What’s up with Edgewater’s Park Tower condominium?

There are (at least) two condo buildings named Park Tower in Chicago, one at 800 N Michigan Ave and the other at 5415 N Sheridan Rd in Edgewater. We’re talking about the latter building here.

The triangular, Miesian ParkTower soars 54 stories and encompasses 744 condo units. The building was designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz and opened as a rental in 1973. It converted to condos in 1979. At more than 500 feet, it’s the tallest building in the city north of Irving Park Rd.

A website about the building alleges a variety of irregularities and illegalities in how it’s being run by its current Board of Directors. The condo association has sued and settled with one of its residents over a bedbug infestation, and has been the site of a fatal fire and another that resulted in two people being hospitalized. There have been a number of short sales and foreclosures in the building, and half a dozen units have been purchased to house residents with mental disabilities.

Should any of this be a concern to potential buyers, or is all much ado about not much?

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  • As the Property Manager for Park Tower, I am disturbed reading this article.

    It is unfortunate that a crude website setup and managed by – as far as you know – some random disgruntled person, would be sited as presenting facts. When in fact, there are very few facts relied on for the information and opinions presented on that website. I encourage you to visit the Association’s official website at http://www.ptcondo.com. And of course, I am happy to talk facts if you want to call our office at 773-769-3250. What I find particularly disturbing is anyone in the real estate field knowingly – even indirectly – disparaging folks with disabilities.

    However, to put this into some immediate context for your readers’ sake, I spoke to the person who put this website up, at our July 4th Residents Party this summer. He told me he was aware he was posting some inflammatory and even misguided statements.

    He said – and I quote – “I am bored. And I know I am causing trouble. But we need to stir things up around here….”

    So, please understand, the negative contents of this website do not at all have much bearing in reality or truth. Please take what you read online with a grain of salt. Browsers should always beware. And since we are professionally managed, please call the management office for the facts.

  • Tim,

    At no point in my post did I vouch for what was stated on that website. I clearly said it “alleges” improprieties.

    I spent over four years working with people with serious mental illnesses in an in-patient setting, and spent another four years as a social worker. At no point did I, or would I ever, directly or indirectly disparage anyone with a mental disability.

    Your credibility as an association hasn’t been helped by your misreading of my post.

  • The credibility of your post and value of any of the information you present is in question to begin with, since you did not even bother to reach out to us – or to perform even a minimal investigation into the accuracy and reliability of the sources you site.

    I do not believe I misread your post at all. Since you point to a website which clearly disparages folks with disabilities, you elevate the credibility of the information provided there. As I said, even indirectly doing so is disturbing too me.

    You asked the question – What’s up with Park Tower – Why would you not reach out to the professional management office that can answer those questions and give you some facts which may put things in perspective. Because, the fact is, we are just fine Joe.

    The problem is folks who do not seem to want to rely on facts, or even do a little bit of work to find them. What you end up with is sensationalized nonsense – which is really the sum of the website you point to, and your post which is completely discredited by siting it.

    So, in case you missed it, the phone number to our office is 773-769-3250.

  • Just to add a point, that one of my Board Members mentioned. Words are powerful, Joe.

    And your post seems to revel in the negativity and mud slinging posted by one individual. And I am providing you with information so you are aware, that individual is not posting facts. And despite your use of the word “alleged”, your just adding to the mud.

    I would not even know where to begin. But the truth is, a lot of good and positive things are happening here at Park Tower, and in our neighborhood. And if you were interested in that – or truly knowing “What’s Up”, you could have contacted us. Instead, you pointed to the gutter despite the fact that gutter is not built with facts.

    Since these posts sit out here forever, I invite you to contact us and even visit the building, and challenge you to amend your post, so that you can point to some actual facts instead of garbage.

  • Tim,

    My post linked to your website as well. In the world I inhabit there are people who think that discredits my post. They’re as wrong about that proposition as you are.

    There’s nothing factually inaccurate about my post, and I’m not going to get into the thorny and time-consuming process of resolving conflicting slants on the building. It’s your responsibility to tell your story, not mine.

