ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Aqua’s underutilized high-floor balconies

by Joe Zekas on 9/20/12

In the torrent of words that’s been written about Aqua’s balconies, I haven’t seen any mention of the fact that they’re almost completely unused.

The balconies pictured above on the highest floors of Aqua face north and have spectacular views along the river and over the north side of the city. Michael Kardas shot the following view from a north-facing penthouse level balcony while the building was under construction.

Why are Aqua’s high-floor balconies so empty?

See more of YoChicago’s aerial photos at Flickr.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

marianne September 20, 2012 at 9:45 AM

Because they are creepy. It feels like you are going.to fall.

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Benjy September 20, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Are those units sold? Are there city rules or building regs against having stuff on balconies so high up, due to wind? I remember some Trump unit on like the 56th floor for sale w/ a HUGE terrace, but that furniture wasn’t allowed.

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Fred September 20, 2012 at 12:26 PM

I’ve been on one of the penthouse balconies at Alta at K Station 40-odd stories up and it was a harrowing experience. I can only imagine what the top of Aqua would be like. I would think at a certain height a screened in room (like at the Hancock Observatory) or something larger like a terrace would feel safer than a narrow balcony.

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Craig Wilbanks September 20, 2012 at 2:48 PM

I live across from them and occasionally see people up there, but less so than the lower levels. Another partial explanantion is that there are fewer units per floor as you get toward the top, so there are fewer residents per floor to go out there. Some of those upper floor units have 2 or 3 balconies each but still usually have only 2 residents in the unit.

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Joe Zekas September 20, 2012 at 4:25 PM

Fred, marianne,

I’m sympathetic to your queasiness because my daughter feels the same way about heights.

That said, I don’t think the majority of people find it a “creepy” or “harrowing” experience to be on a high-floor balcony, no matter the height. I love it, and I’m often at the top of buildings, or on rooftops with nothing between me and going over the edge.

Benjy,

There is furniture, and grills and plants on some of the balconies, but a minority of them.

Craig,

I don’t understand why larger balconies would be less used than the smaller ones. If you click on the photo for the larger version you can see the larger size of some of the balconies, and the separators between them.

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nwzimmer September 20, 2012 at 8:32 PM

I’m guessing the point of this post is to imply that there may be more vacancies than some of these rental buildings would like you to believe?

If so, I agree, it’s a valid question.

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Joe Zekas September 20, 2012 at 11:43 PM

nwzimmer,

That wasn’t my point at all – and the floors illustrated are condos, well above the rental portion of the building.

When I want to make a point I usually make it in a blunt, straightforward fashion.

My point here was simply as stated – in everything that’s been written about the balconies at Aqua no one has covered them from the angle of how they’d actually be used, if at all.

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pedro September 21, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Are there ghouls on the balconies? What makes a balcony creepy?

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CaptainVideo September 22, 2012 at 1:36 AM

Perhaps much of the time it is windy and cold at the upper balconies.

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ol potatoe head September 22, 2012 at 2:23 PM

hey you guys NO ONE gets to argue with Joe!
He knows for certain what the majority of people are thinking at all times – he’s a man of action, hanging off roofs and walking the world of real estate!!

Reply

Joe Zekas September 22, 2012 at 2:39 PM

ol potatoe head,

Any coward with a fake email address can make sarcastic remarks.

Any evidence to counter my opinion?

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Frank S October 15, 2012 at 11:25 PM

Hi. I found your posting very interesting. I live at Aqua condo and can say we and many others enjoy our balconies alot – and often. We would be happy to share the fun experience with you. Otherwise – these comments are like the Pope writing a column in Playboy .

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Joe Zekas October 16, 2012 at 12:35 AM

Frank S,

Been there, on the roof and at the penthouse level – the views are great, and it was a fun experience!

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shannon March 20, 2013 at 10:58 PM

I live in the Aqua on the 60th floor and the reason that we so rarely use our balcony is due to four things:

1) the wind is brutal. We have 50 pound bags of sand holding down our deck chairs (which are probably a solid 20 pounds themselves) and they still get moved around by the wind at times.

2) In the Summer, since we’re so close to the lake, we get enormous Charlotte’s Web-esque spiders all over the balconies and they are impossible to get rid of.

3) It’s scary as all get out and makes me feel sick looking down.

4) The outdoor area is fantastic and huge so there isn’t really a huge draw to stay up on a small-ish balcony. There you have it; mystery solved.

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shannon March 20, 2013 at 11:03 PM

I guess I should also mention that when we DO use our balcony we watch the fireworks at Navy Pier and we also have a pet potty out there (pet patio pick-up….best service ever) which saves a bathroom trip or two. Overall, I’m glad that we have the balcony even if only for those reasons alone.

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Joe Zekas March 20, 2013 at 11:18 PM

shannon,

Thanks for the info.

Has your view been affected by the new Coast building?

Reply

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