The height of luxury

Waterview raises soaring profile with hotel condos, amenities
Waterview Tower kitchen Waterview Tower, a luxury highrise planned for 111 W. Wacker Drive, has plenty of features that might catch a buyer’s eye – its dramatic 89-story height, the luxury hotel component, the breathtaking lake and river views – but interior designer Richard Menna has worked in the city’s top residential towers and is not easily impressed. In the end, he and his wife, Diane, say developer and architect Teng Associates won them over on a more personal level.

“I’ve worked probably in and on every major building in the city,” says Menna, principal designer at Richard Menna Interior Design. “I feel like the management and staff of Teng went out of their way to make things easy.”

That’s high praise, considering the source. Interior designers aren’t known for being easy clients and they tend to have a few ideas about how their homes should look. The Mennas say Waterview’s staff allowed them to drop ceilings, add closets and change flooring to create the home they envisioned.

“The people at Waterview could not have been more accommodating,” says Diane Menna, a senior vice president at ABN Amro Bank.

In November 2004 the Mennas purchased a three-bedroom, three-bath condominium at Waterview Tower with views of Millennium Park, Soldier Field, a sliver of lake and the western cityscape.

Of course Waterview’s more apparent perks were not lost on the couple. One of the biggest is a newly announced hotel condo component. A popular new trend in Chicago real estate, hotel condos allow buyers to own a suite in a hotel, use it when they want and put it in a hotel rental pool where it can produce income when they are away.

In addition to the project’s 233 traditional condos, Teng plans to open sales on 200 hotel condos at Waterview in August, according to Development Project Manager Sean McMahon.

“It’s going to be a spectacular hotel,” says Dorrie Freiman, director of marketing and sales at Waterview Tower. “(The Waterview hotel condo) is unique to Chicago because it’s the only one within a mixed-use building that has its own amenities. As a resident living in the tower you don’t have to share your pool, but as a resident you can have the benefits of having a hotel below you.”

Waterview TowerResidential condo owners like the Mennas will have on-site access to room service, maid service, a restaurant, a ballroom, a business center and a sunset promenade. The full spa will have a pool, seven treatment rooms and spaces for manicures, pedicures, Pilates and yoga.

“I very much liked the idea that there’s a hotel and all the amenities that go along with that – room service, spa, restaurants,” Diane Menna says. She also looks forward to using the private pool and fitness center. “I can quit all the health clubs I belong to.”

In addition to the hotel amenities, residential condo owners will have their own private amenities, including a hospitality room with a gourmet kitchen; a roof garden with a sundeck and dog run; a fitness center with a 60-foot indoor lap pool, a Whirlpool, exercise machines, a sauna, steam and massage rooms; a business center; a concierge; and door staff.

The residential condos have one to four bedrooms and two to 4.5 baths, priced from $617,000 to $6.3 million. Standard features include Italian cabinets; granite kitchen countertops; marble bath countertops; hardwood floors; and a universal system allowing residents to control lighting, temperature, window shades, and audio, visual and appliance technology from one central location.

But views, as the name implies, may be the biggest benefit at Waterview Tower.

“The design is really all about capturing the views,” says Principal Design Architect Thomas Hoepf, of Teng Associates.

The building will overlook the Chicago River, Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan, and because of the riverfront location, the views are protected against obstruction that might result from future construction. As the third tallest residential building in Chicago, according to Freiman, Waterview promises to have some of the best vistas in the city.

“People are very view-oriented which is why they’re driven here,” Freiman says.

The prime buyers have been mostly empty nesters, who like the Mennas, are looking to downsize, Freiman says.

With its comparatively small footprint and great height, Waterview Tower will be a sleek and slender giant of granite, aluminum and glass taking a prominent position in the city’s skyline. But the building’s intimate detailing will distinguish it as much as its soaring profile, according to Hoepf.

“The way we detail the granite when it comes to the metal is very prismatic and jewel-like,” he explains. “The granite is very rich and light-colored so the building has much more visual texture.”

The contemporary look has inspired the Mennas, who with Teng’s assistance, are using it as a model for their home’s interior.

“This is going to be very sleek and very contemporary,” Richard Menna says. “I’m going to use the term minimal – lots of glass, ceiling to floor…I want my home to reflect my lifestyle, my personal life. They’re going to allow me to do that.”

At press time, the residential condos at Waterview Tower,, were about 48 percent sold. Construction is scheduled to begin in September, and first occupancy is planned for September 2008.

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