Toniest condo developments don't always offer endless choices

Lincoln Park 2520

You’d think that the more you pay, the more options you have when it comes to buying a new condo, but that isn’t always the case at Chicago’s high-end developments these days. Some builders still give buyers wide latitude, allowing them not just an enormous selection of finishes, but the ability to move walls and customize layouts as well as style. Back when it used to be LR Development, the company now known as Related Midwest took a sky’s-the-limit approach to customization at several of its ultra-luxury developments.

With another, more recent luxury project, 340 on the Park, underway at 340 E Randolph St, Related Midwest kept the choices very limited – and the project was very successful. Only two of the tower’s 343 units remain for sale.

Related Midwest has taken a similar approach at Canyon Ranch Living – Chicago. “Buyers trust us to create a palette of finishes compatible with the style of the building,” says Nancy Nugent, director of sales for the developer. “They want their home to be a soothing backdrop to the busy city outside. They don’t need to sit down with us every month for two years of construction, picking out fixtures.”

John Murphy, a principal in Ricker Murphy Development, LLC, which is developing Lincoln Park 2520, agrees. A carefully edited selection of finishes and features streamlines the purchasing process and “avoids confusion,” according to Murphy.

At Lincoln Park 2520, for example, wide-plank oak is a buyer’s only flooring option (with four possible stains) for living areas, and there are only three choices of Waterworks faucets, all with a traditional look.

Tune in next week when we’ll dig into the fairly crowded, incredibly opulent downright magical market for new ultra-luxury homes downtown. If you have a couple of mil to spare, we’ll help you shop (we’d also probably be willing to clean your garage, watch your kids or, you know, keep an eye on the house while you’re in Palm). If you’re not in the market for that sort of home, it’s always fun to watch.

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