Lake Shore East, also known as the New East Side is located on the south side of the River at Lake Shore Drive. This neighborhood used to be home to a 9 hole golf course / driving range many years ago. Now the neighborhood has been completely transformed but I’ve noticed many of my clients who are interested in the area and not overly familiar with the new buildings that exist in the neighborhood. Here is an explanation of the newer buildings recently completed in the area along with detailed descriptions of each so you can figure out which building may be right for you.
THE REGATTA 420 E. WATERSIDE
The Regatta, located at 420 E. Waterside was completed in 2007. It is located on East Waterside which is the street that appears to be one with Wacker Drive…the street seems to drop off before Lake Shore Drive. It is south of Wacker and runs parallel with Wacker. The Regatta is a full amenity building with the following amenities: 24hr Door Person, Fitness Center, Sundeck, Party Room, Lounge and Media Room.
Just like the other new buildings in Lake Shore East your assessments covers everything including Internet and Basic Cable. All you pay is electric. The most prized view in the building is facing North which gives you a view of the River, Navy Pier and the City (looking West, viewing Trump Tower, Wrigley Building, etc.).
I would consider this the most economical of the new buildings as it has a variety of floor plans. In the building are studios, convertibles, smaller 1 Bedrooms as well as smaller 2 Bedrooms. If you’re in the area on a budget and want newer construction this is the best building to focus on.
The Regatta also has a more intimate feel than others in the area, despite the fact it has a whopping 321 units. The intimate feel comes from standard ceiling height in the lobby and a square design for the building itself which allow the hallways to feel more intimate.
THE CHANDLER 450 E. WATERSIDE
The Chandler is directly to the east of The Regatta, located at 450 E. Waterside this building is the furthest east building of the newer buildings in Lake Shore East. Its glass windows that curve the corner of Lake Shore Drive and the River definitely help the building stand out as a premier building. The chandler was finished in 2008 and is slightly newer and more expensive than the Regatta.
The Chandler is also a full amenity building and features: 24hr Door Person, Party Room / Lounge, Sun Deck (Roof), Pool, Fitness Center and Media Room. Just like its sister buildings the Chandler has all inclusive assessments which the exception of electricity.
The Chandler has a more modern feeling than the Regatta with soaring ceilings in the lobby and a long elevator bank (all elevators on one side versus a square design where 2 elevators are across from 2 elevators in the Regatta). Therefore in the Chandler you have a less intimate feel and a feeling of modern grand. Overall, the Chandler is more expensive than the Regatta mainly because it does not have as many of the smaller square footage units as the Regatta does. We also saw higher upgrades throughout in the Chandler (think Snaidero Cabinetry) whereas only a limited number of owners upgraded to Snaidero in the Regatta.
THE LANCASTER 201 N. WESTSHORE
The Lancaster is located at 201 N. Westshore which is a small street at the base of Lake Shore East Park. This building literally sits 6 stories lower than Waterside street. The Lancaster is the first of the newer construction buildings being built in 2004. It is also the smallest at only 207 total units (Regatta has 321 and Chandler has 304). The building, however, does not feature a pool but does have an expansive fitness center, party room and amazing sundeck as well as 24hr door staff. The largest attraction of the building is the fact that it sits on the park itself. Many people like being able to walk right out their front door into green space.
The most prized views in this building are actually the west views. Some might think the East views would garnish a higher selling price, however, the east views are not protected. The Lancaster does not sit on Lake Shore Drive and the developer, Magellan, owns the land between 201 N. Westshore and Lake Shore Drive. Originally 4 buildings were planned for that land, however, the crash in the market has halted these plans for the time being. The land, however, will most definitely be built on in their future. While the east facing units will not face complete view obstruction it will definitely be hindered and the “dead on” lake view that they currently have will be no longer.
The Lancaster has very functional floor plans. When you walk into a unit in the Lancaster you are doing just that, walking into the unit, versus walking into a hallway area that eats up square footage.
340 ON THE PARK – 340 E. RANDOLPH
340 On the Park, located at 340 E. Randolph is the premier building in Lake Shore East, at least in my opinion. The quality and the ambiance blows The Aqua out of the water. The location in the area is prime offering spectacular south views (you’re catching not only Millennium Park, but the lake and the city as well). The north views catch Lake Shore East park in their line of site as well as the lake if you are on a high enough floor.
The size of the units in 340 are large. One bedrooms are in excess of 1100sf and 2 bedrooms are in excess of 1400/1500sf. The finishes are high end (think wolf, subzero, snaidero, etc) and the building is LEED certified. The building features all the amenities you would expect including: 24hr door staff, indoor pool, party room, lounge, fitness center, and winter garden. I find most of the floorplans to be extremely functional in the building. Have you caught on yet that this is my favorite? It is not only my favorite, but the favorite of a lot of people hence the higher pricing. One Bedrooms are starting on the low end in the $500’s and two bedrooms will garnish a sales price of at least $700/750+.
One of the nice things about the location of 340 E. Randolph, outside of the views, is its location directly on Randolph which cuts down in your walking time for a couple of minutes. Now a couple of minutes doesn’t seem like much but when you’re walking home from work in 10 degree weather with 30mph winds off the lake, a couple minutes means a great deal.
THE AQUA 225 N. COLUMBUS
The Aqua, located at 225 N. Columbus cannot be missed. The exterior styling of the building is incredible and each unit is a little different whether it is the floor plan or the balcony. The building is comprised of three parts: Hotel, Apartments and Condos. The condos make up the upper floors of the building and therefore take advantage of the best views. The building features both indoor and outdoor pools, along with running tracks, fitness center, game room, lounge…the list goes on. Basically you name it, it has it!
The other benefit of living in a building with a hotel is the ability to walk down to the hotel bar or restaurant without leaving the complex. Also in the building is a new CVS.
The wavy balconies in the building are cool, I will give it that, but the size of some of them are too narrow to use. The other aspect of the balconies I do not like is the fact that you can view other peoples’ living rooms from your balcony (your neighbors) and vice versa. The finishes in the building are higher end (snaidero cabinetry, upgraded wood flooring, quartz countertops, etc). however they are not as luxurious as 340 E. Randolph.
Some people may be concerned about living in a building with a rental portion and a hotel portion. The hotel does have its own entrance and the rental portion does have its own bank of elevators on the other side of the lobby. Condo owners will enjoy the privacy of their own elevator bank and secured access.
The Aqua has a wide range of floorplans from studios to junior one bedrooms to large 3 bedroom units. This allows for multiple price points in the building starting as low as $300,000 for a studio.
Paul Blackburn is a licensed Illinois Realtor and Associate Broker with @ Properties in Chicago. He can be reached via e-mail at Paul@PKBlackburn.com To learn more about buying condos in Chicago please visit www.BuyingInChicago.com