Retired Retail Executive Lists Co-Op For $7.25 MM On Chicago's Best Street

In my opinion East Lake Shore Drive – essentially the east extension of Oak Street – is the premier luxury address in Chicago. It’s just steps away from the action, on a quiet street, with lots of trees, a park, gorgeous, protected views of the lake and the northern part of the city, and right on the beach. It’s quintessential Chicago, harkening back to a far grander time in the city’s history. And you’re just a couple of doors down from one of Oprah’s homes.
Well, now is your chance to live in a contemporary, 12th floor luxury co-op in a vintage building at 209 E. Lake Shore Dr for a mere $7.25 MM – of course, you wouldn’t actually pay list price. Unit 12E, owned by retired Retail Executive Michael Alper, just hit the market yesterday and is listed by Timothy Salm of Jameson Sotheby’s International. Here are the particulars of this luxury co-op, which is now the 3rd most expensive “condo” on the market in Chicago:

  • Corner unit with unobstructed eastern view
  • 3 Bedrooms
  • 3 Full baths/ 2 half baths
  • 5800 square feet
  • 2 Fireplaces
  • 2 parking spaces (it’s valet parking in the building)
  • Monthly assessment = $10,500, which includes the $57,693 annual taxes and $400/month/parking space

If this unit is really worth anywhere near $7 MM then how did he get off so easy on the taxes? Interestingly, the assessor’s site says the building is under review for possible improvements. Expect a big increase.
Here is the description from the MLS:

Truly breathtaking two and one-half year renovation by renowned Chicago architect, Dirk Denison, located at the most coveted address on East Lake Shore Drive. Grandly scaled living & dining rooms adjoin incredible library. Master suite with spa bath & dream closet! High floor unit clears building to East for incredible lake views. State of the art lighting and sound systems. Five-star design & finish level.

The luxury home was once featured in Metropolitan Home. The article is reprinted on the Elle Decor site. You can also see a current slideshow below.
I’ve been in the building before and it’s quite elegant with only 2 units per floor. They have at least 2 doormen at all times best I can tell and one of them operates the elevator for you. And the view is spectacular as seen in this photo I once took from a unit a few floors below this one. Unfortunately, it was late afternoon on a dreary day but you get the idea. And can you can imagine what it’s like to watch the air and water show from this vantage point?
View from 209 E Lake Shore Dr
If this unit is beyond your budget you might want to consider unit 1E, which also looks quite nice, and is on the market for a mere $5.75 MM. It has been on the market for almost 300 days now, originally listed at $6.42 MM.
According to the Theater Dreams Web site Michael Alper launched several retail businesses and ultimately started up Dollar Bills, a retail chain that grew to 134 stores in seven states. Today he focuses on business consulting, investments, and is active in the Chicago arts and other charitable organizations, which is code for retired (Heck, if I was retired I would triumphantly declare myself retired. On second thought, that could have unintended consequences with my wife). I believe this is him on the right side of this photo.
Best I can tell Michael Alper bought the unit in November 2004 for $4.8 MM and at that time it was marketed as already being renovated.
One other thing…the co-op commission on this deal is roughly 2%, which means that with a purchase price of even $6.5 MM the buyer’s agent would walk away with $130,000. If they don’t share that with their client it’s a crime.

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