    I’ve provided readers with the resources to hear more than one side of the Park Tower story, and anyone who has any further interest in the building is likely to do so.

  • Tim,

    Your second comment arrived while I was posting my previous one.

    I noted earlier that I spent more than 8 years of my working life caring for people with various disabilities. I often incurred great personal risk in doing so. You came here and accused me of “knowingly” disparaging the people I diligently cared for, without knowing anything about me and .you expect that I’ll rely on you for facts? Words are powerful, Tim.

  • Joe – Yes, we are examining the statements you are making, the sources you are siting, and now what you admit you are providing as a “resource”. I am trying to help you – I guess I am telling you, it’s much ado about nothing. But now, instead of listening to the one person on earth who can tell you for a fact you are providing a resource citing information that is at a “liar liar pants on fire” measure of accuracy, you are just starting to chase your own tail.

    If you are going to write something to present to your readership as a “resource” – wouldn’t you prefer it be based on facts, or at least embrace someone trying to hand them to you on a platter? This is not about there being a Park Tower side of the story. I won’t play the Fox News game. Facts are facts period. The earth revolves around the sun.

    There is no need to be defensive about what you have written, and your experiences. I am trying to help guide you to the realization that the earth revolves around the sun. Let me give you a couple specifics.

    You say in your original post “half a dozen units have been purchased to house residents with mental disabilities.” That is NOT TRUE AT ALL. There is no Park Tower side of the story. That is just not true. And that is not something you are actually citing the source on, you are making that statement. I realize it is coming from that website, and I am telling you its a lie. Why it bothers me – we could get into if you like – is the next logical question: Does that even matter if it was true, and why did Joe Zekas point it out?

    I have no doubt you have fantastic experiences working with such folks, but despite that experience you direct folks to a website, where disparaging and negative comments are made about folks with disabilities. Now you are calling this article and information a “resource”, which I find to be very contradictory to your comments in response.

    Indeed, there is a plethora of other information – supposedly factual about Park Tower or at least that is presented as facts – which are not. I am telling you, the bulk of the posts on that website present information which is NOT TRUE AT ALL – in fact, much is made up simply to support that persons opinions and statements. For example, financial data about this building and others – specific numbers that are given – are easily refuted. EASILY.

    I am trying to help you here – with your experience, I would expect you know why the post on folks with disabilities is so bothersome. Not only is it not true, that units were bought for that purpose – even if they were, there is nothing any Condo could do legally or ethically do to stop it. Even in a condo that has the right of first refusal; if it is used to target such buyers or residents, shame shame shame, and just wait and see what the process server has for an Association when the lawsuit is filed.

    So, again, I am helping you here. No need to be defensive. You sited a poor source of information, and now admit it is a “resource” and I am merely trying to protect my owners by pointing out that better sources – and actual facts – are available and easily sought out.

    I have said my piece now, and appreciate you allowing it to be posted. For readers who the facts, that number again is 773-769-3250. Thank you.

  • Tim,

    Are you saying that Home First Illinois has not purchased 6 units at Park Tower?

    • Dave 4 years

      Joe, home 1st deals with people with physical disabilities. I think your article starts setting the tone you meant. Not a positive one. You also did NOT link to the park tower website (www.ptcondo.com) which shows the building communicates better with its residents than most.

      Joe it is you that is doing yourself a disservice by digging in and trying to defend your insppropriately slanted work.

      Move on and try to be more balanced in the future

  • Dave,

    I responded to Tim by saying “My post linked to your website as well.” That was a clear reference, in context to the dkCondo site for the building.

    I did not state that I linked to the association’s website. My linking to the dk site is consistent with Tim’s suggestion that people contact management. There’s no readily apparent contact info on the association site, although there’s a fine-print phone number at the very bottom..

    I erred in my post when I referred to “mental disabilities.” Disabilities would have been a more accurate phrasing. The parktower.us site alleges that the units in question are housing people with mental disabilities despite HFI’s targeting people with physical disabilities. The issue is a little more complicated than that, and the parktowerowners.com site linked from parktower.us goes into more detail on it.

