Masters of their Domain

There wasn’t much in the vicinity of Chicago Avenue and the Chicago River a few years ago, unless you count cement mixers, newspaper delivery trucks and old warehouses. When Montgomery Ward & Co. departed, leaving its massive complex, there was even less.
But today, Centrum Properties and other developers have created the beginnings of a new neighborhood here, on the edge of River North. At press time, only nine loft condos remained for sale at Domain, the residential portion of the former Ward’s catalogue building, which hugs the river at Chicago and Kingsbury. The sprawling structure has overcome big obstacles, including its giant footprint and restrictions resulting from landmark status, to become a successful residential development.

The complex already has brought new amenities to this growing residential enclave. The development includes a Bockwinkel’s grocery store, and Japonais, a two-level upscale restaurant serving French-Japanese cuisine. Three additional restaurants are slated to open later this year along with a 30,000-square-foot health club. A “European-style marketplace” called the Eporium offers “coffee and couture, fine wine and flowers” along the river.

The market for office space has not been strong, but the south end of the building, 600 West, is home to 1.8 million square feet of office space, which will supply an important customer base for new retail and restaurants.

Remaining residential units at Domain include a one-bedroom of 800 square feet priced at $280,000 and two-bedrooms priced from $467,000. The lofts have ceiling heights of 11 to 15 feet, exposed concrete columns and ceilings, and lake and skyline views. Features include stainless steel GE Profile appliances, ultra-fast “Ethernet” Internet connections, granite counters, hardwood floors, six-foot soaking tubs and balconies or rooftop terraces.

The building has a courtyard, a rooftop deck, a rooftop gathering room, a hospitality suite, a fitness center, a quarter-mile rooftop running track and a Bockwinkel’s grocery store. Twenty boat slips also are available on the west side of the building on the Chicago River.

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