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Good as gold
New Homes Magazine
by Dan Schuyler 7/17/05


RDM converts grand Gold Coast tower at 1400 N. Lake Shore to condos
RDM Development’s Robert Mosky firmly believes that the secret to success in real estate is to be in a constant state of motion. “I’ve never been one to just sit back and chill," says Mosky, proclaiming, Yogi Berra-like, “Relaxation makes me nervous."

And so it was unusual for him to shift into low gear when his attention turned to 1400 N. Lake Shore Drive, RDM’s latest condo conversion.

“The building is so low-key, and there’s so much early Chicago tradition there," Mosky says. “What sold me was looking out the windows in one of the apartments for the first time. I felt like I was in a prime-location hotel that prided itself on its incredible views. I could see for miles up and down the lakeshore, and to the west, it seemed like I was looking at block after block of multimillion-dollar homes."

Mosky was sold. He bid on the property, and his offer was accepted.

“A lot of people bid on the building, says Mosky. “I must have been willing to pay the most money. In a way that’s good, unless I bid way too much, but I’m delighted that we have the building.

Located on the northwest corner of Lake Shore Drive and Schiller, in the Gold Coast, the 22-story concrete structure has a vintage Chicago look and oozes history. Built in 1927 by the Wrigley family, the 398-unit highrise was originally designed as a hotel with four multi-faceted wings that afford splendid views from nearly all windows. The hotel concept was abandoned, however, in favor of co-op apartments until the 1950s, when the building was de-converted into rental units.

“We want to go back to day one with this building," says Mosky, pointing out that it was the first poured-in-place concrete highrise in the city and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. “I don’t mean that literally, but we want to preserve the timelessness and beauty of the building and still provide today’s modern conveniences."

While the residences are being sold “as is," Mosky points out that they have undergone extensive rennovation in recent years, and that the continual maintenance on the building has kept it in impeccable condition. Nevertheless, RDM is planning to spend $10 million for improvements on such items as windows, the building exterior, electrical and plumbing systems, and HVAC.

The unit mix consists of studios and larger condos with one, two or three bedrooms, ranging from 400 to 1,500 square feet. At press time, prices ranged from the $110s to the $490s, and around 20 percent of the units had been sold, according to Matt Garrison, of Coldwell Banker, exclusive sales agent for the development.

“We are anticipating a mass closing in January 2006," Garrison says. “And we expect that a number of existing tenants will buy their units, but we also believe that there will be a large investor interest in the building because of its stature and the reasonable prices. Coldwell Banker has set up an investor owner program, whereby we will manage and maintain the units for investors who buy in."

The building features an elegant hotel-like French paneled lobby, a 24-hour fitness center, a laundry room, dry cleaning and tailoring, a salon and spa, a convenience store, a video store and a rooftop sundeck and park. The condos have hardwood floors, cove moldings, walk-in closets, stainless steel kitchens and ceramic tile baths.

Mosky points out that RDM will be expanding the fitness club and purchasing new equipment. He also anticipates improvements on the sundeck, and he hopes to entice a five-star restaurant to move into the building, a throwback to the famous CoqAuVin, which was located at 1400 N. Lake Shore for many years.

“It goes without saying that this is the perfect location," says Garrison. “All that Chicago is famous for is nearby, including the lake, Oak Street Beach, the Magnificent Mile and Lincoln Park, just to name a few. And the bus stops at the front door."

The sales center for 1400 N. Lake Shore, www.1400lakeshore.com, is located on the building’s 20th floor, and at press time, was scheduled to open in early July.

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