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910 S. Michigan Ave #1401-List alert

Intriguing History @ 910 S. Michigan Ave

Recently, I wrote a blog about a new listing I obtained inside the historic South Loop building at 910 South Michigan Avenue. That particular condo, 910 S. Michigan Avenue #1201, was a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom residence with additional den space and tremendous updates that included custom track lighting and beautiful modifications to the custom-built fireplace. Now just a few weeks later, I’ve acquired a similar listing at the Michigan Avenue Lofts, only this time the condo number is 1401. 910 South Michigan Avenue #1401 is also a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom condo that boasts an unobstructed Grant park, Lake Michigan and Michigan ave view, a spacious, wide-open floor plan with an inviting large foyer and angles honey stained maple flooring, a modern kitchen containing highly-attractive Stained maple cabinets as well, stainless steel appliances and unobtrusive recessed lighting that blends nicely with the condo’s décor.  The master bathroom at 910 South Michigan Avenue is also worth mentioning as the dual vanity sinks, glass/ceramic tile shower and separate soaking tub make for a roomy, desirable and functional bathroom space. Monthly assessments for residence #1401 at 910 Michigan Avenue are $805, but include water, common insurance, security, an in-unit security system, 24-hour door service, a clubhouse that’s great for entertaining and modern exercise facilities.  

So with a moderate amount of recent business at 910 S. Michigan Avenue and also having worked with homeowners at this South Loop address in years past, I was actually a little inclined to take some time to go back and closely examine the rich history of this marvelous Chicago staple located just outside the Chicago Loop boundaries. Coincidentally, the Michigan Avenue Lofts celebrated its monumental 100th birthday this year and held a celebratory gala to honor the highly-touted Centennial milestone. Originally, 910 South Michigan was developed by S. Karpen & Bros, the largest upholstered furniture company in the world. Solomon Karpen, the founder of this successful Chicago furniture company bought the site at Michigan and Eldredge Court (now 9th Street) mainly because it was close to the company’s previous, smaller location and also because property south of the Chicago Loop was cheaper than property north of Congress Parkway around the early 20th century. It was in 1910 that the Karpen brothers hired the renowned Chicago architecture firm Marshall & Fox to design its new signature building at its new signature location, just outside the Loop district; and of course, the development plans of 910 South Michigan Avenue received enormous attention. Not only was this building set to be the first skyscraper outside the Loop, it was also going to be the most prominent address solely committed to displaying furniture. And if that wasn’t enough, Benjamin Marshall and Charles Fox were also starting to gain strong momentum as prestigious architects at the time, and actually went on to design some of Chicago’s best known landmarks: 199 East Lake Shore Drive, 209 E. Lake Shore Drive, the Bridgeview Bank Building (originally Uptown Bank Building), and the Drake Hotel at 140 E. Walton Street.

More about 910 South Michigan Ave

The completion date to the new S. Karpen & Bros Furniture store was set for April 1911, with an estimated construction cost of $1.5 million. With 50,000 square feet of floor space reserved for the Karpen Brothers, the remaining space and upper floors would hold office space for tenants ranging from 400 to 25,000 square feet. However, it was only six years after completion that the massive furniture outlet sold 910 S. Michigan Avenue to Standard Oil for a record setting $3.5 million in 1917. And since then, plenty of changes have redefined the neoclassical design of 910 South Michigan, but there’s no doubt that today’s version continues to embrace the building’s long and remarkable history. It wasn’t until late 1993/early 1994 that the building was purchased by the Villas Development Corporation and set to undergo Chicago’s largest office-to-residential conversion project, which still holds today. The result was the complete gut rehabilitation of the entire 600,000 square foot structure and the development of 262 condo residences within the building, which are now known as today’s Michigan Avenue Lofts. Many residents have come and gone since 910 South Michigan Avenue made the switch from office space to condo space roughly 17 years ago, some of which I’ve worked with directly. And the one take-away I always get from condo sellers at 910 South Michigan is always the same: the condos, the location and the building’s long-standing history have made for the best living experience Chicago can offer. Sure, there are other condo buildings in Chicago with comfortable living amenities, a convenient location, breathtaking city and Lake Michigan views or even an intriguing history relatable to 910 South Michigan; but where else can you find all these factors rolled into one perfect location? For more information on the condos at 910 S. Michigan Avenue or other South Loop real estate, contact Ted Guarnero with Baird & Warner @ 312-810-6693


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