This year was yet another big one for Chicago real estate and architecture. From the kickoff of the first ever Chicago Architecture Biennial to the high profile tower proposals that were announced during the summer months, 2015 is a year that will be remembered. As the economy continued to improve, the city's landscape reflected this with a sea of tower cranes that dominates much of the downtown area. There were also a few notable stories on the celebrity real estate front with Michael Jordan and Vince Vaughn continuing their efforts to ditch their Chicago properties. To commemorate another year in the books, we take a look back at the ten most read stories of 2015.
10. A Tour Through the New Chicago Athletic Association Hotel
The renovation and reopening of the old Chicago Athletic Association building on Michigan Avenue was an exciting event not just for preservationists, but for foodies and tourists. Simply dubbed the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, the 241-room hotel features interiors by Roman and Williams, as well as an assortment of food and beverage offerings from names like Shake Shack and the Land and Sea Dept.
9. A Handy Guide to the Most Classic Types of Chicago Houses
Who doesn't enjoy learning a thing or two about the residential architecture of Chicago? Logan Square-based design studio ALSO created a series of prints based on the classic types of houses found in the Windy City, along with short descriptions of each.
8. The Mansions That the Chicago Bears Have Called Home
Unlike New York and LA, Chicago isn't a city where big name celebrities mingle and make major home purchased. Instead, we've got our athletes. There has been a lot of shuffling in the Chicago Bears squad over the least couple of years, and with it, a lot of home sales and purchases made by Bears.
7. Ricketts Family Now Control Three More Wrigley Field Rooftops
After a long, drawn out battle with the Wrigley Field rooftop club owners, the Ricketts family opted for the nuclear option last year by pushing through with their big renovation plan and starting construction. However, behind the scenes the Ricketts family was also planning another major offensive, which saw the outright purchase of half a dozen rooftop properties.
6. The New Class of Skyscrapers That Will Forever Change the Chicago Skyline
This year was a very important one when it came to major tower proposals in Chicago. A handful of tall towers designed by star architects are currently in the planning stage or preparing for construction. If completed as planned, this new class of skyscrapers would make a notable contribution to the city's legendary skyline.
5. Michael Jordan's Highland Park Mansion Now Half of Original Asking Price
Michael Jordan's palatial North Shore mansion spent another year languishing on the market. However, to help entice an offer, the retired Bull chopped the price of the mansion to $14.855 million. Jordan's Air Lair is now priced at half of the original $29 million asking price.
4. Mapping Chicago's 18 Highrises Under Construction Right Now
There's no doubt that 2015 was a big year for downtown construction. With nearly two dozen new highrises under construction, construction cranes can be spotted all over the Loop and other downtown neighborhoods. The momentum doesn't appear to be slowing down either.
3. Chicago Bears' Matt Forte Paid Over $4M for This Humongous River North Mansion
Matt Forte of the Chicago Bulls bought a goliath of a mansion this year. The 6'2" running back dropped over $4 million on a 9,000 square foot, five bedroom, five and a half bathroom mansion in River North.
2. How to Live Large in a 500 Square Foot Studio Apartment
The tiny house and micro-apartment movement hit full stride this year, and to further explore the new phenomenon, the Curbed network devoted an entire week of coverage to micro living. Curbed Chicago visited the apartments of two micro-dwellers, including one who lived in a 500-square-foot studio and another whose space is a paltry 300 square feet.
1. Inside Vince Vaughn's $13.9M Palmolive Triplex Penthouse
The few big name celebrities who call (or called) Chicago home have had some troubles unloading their pricey residences. Oprah's penthouse took nearly two years to find a buyer, while Michael Jordan's mansion has been on the market for over three years. Vince Vaughn has also been trying to ditch his Chicago residence, but has spent nearly four years trying to do so. Earlier this year, he relisted his Palmolive Building penthouse for $13.9 million and included some images of the space.