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Lake Point Tower residents refuse historic conversion to apartments

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Owners living in famous building were against the change

A tall black tower sits on the edge of a lake. In the foreground there is water and a bridge. Trees are on both sides.
Lake Point Tower
Shutterstock

Some residents living at Chicago’s historic high-rise east of Lake Shore Drive received letters from a group of investors looking to turn their condos into rentals. The Lake Point Tower board decided they weren’t going to be “bullied by developers.”

A statement from the condo association said it would “permanently” remain owner occupied and wouldn’t be deconverted to apartments. The majority of owners also adopted two amendments to help preserve ownership within the building. Now, there’s a 25 percent cap on the number of units that can be leased and a limit on how many units one owner can control.

Last year River City’s 449 condos were converted into rentals in a $90 million deal. Lake Point Tower would have easily beat the transaction, possibly exceeding $600 million for 857 condos, Crain’s reported in August.

The bar for deconversions just became slightly higher in Chicago. A new city ordinance now requires that 85 percent of owners approve the bulk sale to developers instead of the previous 75 percent. The Illinois Condominium Property Act introduced by 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly and 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman would mean River City’s deal, with only 78 percent approval, would not have gone through.

505 N. Lake Shore Drive was converted into condos in 1988 and the current tenants are keen to hold onto their piece of the iconic building. The 70-story residential building was designed by architects John Heinrich and George Schipporeit and has private 2.5 acre lagoon park and swimming pool designed by landscape architect Alfred Caldwell.