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Apartments in Former Lake Shore Athletic Club Building Fetch $140M in Sale

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The 1927 building was converted to high-end rentals in 2014

This month, the 19-story former Lake Shore Athletic Club building located at 850 N Lake Shore Drive was sold to J.P. Morgan for a cool $140 million, according to Cook County property records. The 374,000-square-foot Beaux Arts beauty was penned by renown Chicago architect Jarvis Hunt in 1927 and originally served as a private athletic club. The building's indoor pool even hosted a round of Olympic swimming qualifiers in 1928. But after the club shuttered in the 1970s, 850 N Lake Shore had somewhat of a rocky and unsure history.

Northwestern University took over the property after the club's closure and used it as residence hall for graduate students. The condition of the structure deteriorated over time and Northwestern closed the building in 2005. The school announced plans to raze the structure and sell the site to Fifield Company for condominium development in 2007. Preservationists lobbied to save the old building and gained the ear of newly-elected 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly who pushed for re-use over demolition.

After a plan to repurpose the former club into high-end senior housing failed to survive the recession, Northbrook-based Integrated Development Group converted 850 N Lake Shore into 198 luxury apartments in 2014. Though many of the club’s original features like the swimming pool, running track, and shooting range could not be salvaged, the 1927 exterior survived mostly unaltered.

At $140 million, the deal with an entity owned by J.P. Morgan Investment Management roughly equates to a per unit sale price of $700,000. To put things into perspective, the transaction eclipses the $661,000 per unit fetched during the record-setting $333 million sale of the One Eleven apartment tower in 2014.

With Streeterville’s North Water Apartments selling to Atlanta-based investment management giant Ivesco just three months ago, the sale of the old Lake Shore Athletic club to J.P. Morgan is yet another example of a large institutional investor picking up luxury rental properties as Chicago’s booming and highly-competitive apartment market moves from strength to strength.