    My tone in the post is positive if you’re reading it from the standpoint of a potential buyer, i.e. my target audience. I’ve given that buyer links to reach out to for more information.

  • Joe – No, that is not what I said. You can simply read and see what it is that I wrote. You said, “Half a dozen units were purchased to house residents with mental disabilities.” I said that is “NOT AT ALL TRUE.”

    • I don’t understand your comment.

      • You asked, “Are you saying that Home First Illinois has not purchased 6 units in the building?”
        My reply, “No, that is not what I said….”

        I will not be drawn into a discussion about who is purchasing units and who is living in units. That would not be appropriate. But I will say again, your statement that “…half a dozen units were purchased to house residents with mental disabilities” is NOT AT ALL TRUE.

        I am at a loss trying to understand, even if it was true, why it would matter. A property manager and Condo Board have very little power over who actually lives in a unit. And some would say an Association risks a very serious and damaging lawsuit if they in anyway target folks with disabilities.

  • Tara Peele 4 years

    As the Director of Home First, I can verify that we have purchased 8 units in the building, and will not pursue any more.

    We renovate the units to achieve wheelchair accessibility, then people who need such features (typically people who use wheelchairs, but sometimes people who have other mobility impairments, or visual/hearing impairments) apply for the apartments.

    The applicants are screened, and if they pass screening criteria (credit/criminal background and income screening), they are approved to move in. The point of the project is to create accessible units for people who need them.

    Home First has other projects in other locations that are not specifically for people with physical disabilities, but this project is focused on accessibility.

  • Tim,

    I agree with you that it’s inappropriate to discriminate against anyone based on any kind of disability. I’d go further and say it’s disgusting.

    That said, the simple reason I raised the issue is because not everyone agrees with us, and people want to be fully-informed when they’re making a purchase decision. I also had in mind the strong opposition raised by condo owners at R+D 659 over a proposed sale of units to a mental health non-profit organization.

  • Guest 4 years


    Based on the content of the rest of your website, I think it is clear that your financial incentive is aligned with steering renters to high end, recently constructed, “full service” apartment buildings.

    Since these buildings typically charge a heavy risk avoidance premium, it’s important to periodically make vague assertions about the potential pitfalls of renting elsewhere.

    Why else would anyone pay $2100 for a studio in the Fulton warehouse district, if one can pay the same for a 2/3 bedroom in a professionally managed, modern, lakefront high rise like the Park Tower?

  • Guest,

    You’re not very familiar with the content of this site.

    This site has a lot of content – a lot – that’s not related to the high-end new buildings. A good deal of that content is new and resale condominiums and lower-budget rentals.

    If you read almost any of the apartment reviews on this site you’ll see advice to renters that they can often find better deals in condos than in managed apartment buildings.

    My financial incentives are aligned with presenting everyone’s product as objectively as possible. It would make no sense for me to attempt to steer renters to one type of product over another when my advertisers include a variety of product types. And, do you really believe it’s possible to steer a renter away from a 2/2 to a studio?

    The Park Tower is professionally managed. Rental condos in the building may or may not be. You can’t compare the Park Tower’s Edgewater location with the downtown location of the newer apartment buildings, nor are the unit and common-area amenities comparable.

  • Jeremy Lynch 4 years


    Based on the content of the rest of your website, I think it is clear that your financial incentive is aligned with steering renters to high end, recently constructed, “full service” apartment buildings.

    yep, this site is garbage at this point

  • Jeremy,

    You clearly haven’t spent any time looking at the widely-varied content on this site.

    • Guest 4 years


      I suggest labeling ads “sponsored content” to avoid this sort of criticism. Or are you suggesting that yoga club meetings at K2 counts as “News and Trends” in Chicago real estate?

      • Guest,

        And I suggest you hone your reading skills. It clearly says “sponsored post” immediately below the headline. We’re very diligent about identifying paid content.