With about 43% of the condos inside sold, the developers turning the historic Tribune Tower into a residential building have begun showing off the rehab, including lavish indoor spaces that borrow details from the newspaper era and outdoor spaces on several levels that showcase spectacular views of Chicago and of the building itself.
Among the visual treats is a terrace that wraps around the 25th floor, with couches and a cooking area tucked inside the tower’s Gothic tracery, and a carved stone fireplace and wall of wood paneling that were moved from late Tribune owner Col. Robert McCormick’s 24th-floor office to a third-floor residents’ lounge.
There’s also a half-acre outdoor space at the third-floor level, set into a U shape that resulted when the developers removed a cavernous central space on the north wing. Several stories of condos on three sides of the U have balconies that overlook the garden space planted there.
Ahead of opening five new models later this week, Jeanne Martini, sales director for developer Golub Realty, gave a media tour this morning, where she told Crain’s about 70 of the building’s 162 units are under contract to buyers. Of the 70, about 55 contracts have been closed since the first closings in June. They include a condo on the 22nd floor that sold for almost $8.1 million in September.
About half the building’s condos are priced at $4 million or more, Martini said. She estimated that 35 of those remain to be sold, and 28 are under contract to buyers. Nine of the latter have closed, she said. In real estate records, the only sale that shows up in the building as of today is the $8.1 million sale.
Three units are actively listed for sale on real estate sites: a one-bedroom, 1,703-square-foot condo priced at just under $2 million; a three-bedroom whose square footage isn’t given, priced at a little over $4.7 million; and a three-bedroom, 3500-square-footer for almost $5.5 million.
The average price of units sold so far, according to Martini, is around $2.7 million. At roughly $1,050 per square foot, they’re coming in just under the asking prices of $1,100 per foot, she said.
The Chicago Tribune’s interconnected complex of buildings on Michigan Avenue was built in stages, with its most recognized part, the 36-story Gothic tower, finished in 1925. Tribune Media sold the tower in 2016 for $240 million. Developers CIM Group and Golub are redeveloping the building primarily for residential use. The Museum of Ice Cream will go into a 13,500-square-foot retail space on Michigan Avenue.
On the tour today, Martini shepherded visitors through a new lobby on Illinois Street and the old lobby, a soaring cathedral-like space with quotes about the press carved into its stone walls. That lobby is landmarked, so its look is protected. The developers enhanced the lobby in a clever detail: Next to pairs of elevator doors with carved metal grills was a less-attractive service door, but the developers had an exact replica of the elevator doors made for that space.
On the third floor, 11,000 square feet is amenity space for use by all residents. It includes handsome dining, bar and lounge spaces, with a focal point being “McCormick’s Study,” a spot where a wall of rich oak paneling and a stone fireplace have been installed.
When the tower was first sold, Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin, who has since left the paper in a buyout, wrote that McCormick’s office, which “signaled (his) status as an American press lord,” should be saved.
Off the amenity floor is the half-acre outdoor space that replaces part of the old complex. It’s best understood from the photo below, of the building model.
The most dramatic of the spaces residents will share is the 25th-floor terrace, which encircles the ornate tower. Nestled beneath the buttresses, users will have lounge spaces from which they can gaze out between bits of Gothic tracery to views of the skyline, the river and Michigan Avenue below.
The photo at the top of this story shows a portion at the southwest corner of the tower, with a dazzling view over the city. The photo below shows a view from the terrace up the detailed tower.
There are more quotes carved in the exterior walls here, most of them not seen before by anyone but Tribune employees who got access to the terrace.
Another amenity area is on the southeast side of the seventh floor. An indoor pool could not be photographed because it’s not complete, but as laid out, it looks like a continuation of Ogden Slip, a former ship canal that now ends a few blocks east of the tower, but whose view corridor is protected. The photo below shows this area.
Outside the pool is a large terrace with cooking and lounging spaces whose view is east, to the slip and Lake Michigan.
A sports area includes a weight room, cardio room and a simulator that can be set to play golf, soccer, cricket and zombie dodgeball.