An inside look at Chicago real estate

Power Rankings: Chicago’s Most Expensive Condos

Mark.Miles By
Mark Miles
   | Home Ownership, Lifestyle

In honor of March Madness and with the spring market about to drop on all of us with the fervor of a recent mid-March snowstorm, we decided to make a little bracket of our own pitting 16 of Chicago’s highest priced, luxury condo buildings against one another.

Buildings were judged on a few criteria:

  • Location
  • Attractiveness
  • Prestige
  • Amenities
  • And whatever reason came up to justify a subjective opinion of one building beating out another.

In the spirit of keeping this from becoming a ridiculously long read we’re going to highlight the first three rounds.

Round 1: Gold Coast VS the Rest of the World

dream town gold coast skyline

The entire western conference (which is only west because it’s on the left side of the bracket) is made up of contenders from the Gold Coast. This doesn’t exactly bode well for the east, but when your condo is situated in the heart of Chicago’s fashion, food, and lifestyle culture you’ve probably got some game.

The Results in the West

30 W. Oak beats the Waldorf Astoria. It was close, but Oak just has a look and feel that’s more in line with what’s currently popular: clean, minimal.

dream town 30 w oak

Park Tower beats 50 E. Chestnut. Park Tower is just more versatile in its floor plans.

77 E. Walton went up against 1430 Lake Shore Drive, and the Astor-Banks was facing 1500 Lake Shore Drive. Both LSD condos won, mostly due to astonishing views of the lake.

The Results in the East

Much like the NBA, the east seems to have its…troubles. You’ve got a few high profile players, but it’s just not the same.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences went up against another Lake Shore Drive power house, 840 N Lakeshore Drive. But unlike in the west, stunning lake views just couldn’t cut it here. Why? Because when you live at the Ritz you live at the Ritz! And you get everything that the hotel patrons enjoy, like a butler service. Yes, butlers beat the lake.

The Legacy beat Lincoln Park 2550 largely due to its proximity to Millennium Park, underground access to the University Club, and ability to rent out your unit with no restrictions. Sorry Lincoln Park, you only had two entries into this cutthroat tournament and you were nearly ousted in the first round.

The Grant beat the Montgomery due to its parkland and ease of access to the museums. In addition we awarded The Grant this round because it’s very family-oriented, and it provides an inclusive environment without sacrificing luxury.

the grant dream town

Finally, SoNo went up against the very modern, very pretty Skybridge. However, SoNo won because it too has modern class, and the ability to carry such a high price in a neighborhood that’s still on the come up is impressive.

Round 2: Names VS Numbers

Round two saw the battle of the few numbered condos struggling to stay afloat amongst the sea of big names.

The Results in the West

30 W. Oak had a fighting chance for a while, but the breadth of Park Place’s design, luxurious style, and unbeatable local claimed the win.

Then we had a battle of two brothers, 1430 Lake Shore Drive and 1500 Lake Shore Drive. Perhaps it was mean to put these two together so early, but rankings were done by median sales prices.

Results in the East

The Ritz beat the Legacy because the Ritz seems to offer just a little bit floor space to play with, and while it’s still in a high traffic area you won’t have to deal with people asking you about the Bean.

The Grant beat out SoNo because it has lake views, parkland views, and it’s close to the museums. It’s also extremely sleek, luxurious, and is your best option for all these perks without going over a million dollars.

Round 3: Uptown VS Downtown

Round three saw two Mag Mile condos going up against the downtown powerhouse, The Grant, and Lincoln Park’s Lake Shore Drive uptown funk.

Results in the West

Park tower took the win here crushing 1430 LSD’s charming, though slightly antiquated vibes. Park Tower condos just have a refreshing style and some are even smart homes. That’s going to be hard to beat.

park tower 1 dream town

Results in the East

The battle between The Ritz and The Grant was much closer. But the Ritz just continues to advance due to its unique floor plans, and ability to marry modern luxury with just the right amount of vintage charm. Not to mention entertaining guests is a breeze when you live in a hotel. And once again, butler service.

dream town the ritz 1

The Final Round: Duel at Mag Mile

Park Tower is literally across from the Water Tower. You can see the Hancock building as well as the lake from it.

dream town park tower view

It has beautiful high ceilings, clean lines, striking yet inviting colors and lush hardwood floors. It’s smart home capable and its open floor plans and timeless quality is the perfect canvas for decorating your condo any way you wish. From a Victorian visage to high-class downtown minimalism, it’s all there.

kitchen park tower

Ritz-Carlton is an internationally known, prestigious name. And that prestige, the air of greatness, and timeless class pour into every inch of the residences. From arched entryways to lush architectural detail to the treatments like you’re American royalty, you’ll have it all at the Ritz.

living room at the ritz

But this is a competition and when it comes to being the classiest, most desirable condo in Chicago, there’s only one winner. Sorry, but not everyone gets a trophy. So it’s through a very thorough vetting process that Park Tower arises from the ashes and crumbled stone of its adversaries as the victor.

It just encompasses so much of every other building that makes a high class, highly desirable, and highly luxurious place to live.

So congratulations, Park Tower, may you stand tall for many years glistening in the sun as an emblem of Chicago living.

Park Tower facade

Condo Bracket

Photo credit: Roman Boed