Is Fountain View in Lincoln Square worth the green?

Fountain View, Lincoln Square #404 Fountain View at 2326 West Giddings has been one of the more high profile developments in the Lincoln Square and Ravenswood neighborhoods for some time. At an eye popping asking price of $554,900 plus $30K for parking for a two bedroom, two bath condo, the top floor southeast corner unit #404 outpaces the second highest closed comparable unit in Lincoln Square by almost $100K.

The scale and design of the mixed use condo building (on track to be LEED Silver certified) surely could not win over every local resident, concerned citizen and critic. It is built upon what has been become one of the most charming and active town square’s (Giddings Plaza) on the north side, and dare I say, in the entire city. The development, or any condo development at this central location, is a patsy for criticism from NIMBY’s and average neighborhood Yo Joes alike. But what about that asking price?

I had the opportunity to tour unit #404 at Fountain View last week with Mr. Ben Ranney, co-developer and partner of Terra Firma Co., who told me five of the eighteen units were closed. Entering unit #404 is seriously pleasurable. The top floor corner unit provides southeast views and wonderful morning light as seen in the above photo. A combination of the most desirable location and arguably coolest views from inside a Lincoln Square condo unit deserves a premium. The corner layout is also unique. It manages to have an entry foyer with all mechanicals in the hallway, well off the main living space. The master is also well separated from the combination main living/dining and kitchen space. Stepping onto the terrace allowed me to scan the urban view of building tops and Brown Line train to the southeast and look down tree lined Giddings straight west.

Southeast views from Unit #404

Mr. Ranney truly has a connection to the neighborhood and a narrative of how the development fits into the community like few “evil condo developers” I have met with. My feelings prior to our meeting concerning the look, construction and quality of Fountain View had been positive and my tour last week confirmed those notions. In fact, comments on my personal blog and conversations around the neighborhood over the past year have been positive as well. It was also amazing how well the construction seemed to go in such a quaint but high traffic meeting place… right next to the heart of all neighborhood activity.

The condo is of serious quality, terrific location, offers a desirable lifestyle and the high efficiency is easy on the conscious. But is it worth the green? I think the lack of square footage for the price and the inadequate outdoor space for a top floor unit in a smaller building leave the door open for area competition. Unit #404 at Fountain View has an “in town” feel for a “home town” neighborhood. At one point in the market, a buyer might revel in their most expensive condo for the views and prestige of sitting atop Lincoln Square. But today for $550K plus, that buyer wants a third bedroom or rooftop deck… or both. And, can get it.
Quality construction on the striking corner units

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