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History Class

An iconic Chicago building joins the luxury rental game.

850 features modern amenities inside a historic frame.

Gorgeous historic buildings in Chicago are a dime a dozen. Gorgeous historic buildings that specialize in luxury rental units are much more rare.

That’s why the just-finalized renovations at 850 Lake Shore Drive are so exciting for downtown dwellers. Built in 1927 and once the home of the Lake Shore Athletic Club, 850—located on the corner of Lake Shore Drive and Chestnut Street—is now a 198-unit rental community, complete with panoramic views of Lake Michigan, a cutting-edge fitness room, an elevated dog run and an elegant two-story social space. Needless to say, this isn’t your typical rental building.

Not only does 850 have historical significance—it hosted the 1928 Olympic swimming trials—it’s essentially located where the Gold Coast and Streeterville meet, joining two quite coveted neighborhoods.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not only to save a historic, architecturally significant building, but also to create a marquee apartment community in one of Chicago’s most iconic locations,” says Matthew Phillips, CEO and president of Integrated Development Group LLC, which bought the vacant building in 2008. “850 Lake Shore Drive balances the building’s unique history with the modern living spaces and amenities coveted by today’s luxury renters.”

With a fresh design by Booth Hansen, the building, which is being marketed by the @properties company, now features a wide variety of floor plans, ranging from studios to three-bedroom duplexes. With an average size of 1,250 square feet, the building’s units blend large, modern living spaces with unique historical elements, like a limestone facade, dramatic chandeliers, wood paneling, brass panels and other vintage Chicago charms.

“It’s a building with instant cachet,” says Kathleen Ullo of @properties, exclusive leasing agent for 850 Lake Shore Drive. “We have attracted relocating executives, longtime Chicagoans and those making the change from large suburban homes.”

Units have hardwood floors, 9-foot to 14-foot ceiling heights, and marble and porcelain baths. Kitchens include granite countertops, Bosch stainless steel appliances and Brookhaven by Wood-Mode cabinetry—the sorts of amenities that people have come to expect from downtown buildings.

“People appreciate the fact that restored artifacts have been incorporated into the interior design of the lobby and social spaces,” explains Ullo. “Although the original building has been saved, it has been taken down to the columns on the interior, allowing for a state-of-the-art building that is energy efficient, pet-friendly and LEED certified.”