Chicago Penthouse Condos 

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Not that you need a how to guide to Chicago penthouse; after all, if you’re shopping for one of these luxurious houses in the sky, it means baby, you’ve arrived. But let’s pretend you’re a babe in the woods, unfamiliar with penthouses and such, in which case may we present…

First, a Word of Caution in our Guide to Chicago Penthouse

Let’s break it down for our audience right here, right now. Although in the original sense, “penthouse” meant the dwelling was on the top floor of a building. New York City building code, and I quote, penthouses are, “an enclosed structure on or above the roof of any part of a building, which is designed or used for human occupancy.” Think king of the hill. Think rooftop private outdoor space. Think private entrance. Think opulence, unique, luxurious and highly sought-after from the wealthy elite. In our view, penthouses have always been the icing on the cake – the very top, one-and-only crown atop the entire building. “Duh,” you say. “Penthouses are killer.”

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Ahem, shall we continue?

According to the New York Times, that precise definition of New York penthouses, Los Angeles penthouses, Chicago penthouses, etc. has been massaged, modified, downright stretched - mainly by real estate developers aiming to make the most bang out of their buck on new constructions to include any unit near the top of the building with outdoor space. Today you’ll find several so-called “penthouses” within one building, largely because of setbacks in the roof. Yep, a bit of creative architectural engineering can create several penthouses within one building, as they did at the Vere condominium in Long Island City, which has eight penthouses that span three floors.

Why do we mention this? Because we’re of the mind that if you’re spending upwards of 1 MIL+ on a property said to be a “penthouse,” then you should understand clearly what you’re getting. If you’re plunking down 1.4 million for a Chicago penthouse, and upon moving day you realize there are 12 “penthouse” units just like yours, may feel a bit miffed at being misled by this common marketing ploy.

Moving on… How Much do Penthouse Apartments Cost?

Whether you’re on the hunt to purchase a penthouse in the original sense of the word, or a penthouse in the broadened sense of the word, you may be curious about penthouse prices. Of course, any dwelling in this league is guaranteed to have awesome views and luxury features, and a terrific price tag (not that money is a factor here). Generally, penthouses run 5% to 15% more than other units in the same building. Again, if you’re ready to plunk down your hard-earned cash, inquire on whether this is a true penthouse apartment, or one of several penthouses within the same building.

If you’re not gaining from increased ceiling heights, a floor plan that’s unique to that floor, or fewer occupants on the building’s level, then consider what you are getting other than the ego boost of purchasing a unit that may simply be called “penthouse.” Even still, top floor units that don’t fit the bill of a penthouse may still be in-demand dwellings and command a premium in price.

Penthouse Apartments On The Ground Floor?

Sounds like an oxymoron, right? Due to the broader use of the term “penthouse,” we’re finding even some Chicago penthouses on the ground floor. If a ground floor apartment has an immaculate, one-of-a-kind floorplan with amenities not found in other units within the same building, such as: increased security, museum-worthy finishes, expansive windows, jaw-dropping views, and a private entrance – then Eureka! You may have come across one of the newer, and still brag-worthy penthouse species.

Penthouse Apartments: Just A Name Or So Much More?

We’ve asked penthouse owners and prospective penthouse buyers why they’re interested in this particular style of property. Certainly, at that price tag, they could find a stunning Chicago single-family home? Are penthouses worth the steep price tag? The answer? Penthouses are a draw due to the many dividends that come with, such as:

  • The Best Apartment on the Block: For penthouse owners, owning the best apartment in their building is a great perk. Everything that penthouses contribute to the equation, such as the finest finishes, stellar views, private entrances, private outdoor space, and unique floor plans – all in all, style. Yep, penthouses are styling, and wealthy buyers are in the market for a stylin’ pentpad.
  • Unobstructed Views: In a penthouse high in the clouds, there’s little chance that another building is going to be constructed to block the view. Difficult to put a price tag on that.
  • Natural light: Due to the breathtaking windows to capitalize on the far-seeing views, penthouses are synonymous with natural light. They’re often spacious, bright, and sunny – even on cloudy days, it feels as though the sun shines just for penthouse owners.
  • Did you hear that?: No you didn’t. Zero elephant-sounding stomps upstairs at 3AM. With no units overhead, penthouse apartment owners enjoy quiet and solitude.
  • Warm, even in winter: Heat rises, making top-floor penthouses the warmest units in the entire building. All the heat generated in the apartments below rise, keeping your energy costs low… so uh, you save money? Convoluted logic, but we like it – especially in our Chicago penthouses when the weather drops.

Final Tips In Our Guide To Chicago Penthouse

We sense if you were on the fence about purchasing your new Chicago penthouse, you may be on board now. However, before writing that 1+ MIL check, take a note of these items first:

  • Roof leaks: Yes, your ceiling is the actual roof of the building. Leaks happen, so check thoroughly for leaks first.
  • Outdoor space and weather events: Is it going to snow, and if so, how much? It’s not easy getting a snowplow to the 70th floor, so something else to consider.
  • Long way down: Being on the top is fun, however during rush hour it can take longer to coast down to street level. Also consider that during an emergency, it may take longer for first responders to reach you.

This guide is by no means an all-encompassing view into penthouses, however hopefully it gives you a quick primer into how the term can be used as a marketing ploy, as well as both the pros of penthouse living and special considerations. Whatever you decide is the best dwelling for you, may you always go onward and upward!