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The 70-story Lake Point Tower soars in splendid, undulating isolation as the only high-rise east of Lake Shore Drive. It’s likely to retain that distinction if Chicago honors the Canal Commission’s 1836 decree that the lakefront “remain forever open, clear and free of any buildings or other obstruction whatever.”
Architects John Heinrich and George Schipporeit, students of Mies van der Rohe, patterned the design after a 1922 unbuilt Mies-designed office tower, extending its height and tinting the glass curtain wall. Because of its origins, many Chicagoans consider it a Mies van der Rohe design.
When it was completed in 1968 Lake Point Tower, at 645 feet, was the tallest residential building in the world. Its height, design and location just north of the Chicago River on a point jutting out into Lake Michigan have made it a Chicago icon.
The center of the building is a triangular core, 59 feet across, that bears the vertical weight of the building and enables smaller concrete pillars along the perimeter façade, leading to more flexible floor plans. The core of the building has 9 elevators, 3 stairwells and individual entrances to each of the three arms of the Y-shaped plan. The façade is gracefully curved in a manner that obstructs residents’ views into other units. The shape of the building enables short hallways, with each leg of the Y serving only 4 to 6 units.
A number of movies have been filmed at Lake Point Tower, including Raw Deal, Folks, Straight Talk, Meet the Parents and While You Were Sleeping. At various times LPT has also been the home of performing artists (Alice Cooper, Jimmy Damon, Goldie Hawn, Mickey Rooney, Kurt Russell) and well-known athletes (B.J. Armstrong, Andre Dawson, Goose Gossage, Ozzie Guillen, Joakim Noah, Scottie Pippen, Sammy Sosa).
LPT has excellent access to Lake Shore Drive but very limited access to public transportation and inconvenient access to the city’s expressway grid.
Several full-service grocery stores are within a few blocks, including Dominick’s, Treasure Island and the upscale Fox & Obel. Michigan Avenue shops are a half-mile to the west and the Streeterville neighborhood has a wide variety of shops and restaurants. Northwestern Memorial Hospital is several blocks to the north. The AMC movie theaters are two blocks west and there’s an IMAX theater at Navy Pier.
The lakefront location offers near-endless recreational options, including quick access to the lakefront bike trail, Olive Park and Beach, Lake Shore Park, Oak Street Beach, Monroe Harbor and the Chicago Yacht Club, Navy Pier, the Riverwalk, Grant Park and Millennium Park.
Lake Point Tower was built as apartments on leased land, which prevented its conversion to condominiums until the land was acquired by the building owner. American Invsco acquired both the land and the building and converted LPT to condos in 1988.
Units.Lake Point Tower was originally configured as 879 studio, 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units. During and since the conversion 127 units were combined to form larger ones, and the building now has 752 residential units. There’s no typical unit at Lake Point Tower, since many have been extensively customized while others remain in their late 80s state.
One-bedrooms, approximately 1,100 square feet in size, begin in the mid-$300s and range into the mid-$400s depending on floor and exposure. Two-bedrooms begin in the mid-$400s and combined units range into the $800s. The highest-priced current offering in the building is a 3,600 square foot unit listed for just shy of $2M.
Pets. Cats are permitted. One dog, weighing not more than 30 pounds, is allowed.
Parking. A heated parking garage includes deeded spaces and also offers monthly rentals, valet service, purchased guest passes, car wash and detailing services.
Views. The building enjoys unobstructed 360-degree views of the lake and skyline. For a while it appeared that a portion of the southwest cityscape view might be obscured by the Chicago Spire, although that seems increasingly unlikely.
Utilities. Lake Point Tower was one of the first all-electric residential high-rise buildings. Units have individual heat and air-conditioning systems.
Elevators. There are seven passenger elevators, four serving floors 1-41 and three serving floors 1-3 and 42-68. Two service elevators serve floors 1-68.
Board approval. The board does not have a right of first refusal on a unit sale.
Rentals. Daily, weekly and monthly rentals are prohibited.
Owner occupancy is reported to exceed 80%.
Finances. As of December 31, 2010 the association had no debt and capital expenditure reserves exceeding $3M. Assessments have remained level for 2011 and the preceding two years. No special assessments are anticipated and none have been levied during the past 8 years.
Management. Lake Point Tower is managed by The Habitat Company, a large professional management organization. The building has on-site management staff.
Few residential buildings anywhere can match the range of amenities found in this “City in a park.”
Skyline Park. Lake Point Tower’s most notable amenity is a private two-and-a-half acre park set three stories above ground, overlooking Lake Shore Drive. The park, which was designed by Alfred Caldwell, has an outdoor heated kidney-shaped swimming pool, sun deck, duck pond, waterfalls, a children’s playground, a stone barbecue with six grills, picnic tables, and winding landscaped wooded trails along its perimeter. The park enjoys lake breezes and great views of the Navy Pier fireworks.
Health and fitness. Lake Point Tower has a health club, open from 4:30 a.m. to midnight, with an extensive array of fitness facilities. The club includes a large weight room with machines and free weights, an indoor swimming pool with whirlpool and hot tub, and a cardio room with treadmills, a rowing machine, ellipticals, stationary bikes and stair machines. There’s a separate yoga and workout room, and a racquetball and handball court. There are also lockers, and men’s and women’s sauna and steam rooms.
Other amenities. Lake Point Tower has an activities room with a small library and Wi-Fi Internet access, a bike storage room, and a generously-sized lobby lounge area with FedEx and US Postal Service drop boxes.
The Lake Point Market convenience grocery store has the basics, and also serves up soup and sandwiches. Lake Point Cleaners offers dry-cleaning and tailoring services. You can get a haircut, a massage and other personal grooming services at a day spa, take Pilates lessons in a well-equipped studio, get technology support, visit a doctor or dentist, and more.
Cite restaurant, on the 70th floor, is open to the public and features French / American cuisine, private dining rooms and spectacular lake and skyline views. The first-floor Lake Point Lounge is open for lunch and dinner.
Resident services. Lake Point Tower has on-site management and engineering staff. It has 24-hour door, security and maintenance staff. The building has an electronic entry control system with key fobs. Board meetings are televised. A loading dock and receiving room are open Monday through Saturday. Windows are washed each month.
Pats and pans
As you’d expect, any complex of this size has its fans and its foes, and aspects of living here that some might pan turn others into fans. You’ll find uniformly positive reviews of Lake Point Tower at Yelp.
The building’s main pluses are its views, and extensive amenities and services. Minuses include all-electric utilities and lack private outdoor spaces. Some find the location isolated, while others strongly prefer the location. Some residents have expressed dissatisfaction with noise from Navy Pier.
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