Veteran Chicago homebuyers ready to retire

Gino and Germana Di Nallo admit they are “pickier than most people.” The Italian couple must be the leading authorities on Chicago’s condo highrises, having rented or bought into eight of the city’s best-known developments since 1975.

The veteran homebuyers have moved house an amazing 27 times in 40 years, often because they were dissatisfied with some aspect of the building they were in but say they’ve finally found their dream home in a Chicago highrise.

The pair, who has lived at 1530 N Dearborn, 70 W Huron, 401 E Ontario, 400 N LaSalle, the Park Shore, the Park Millennium and North Harbor Tower, once moved out of a place because the thermostat didn’t shut off when it reached the set temperature.

So what wisdom can they pass on from their experiences? Ask for features the developer isn’t offering and you may well get them and don’t compromise on things that are important to you, they say. Oh, and in highrises those floor-to-ceiling windows may look great and seem to be such a strong selling point, but remember that if you can see out of them other people can see right in and it’s hard to get a little privacy.

Their memo to developers: if you’re going to build an expensive highrise on the Mag Mile you need to provide more closet space so your high-end buyers have somewhere to stash the luxury goodies they load up on. And at least give buyers the choice between gas and electric ovens, Germana says.

The Di Nallos tell us they’ve finally found their nirvana at Avenue East, the upcoming highrise at 161 E Illinois St.

So will this really be their final move? Germana cements my skepticism and tells me, “Avenue East is quiet. And you have the grocery store right there, the movie theater, you have Michigan Avenue right there, and the hospital. With age, it becomes practical. You don’t need anybody [to help you live independently.]”

Gino agrees and assures me that he does not want to move anymore. But then Germana points out that while she thinks Avenue East is an ideal place to live, “Nothing is forever. Except death.”

Let’s hope Heaven’s offering upgrades.

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