RDM’s 1400 N. Lake Shore DriveÂ offers modern amenities in historic setting Â
When RDM Development’s Robert Mosky acquired the vintage Gold Coast apartment building at 1400 N. Lake Shore Drive, he saw an opportunity to convert its apartments into condos that combined Old World charm with 21st century technology.
That perhaps sounds more radical than it is. After all, the graceful vintage high-rise, located at the northwest corner of Lake Shore Drive and Schiller Street, has a history of moving with the times while retaining its inimitable style. The 22-story concrete building, constructed in 1927 for the Wrigley family, was originally designed as a hotel but ended up as a co-op apartment building until the 1950s, when the apartments were converted to luxury rentals.
The key to bringing 1400 N. Lake Shore Drive into the 21st century for modern homebuyers while maintaining its vintage appeal was to draw inspiration from its art deco heritage, Mosky says.
“It is important to remember that while this is a vintage property, the art deco movement was really one of modern design,” he says.
That sensibility informed RDM’s design selections for the units and the lobby. Buyers can purchase condos in “as is” condition or opt for RDM’s Modern Luxury upgrade package, which features ceramic tile, granite countertops, European cabinetry and black Premier appliances (as opposed to the usual stainless steel).
“Rather than offering the wood cabinetry that you find at so many developments, we are featuring a choice of sleek European cabinetry that relates to modern design elements from the period,” Mosky says.Â Â
The Modern Luxury units have new drywall, hardwood floors, electrical fixtures and multimedia wiring. In a nod to today’s lifestyles, a wall separating kitchens from living areas is removed and replaced with a breakfast bar, creating a modern “great room.” Bathrooms have ceramic tile, art deco-style vanities, soaker tubs, designer lighting and new showers.
“The residents have always been drawn to the classic character of this property, and now we are offering the rare combination of Old World charm and craftsmanship along with the carefree lifestyle of modern amenities,” Mosky says.
The developer also installed a 2,500-square-foot landscaped rooftop deck, where residents can entertain and enjoy dramatic views of the lake and downtown skyline.
“The location can never be replicated,” Mosky says. “The words alone – ‘Gold Coast, Magnificent Mile, Lake Michigan, Oak Street,’ – let you know that you are truly in the crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨me of the city.”
Renovations to 1400 N. Lake Shore Drive’s elegant communal spaces also respect the building’s architectural heritage. To ensure a harmonious transition between the European-style lobby, which features French walnut panels and Italian fresco ceilings, RDM renovated the elevators with wood panels and granite floors. The building’s corridors were redecorated with artwork and custom Italian stained glass lights.
The developer spent $20 million overhauling 1400 N. Lake Shore Drive’s infrastructure. RDM replaced the roof, electrical and water systems, all windows, baseboard heating, air conditioners, ventilation systems, plumbing risers, unit electrical service and other mechanicals. Other modern amenities include a laundry room, a dry cleaning and tailoring shop, a video store, and a salon and spa.
A 2,700-square-foot fitness center, with stationary bikes, strength machines and treadmills equipped with televisions, makes the most of the large basement.
“The lower level was originally designed with 20-foot ceilings to accommodate massive boilers, so the fitness center is ultra-spacious,” says Matt Garrison, of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Matt Garrison Group, exclusive sales agent for the development.
The vintage 1400 N. Lake Shore Drive tower may have reinvented itself in the past, but its future is mapped out as a condominium high-rise offering an affordable piece of Chicago history, Mosky says.
Units range from 400 to 1,500 square feet and include “in-towns” or studios, and condos with one to three bedrooms. At press time, the “as is” units were priced from the $130s to the $490s, and the upgraded units were priced from the $150s to the $590s. Sixty percent of the units were sold at press time, Garrison said.
“When you consider that our pricing begins in the $130s – let’s just say that we don’t think the opportunity will ever come again for buyers to own a prestigious slice of Lake Shore Drive at this level of value,” Mosky says.