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18 East Elm apartments, 18 E Elm St, Gold Coast

by Joe Zekas on 1/23/14

18 East Elm is a 10-story, 150-unit vintage courtyard apartment building in the Gold Coast.

William P. Doerr was the architect for the building. It was built in 1926 and is distinguished by the neoclassical arched entryway at the north end of the courtyard.

The building was originally an apartment hotel, and its lobby reflects that heritage. The building was operated for years as a short-term residence known as The Elms and has been recently renovated.

The apartments

18 East Elm has a mix of studio, 1- and 2-bedroom apartments. In January of 2014 rents ranged from $995 to $2,145.

Floor plans are available online.

The apartments have wood-look floors, ceiling fans and vintage trim, including crown and baseboard moldings.

Compact kitchens have been renovated and include dishwashers and built-in microwaves.

Baths have been renovated and feature maple vanities, medicine cabinets and attractive tile. All of the units have comparatively good closet space.

Heat and air-conditioning are individually controlled. Internet service and DirecTV are included in the rent.

The south-facing courtyard brings natural light into the apartments, a consideration in Gold Coast vintage buildings.

Several of the one-bedroom layouts have an awkwardly narrow bedroom.

Views. 18 East Elm is not a view building, given its height and the height of neighboring buildings. The view corridor west of the building may be obstructed by new construction proposed for the corner of State and Elm.

Amenities, services, policies

18 East Elm, typical of vintage buildings, has a limited suite of amenities.

The fitness center is located on building’s lower level, adjacent to the laundry room.

Bike storage is available. The building does not have on-site parking, and parking in the area is scarce and expensive.

18 East Elm does not allow pets. The property is managed by BJB Properties and has on-call maintenance available 24/7.

The location

18 East Elm is in a very attractive, steps-to-everything location on a tree-lined block that ends to the east at Lake Shore Drive and Oak Street Beach.

Any attempt to describe the richness and variety of the immediate area, which has strong appeal to all age groups, is bound to fall short.

Shopping. Residents of 18 East Elm have convenient access to several major grocery stores, in addition to the popular seasonal farmers market on Division St.

Treasure Island, which bills itself as “America’s most European supermarket,” is a just over a block west of the property.

Jewel Foods, a short block north and two blocks west, is open 6 am to midnight 6 days a week and 24 hours Sunday.


The new, upscale Plum Market is a few blocks west on Wells St, just north of Division. A new Target recently opened on Division St, half a mile west. A number of convenience stores and delis are near the building.

CVS and Walgreens pharmacies are nearby.


Glamorous Oak Street boutiques and Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile shops and Water Tower Place are a few minutes’ walk from the building.

Dining, nightlife. One of the densest, most interesting restaurant and nightlife clusters in Chicago – what some call the Viagra Triangle – is a short block south of 18 East Elm.


Locals just call it “the triangle,” after the shape of Mariano Park.

A short block north of the building is the storied Division Street nightlife strip, home to Bootleggers, the legendary Butch McGuire’s and more than a dozen other establishments.

The scene continues north from Division along State St, with PJ Clarke’s, McFadden’s and more.

Parks, recreation. Residents at 18 East Elm have good access to a variety of parks and recreational activities.

Oak Street Beach, with its spectacular views of the Lake Shore Drive skyline, is at the east end of the block from 18 East Elm.

The fabulous Lincoln Park, home to the Zoo, Conservatory, North Avenue Beach and a host of playing fields and other attractions, is half a mile north.

Goudy Square Playlot park on landmark-laden Astor Street is a quiet retreat a few minutes’ walk from 18 East Elm.

Transportation. Public transportation from the building is excellent.

The CTA Red Line stop at Clark and Division is two blocks west and a short block north, about a 5-minute walk.

A variety of CTA bus routes criss-cross the area along Division, State and Lake Shore Drive.

Access to I-90/94 and the rest of the city’s expressway grid can be slow along Division St during peak hours. If you’re southbound or headed for the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290), Ontario St is a better option.

Zipcar car-sharing locations are nearby. Taxis swarm the area 24/7.

The competition

Direct competitors for 18 East Elm include a number of vintage buildings in the immediate area. Rentals are also typically available in a number of nearby condo buildings.

You’ll find additional tips and options at YoChicago’s Guide to renting on Chicago’s Near North Side and our at-a-glance list of Near North apartments.

18 East Elm in the news

More recent items are listed first.

  • Apartment owner gets $112 million refinancing loan
  • Where to look for short-term housing
  • Share your take on 18 East Elm

    If you’ve lived at or visited 18 East Elm recently, and are not a real estate agent, add your thoughts in a comment. Comments are moderated, and commercial messages are not allowed.

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