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$3.4M Face-Off: Kenwood Manse v. Near North Penthouse

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Price aside, these two properties couldn't be any less alike. For the vintage buff, the new-to-market Kenwood mansion is the stuff of dreams. For the urban elite, the sculpturally-sublime Near North penthouse is the ticket. But there are, of course, other considerations: Is $3.4M too rich for Kenwood? What restrictions come with owning Kenwood's oldest residence? Should you really drop this kind of dough on a 2-bed condo, regardless of the enormity of outdoor space? In the interest of determining the best buy, we'll take a look at the particulars. Then, your votes will settle the matter.

This Kenwood Italianate masterpiece (aka the C.S. Bouton House) is officially the oldest residence in the neighborhood. It belongs to the city's Kenwood Historic District and has some degree of protection from Landmarks Illinois. Predictably, it's far larger than the penthouse, with six bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths, just under 5,000 sf of living space, and a coach house. It has amazing high-ceiling interiors, remodeled baths and kitchen, professional landscaping, a mahogany deck, a full basketball court, and a treehouse. The home was last sold in 1999 for $876,500. Even factoring in the bubble and various upgrades, 400% appreciation seems a little extreme.

The penthouse, atop the award-winning modernist Contemporaine at 201 W Grand, is a single-floor 2/2.5 unit with a smooth-as-butter transition to vaulted indoor-outdoor spaces. The interiors, while nice, are almost an afterthought once you take in the 3,000-square-feet of tranquil terrace space. A lively Japanese garden concept merges greenery, rocks, footpaths, and a lounge area. And balconies add another dimension to it all. Amazing for a high-flying couple, but less so with a kid or two in the equation. HOA: $2,000/month.

Now that you have the stats before you, settle this $3.4M face-off once and for all. Let the fun begin!
·Listing: 4812 S Woodlawn Ave. [Urban Search]
·Listing: 201 W Grand Ave. Ph 2 [Koenig & Strey]

THIS POLL IS CLOSED. The results: Voters handed a 2 to 1 landslide victory to the Contemporaine's penthouse. Geez, seems our readership is even more urbane and forward-looking then we reckoned. Better luck next time, 19th century.

Poll results