Note: The following article dates from 2003. For current information, visit the building’s website.
In a market rife with new highrise developments, what makes Victor Franklin, of 1000 SMA, confident as his company enters the fray with 1000 South Michigan Avenue, an ambitious condo complex that could eventually total nearly 600 units in three towers?
The first and most obvious answer, according to Franklin, is contained in the development’s simple and descriptive name – a moniker that tells you not only where the project is but also carries immediate cachet.
“You have the ability to walk to work, picnic in Grant Park and see the fireworks from your own window,” says Franklin, chief operating officer of 1000 SMA. “Plus, there’s the prestige of living on Michigan Avenue and maintaining property value.”
The second reason for 1000 SMA’s confidence comes from the way the developer and architect DeStefano & Partners conceived the first 40-story tower overlooking Grant Park and historic Boul Mich. Unlike the specialty boutiques aiming for well heeled buyers or buildings catering to first-timers, 1000 S. Michigan offers something for everyone, Franklin says.
The first 295-unit highrise has 43 different floor plans, ranging from entry-level one-bedrooms priced under $300,000 to expansive four-bedroom condominiums with dens that run several million dollars.
“This is where we really distinguish ourselves,” says Franklin. “It’s a smart building, which means we were very meticulous about the details in attempting to bring a number of different lifestyles into the city.”
Suburbanites moving downtown won’t have to give up their green space, Franklin says. They can take advantage of indoor parking, the indoor dog run, a rooftop garden and Grant Park, across the street. The building also offers tennis and basketball practice areas, a health club, an indoor pool and a golf practice area complete with an 18-hole golf simulator.
“Also, we have developed solariums,” Franklin says of another unique design element, “to bring the outside in.” These rooms have sliding windows, allowing buyers to enjoy the feeling of being outside, but with more protection and shelter than underutilized balconies can give. The sliding windows will bring in cool breezes during summer and in the winter, sunlight and warmth in rooms that according to Franklin, are more practical than terraces, which in Chicago, can be used four months a year at best.
Solariums are one of many contemporary design elements in a building that is at once modern and aware of its historic context on Michigan Avenue, Franklin says.
“It’s contemporary, with an Old World flair,” Franklin says. “For example, there’s terra cotta on the building, which gives it a nice new look, but it still fits in with the historic district.”
The Michigan Avenue address means more than just unobstructed views and prestige, Franklin says. In addition to protected views of Grant Park, the museum campus, the lake and cityscape, buyers at 1000 S. Michigan Avenue will have the convenience of what is perhaps the fastest growing neighborhood in the city.
“I don’t think the area is up-and-coming,” says Franklin. “It’s already arrived.”
He envisions the South Loop becoming the new Gold Coast, with its proximity to the Magnificent Mile, theatres, museums and restaurants. Earlier residents of the South Loop, in communities such as Dearborn Park, Printers Row and Central Station, had to suffer through a lack of services and neighborhood amenities, but lately, businesses have been opening throughout the neighborhood.
“You can only expect services to increase as demand increases,” says Franklin.
Restaurateur Jerry Kleiner, of KDK, recently opened Opera, a modern Chinese restaurant “with the color and feel” of the Chinese opera, at 1312 S. Wabash. Gioco, Kleiner’s regional Italian restaurant across the street, saw a sharp increase in business last year, and he plans to open a French bistro on the same block. Matt O’Malley, who owns the Chicago Firehouse Restaurant, at 1401 S. Michigan, is opening Grace O’Malley’s, a casual restaurant at 1416 S. Michigan, and a music venue at 1233 S. Wabash.
Plans for several other restaurants are in the works, but perhaps more important to buyers at 1000 S. Michigan, the recent addition of a Jewel grocery store and a Starbucks at Roosevelt and Wabash, complements the Dominick’s farther west on Roosevelt and answers what for years was one of the most common complaints about the South Loop: where’s the grocery store?
Franklin envisions a diverse group of buyers will be attracted to the amenities the neighborhood and of 1000 S. Michigan. Whether buyers are suburbanites tired of commuting, parents of college students looking for an investment or double-income couples without children who want to enjoy the nightlife, this lakeside residence has something for everyone, according to Franklin.
The South Loop is also a convenient location for families with children because of its strong infrastructure.
“We can cater to an entry-level buyer or a more affluent buyer,” Franklin says. “We are avoiding the problem of being labeled as a high- or low-end building. We have a strong unit mix and are catering to all aspects of the market.”
Buyers can choose from a broad range of units and prices at the development sales center, located at 1006 S. Michigan, Suite 200. A one-bedroom, one-bath unit starts in the upper $200s, a four-bedroom penthouse with a den costs $4.1 million, and the average price of a standard unit is in the $600s.
The standard finishes, Franklin says, are a step above those in most buildings. Units offer solid oak flooring throughout, granite and marble in kitchens and baths, as well as high-speed Internet access. “We’re bringing upscale hotel conveniences to urban living,” Franklin says.
The building will have a concierge, conference and party rooms, a 24-hour doorman, a specialty grocer and an on-site dry cleaner. The first phase also includes space for a restaurant.
At press time, approximately 20 percent of the units were sold, a sign that the developer’s first highrise is being well received. While this is 1000 SMA’s first tower, the development team has more than 200 years of combined experience, and architect DeStefano & Partners is no stranger to highrise design. The award-winning firm recently designed Chicago’s River East Center, a multi-use highrise with retail and commercial space, a theatre and an Embassy Suites Hotel, as well as the Residences at River Bend, a luxury 37-story development on prime riverfront property.
Depending on market factors, the developer plans two more towers, for a total of 596 units. First occupancy in the phase I tower at 1000 S. Michigan is scheduled for spring of 2005.