Tales from an apartment hunt – the John Hancock Center

If you have tales you’d like to share from your apartment hunt, add them in a comment or email yojoe at yochicago dot com.

Here’s the fourth report from my veteran renter correspondent. Stay tuned for more. And note that we don’t vouch for the accuracy of any of these tales, nor do we try to verify them. We will not publish any that appear to be untrue on their face.

Hi, Joe

The John Hancock Center sounds impressive and probably was 40 years ago, but it’s 20 years out of date.

The pipes are so fragile that using drain cleaner is prohibited. They were recently upgraded so that people could have in-unit clothes washers, but few units have this.

The unit I rented had phone jacks that were so old they were the round four-prong style outlets and required an adapter to use a regular phone.

The building creaks like a pirate ship when it’s windy. You can count on not getting any sleep several times a year when it gets hit by big wind storms. Because the building is shaped like a trapezoid, when ice falls off the antennae on the roof, massive chunks of it slide down the entire slope of the building before smashing into the sidewalk below. It’s quite loud, very scary, and does occasionally break your windows.

The homes do not have central heat or air, only window units that are disguised behind a bench that runs along the windows.

The hallways and common areas were recently renovated and are really quite nice. Having a private grocery store on the 44th floor is great, but the prices are close to double what you’d pay down the street.

Moving into and out of the John Hancock Center is a pain in the ass because the residential portion has no loading dock. It had to rent access to the commercial loading dock (part of your $300 move-in fee), and residential moves are low priority. You cannot move yourself, only large moving companies are permitted, and must submit insurance and other documents in writing to the management office. You cannot throw away anything large. Again, the residences have no loading dock or large dumpster access. Management will not assist with this process. If you want to chuck out a piece of furniture, you have to hire a company to take it away. A couch costs $75 to have removed.

Here’s a peek inside the 44th floor grocery store, Potash Markets, and the view from the store: