale on the 67th floor for $2.5 million – but it doesn’t have 360-degree views.

Unobstructed Lake Views

In a world where everything is “unique” or “iconic,” this actually is. It’s the only high-rise east of Lake Shore Drive, meaning lake views are at once unobstructed but impossible to impede. Every boat parade is on your doorstep and every fireworks show is eye-level with your sofa – and from Memorial Day to Labor Day, there are fireworks twice a week.

Being in front of every high-rise in the city, you have a boat’s eye view. Consider yourself the conductor of an architectural symphony of varying styles and changing lights. This, too, will never change. So it is unique to have a 360-degree view of the Chicago skyline and the lake with views as protected as they come.

The Challenges

Unique often means “it’s gonna take vision.”

First, round spaces are just more difficult to work with. Secondly, being on top of a high-rise, the large central triangle houses the elevator shafts, mechanical areas, and staircases required by the entire building. That windowless triangle kitchen area is 921 square feet of the 3,988 total. Sure, it could be plumbed for bathrooms and closets for the new bedrooms, a private wine sanctuary, or a tricked-out dungeon. 

But in the end, you’d be able to live in what USA Today called one of Chicago’s 10 Best Romantic Places to Dine.

Too Much Work?

With over 700 units, Lake Point Tower always has a good selection on the market. There’s everything from the aforementioned $2.5 million, 3,600-square-foot unit three floors below the restaurant to a 720-square-foot one-bedroom on the 18th floor (currently under offer) for $299,500. For those thinking they’d go high or go home, there are two additional units above the 60th floor for sale.

At the low end, there’s unit 6509 a south-facing, one-bedroom unit for $375,000. With the original 1980’s condo-conversion black toilets and sinks, it’s in need of a remodel. But the coastline views to the south are as uninterrupted as they are great.

Moving a little further up-market, there’s unit 6102, an 1,800-square-foot, three-bedroom with three full and one-half bathrooms. It’s listed at $730,000. It has a north coastline view of high-rises and water.  If you can block out the black marble flooring and mirrored column, the views are definitely sweet.  Yes, another renovation candidate (expected in buildings this age).

Renovation-wise, I’m a space hog, so I’d expand the kitchen into a galley along the back wall with dining and living in front. I’d drop one bedroom and have two good-sized bedrooms with big closets (1960s people were apparently largely nudists). That would allow me to get a bigger master bath.

Sure, no other unit will have the 360-degree views of unit 7000 (you’re not “double-Oh Seven” you’re “seven triple-Oh”). But who among us has the millions needed to acquire that space and renovate? 

On the upside, if you own a little bolt-hole in the building, you might make friends with whoever takes on that project and be invited up for drinks.

Of course, if it sells to a restaurant owner, you’re all set.

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