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The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly of Mid-Range Chicago Rentals

Starting to feel like your luxury rental building is really no more than a dorm? It might be time to try assimilating into a condo community where a life of tranquil anonymity can begin. It doesn't hurt to have a lock on a lakefront perch, an architectural icon, and an elite neighborhood while you're at it. Enter this two-bed/two-bath corner unit at Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe's 880 N LSD. The 1,600-square-foot 14th-floor space has wraparound lake and city views, standard issue floor-to-ceiling windows, cork floors, a revamped galley kitchen, and a master suite w/ jacuzzi. She's asking $3,700/month with immediate availability. Goodness gracious!

This next property doesn't sink on its crimes against good taste—it's actually pretty well put together—but rather on crimes against reasonable pricing. The Bridgeport two-bed apartment is transit-adjacent (opposite the Halsted Orange Line) but also highway adjacent and at the juncture of some unfriendly roads. We should know, Curbed cruises by often on the way to the neighborhood's cozier confines. Yes, the decor is moderately adventurous; yes, there's a balcony; and yes, the unit spans a none-too-shabby 1,667 square feet, but we ain't buying the $3,300/month price tag based on local rents and very local noise and air pollution.

Anyone who's canvased the rental market knows there are disappointments at every price point, and particularly with decor ugly transcends income. This 70th-floor Hancock condo rental has remarkably little appeal beyond its unalienable vertical advantages— a stinging belly flop of an abode. We selfishly chose a dim bedroom image to lead off the photo gallery, since it illustrates an extreme disconnect between the heroic architecture of the Hancock Center and select interior spaces. Basically, this second bedroom is one curtain divider away from a hospital room. Follow the light and you'll get to a broad-windowed living room—an inoffensive afterthought—and an attached window-side bar space (potential!). But there's no built-in comfort or personality; it could be a motel bar. But, hey, lots of money and effort went into the 2/2 unit's marble floors. The asking rent: $3,600/month.