LOACQ composes 93 unique works of loft art in the Near South Side

Opera Lofts, 2545 S Dearborn St, ChicagoNo two operatic performances are the same, which is why true followers of the art never pass up the opportunity to see the same show twice.

So perhaps it is more than coincidence that LOACQ’s Opera Lofts, the 93-unit loft conversion at 2545 S Dearborn St on the Near South Side once served as a set design and storage facility for the Lyric Opera.

What’s the connection?

“When I’m asked about Opera Lofts, the first thing I always say is that it is truly unique,” says Kathleen Ryan of Opera Realty, exclusive sales agent for the project. “No two units are even remotely the same. Every residence is a new adventure.”

Opera Lofts consists of one- to three-bedroom units with one or two baths, as well as a number of penthouses. The units range in size from 830 square feet to over 3,000 square feet, and they are priced from the $240s for a one-bedroom with work area to $900,000 for the most luxurious penthouse. Deeded indoor parking is available at $22,500.

Those numbers don’t tell the full story, however. The soul of the development is found instead in its eclectic design and variety of sizes, shapes and materials. Consider, for example, that a two-bedroom unit may all be on one floor, or it may be a duplex with two stairways and a 20-foot ceiling height in the living area.

“Only a madman would undertake this project,” says Mike Jerabek, a partner of Worn Jerabek Architects, the firm that designed the project. “And only an even madder madman would have assembled these structures in the first place,” he continues, explaining that Opera Lofts is really a conglomerate of six buildings constructed over two decades.

The madman in this case is co-developer Leigh Ballen, who has labored for several years to turn Opera Lofts into a reality. His work will not be done when the project is complete, however, because he is committed to accommodating the desires of each and every buyer. The uniqueness of the units results in an infinite number of different choices for each prospective purchaser, resulting in the ultimate creation of 93 customized residences.

“We’ve spent the last few years trying to make this vision come true,” says Ballen. “It turns out that no one person knows all there is to know about this building. We knew it would make great loft space, and it has been an honor to be a part of it. But the challenges have been unique, to say the least.”

Some of the building amenities include two common decks with barbeque areas, a dog run, fitness center, twin high-speed elevators, and advanced safety systems including sprinklers, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire alarm system with central monitoring.

Units have 13- to 30-foot ceiling heights, exposed columns, brick and ductwork, 13-foot window heights in living areas, large balconies, hardwood floors, in-wall safes and multimedia wiring.

Kitchen finishes include stainless-steel appliances, 42-inch maple cabinetry and granite countertops with a full height glass backsplash. Master baths include marble countertops, a full slab of marble on the floors and walls, whirlpool tubs and a dual-flush toilet.

Opera Lofts is being developed in two “acts.” Most units in Act One are complete and ready for immediate delivery. Act Two will be complete by the end of 2008. Almost half of the units at Opera Lofts are sold, but a wide variety of homes are still available.

The sales office, located at 2545 S Dearborn St, is open from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Opera Lofts
Near South Side
One to three bedrooms
$240s to $900s

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