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Investors eye Lake Point Tower condos for deconversion back to rentals

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The deal—estimated at $600 million—will require the majority of unit owners to agree to the sale

Looking up a a black, 70-story building with three curving lobes clad in a dark glass and aluminum facade.
The curving, modernist tower stands alone as Chicago’s only high-rise east of Lake Shore Drive.

Three decades after switching from apartments to condominiums, Chicago’s iconic Lake Point Tower could be deconverted back to a rental building. Some owners in the curvaceous, 70-story modernist high-rise received letters from a real estate agent claiming to represent a group of investors looking buy up units and turn them to rental apartments, Crain’s reported.

If approved, the transaction would be the largest condo-to-apartment undertaking in Chicago history—easily eclipsing last year’s $90 million deal to turn Marina City’s 449 condos into rentals. Using the asking price of Lake Point Tower units currently on the market as a baseline, Crain’s estimates that a bulk sale of the building’s 857 condos could exceed an unprecedented $600 million.

Convincing enough owners at 505 N. Lake Shore Drive to sell, however, could be a tricky and lengthy task. State law requires 75 percent of ownership to agree for such a deal to go forward. That threshold could soon rise to 85 percent if a proposed ordinance introduced by aldermen Brendan Reilly (42nd) and Harry Osterman (48th) gets approved by the Chicago City Council.

Letters from Coldwell Banker agent Jack Michalkiewicz, say that his buyers are willing to pay “full market value or above.” According to Crain’s, the document names only one investor, Joseph Evans. Some unit owners tell the publication that developer Nick Gouletas was also interested in scooping up condos in the building.

Designed by architects John Heinrich and George Schipporeit and completed as rental apartments in 1968, Lake Point Tower is Chicago’s only high-rise east of Lake Shore Drive and offers unobstructed water views into perpetuity. The property turned condominium in 1988, setting a record for Chicago’s largest conversion at the time.