Buyers enjoy freedom of choice at sleek South Loop condos

1555 Wabash

Once in a while, everything goes your way.

That was the feeling at New West Realty when the company purchased the land at 1555 S Wabash Ave. in the South Loop, the site of its newest development, a 14-story, 176-unit condominium tower with 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

“Acquiring this site was perfect timing for us,” says Terrie Whittaker, president of sales and marketing for New West. “We were just finishing up a very successful project close by, and we had a solid handle on the neighborhood.”

Although New West is “hands-on” when it comes to design, its collaborative efforts with architect Jonathan Splitt proceeded without a hitch.

“New West is a great client,” remarks Splitt. “The folks there outlined their goals and thoughts about the design, but they were very accepting of my suggestions.”

While the location did not lend itself to a specific type of structure, the proximity of the train tracks and several contemporary buildings helped Splitt formulate a design scheme for 1555 Wabash.

“We wanted to borrow from the solid, massive image of the trains by keeping the base of the building fairly dense,” Splitt explains. “From the third floor on up, we went with all glass and steel in a unique criss-cross design that provides eight corner units per floor and allows for larger, yet more intimate terraces, while taking advantage of the gorgeous views. It also gave us the opportunity to use two shades of tinted glass, depending on the direction of the outside exposure.”

The result is a gorgeous structure that is as functional as it is pleasing to the eye. But there’s more. Images of Lake Shore Drive in the 1930s come to mind as one approaches the building via a covered vehicle turnaround that invitingly guides the user to the entrance.

“The driveway serves to shorten the distance to the soul of the building once you’re inside,” says Splitt. “And the interior glass lobby wall serves an informative function. The user doesn’t just enter and scan around to figure out where to go. It’s all very gracious and natural.”

The design of 1555 Wabash allowed for the inclusion of a lovely landscaped terrace on the third floor, one of the building’s common amenities, the others being a fully equipped fitness center and indoor bicycle storage.

Once inside, the layout and transitional style of the residences caters to a broad spectrum of buyers. The sleek soft-loft design, with its open look and large living areas, is very adaptive. Floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive balconies provide spectacular panoramic views.

“The soft-loft design does a lot of things for our buyers,” says Whittaker. “It enables us to price the units at what we feel is the ‘sweet spot’ for a large segment of the market. And it gives the purchaser a lot of freedom of choice when it comes to furnishings, style and layout.”

The units range in size from 767 to 1,250 square feet and consist of one-bedroom / one bath residences (with or without dens), two-bedroom residences (with 1.5 or two baths) and one remaining three-bedroom penthouse. Prices range from the mid $200s to the low $400s, with the 1,503 square-foot penthouse priced at $618,000. Parking is available at $35,000.

Some of the residence amenities include built-in tech spaces, hardwood floors in living areas, carpeting in a choice of colors in bedrooms and dens, solid-core wood entry doors, brushed chrome hardware, outdoor balconies or terraces, washer/dryer hook-ups, multimedia wiring, aluminum windows with tinted glass, state-of-the-art smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and a sprinkler system.

The building was 70 percent sold in July, with first deliveries scheduled for November or December 2008.

A sales center is located at 1600 S Wabash Ave. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. on weekends.

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