345 North LaSalle Drive, Chicago, IL
Exterior of The Sterling
|Architect||Solomon, Cordwell, Buenz & Associates|
|Management Company||Community Specialists|
|Number of Units||389|
|Number of Floors||50|
|Type of Roof||IRMA|
|345 North LaSalle Drive, Chicago, IL|
|Distance to Public Transit||Less than one block|
|Title of Land||Condominium|
The Sterling, located at the corner of LaSalle and Kinzie in River North, is one of Chicago's highly sought-after newer high-rises. Converted from a rental building to condominiums in 2001 by American Invsco, and designed by architects Solomon, Cordwell, Buenz & Associates, the private residences stand at 50 storys high, offering 389 units, with a design that is crisp, clean, and slightly asymmetrical. Understated yet sophisticated, The Sterling has a bright lobby with a nicely designed waiting area.
The tower was honored with the Distinguished Building Award from the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 2005.
Located north across the river from the downtown financial district of The Loop, River North district is a well known area of Chicago, known mostly for its large concentration of art galleries. It is the largest in the United States, next to Manhattan. The area has experienced vast changes from the 1990's to the current day, with many highrise developments being built, along with nightclubs and restaurants. River North has become a top neighborhood for nightlife, with strips of entertainment like Franklin Avenue and Hubbard Street.
Looking back on its history, River North housed one of the biggest Punk Rock Clubs in the 1970s called O'Banion's - named after the infamous hit on Dean O'Banion. The area fell on hard times in the 1960s when many families moved into the suburbs to escape the urban areas. During this time, many buildings were torn down and served as parking lots. Crime was a dangerous part of daily life in River North. 
In the heart of River North, The Sterling is surrounded by some of Chicago’s hippest restaurants, galleries and nightlife. The Sterling is within close proximity to The Loop and shopping on Michigan Avenue.
The Sterling Residences are considered to be a walker's paradise with restaurants, cafes, shopping, and schools all within walking distance. Nearby outdoor places include the Chicago River and Riverwalk and Herald Square. Also nearby is the Wells Street Bridge, which was originally constructed in 1922. The bridge is double-decked and can be raised to allow boats to pass. The bridge has undergone some recent repairs which will continue until November 2013.
The location of The Sterling has over 10 transit stations within a few blocks. There is a bus station directly at the doorstep of The Sterling, and access to the Metra subway is one block east.
The Erikson Institute and the Illinois Institute of Technology and Institute of Design are also within walking distance. The area is very bike-able, and car and bike share programs are nearby.
The Sterling is a high-rise constructed with an exposed concrete facade. The modernistic building stands at 142.04 meters high, taking only one year to convert from rentals to condominiums, from 2000 to 2001. The parking garage holds 609 vehicles.
A curve at the building's corner that faces LaSalle and Kinzie gives the tower its unique appearance and floor plan layouts. The tower also has a concrete crest at its rooftop that slants down from the corner.
Plenty of the exterior of the building is made of up glass, with the floor-to-ceiling windows offered in each of the residences. Inset balconies can also be seen from the exterior. The white tower stands tall with a capped roof.
Layout and Features
One to three bedroom layouts at The Sterling are offered, are with floor-to-ceiling windows that let in ample amounts of light and maximize the views of the surrounding Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Each floor plan is spacious and functional, with no unusable lost space. Private balconies are also offered in the residences, along with the full range of amenities that include an Olympic outdoor lap pool and tennis courts. 360 degree views are offered from the common areas of the pool and sundeck.
Kitchens in the residences offer wood cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, and stone counter tops with under-mount sinks. Different variations can be found, but many offer eating bars. Curved floor plans in the living spaces make the spaces feel large and open, while the wood floors and warm colors provide a comforting space. Bathrooms also feature granite counters with under-mount sinks, frame-less glass shower doors and high-end fixtures.
There are 18 floor plans available. Here is a brief selection.
Amenities offered to the residents of The Sterling include:
- 24 Hour Doorman
- Hospitality/Party Room
- Sun Deck
- Two Outdoor Tennis Courts
- Outdoor Heated Pool
- Fitness Center
Pets and rentals are allowed at The Sterling.
There are no age restrictions placed on ownership.
The Sterling residences offer its owners the luxury of sustainable living, since its location does not require daily use of a vehicle. Being so nearby public transportation, residents can take advantage of easy, eco-friendly travel. Car share programs like I-GO and Zipcar are also nearby The Sterling, which use energy efficient vehicles.
Travel on foot for daily errands is encouraged by the convenient amenities nearby. Each of the residences also offer energy efficient appliances and lighting. Double pane floor-to-ceiling windows bring plenty of light into the residences, also serving as an energy saving tool.
Nicholas Gouletas, an executive with the family owned firm that built The Sterling, happily posed for a public photo while slicing into a five foot tall cake in the shape of the tower. He never would have imagined he'd soon be doing some cutting of another kind. After putting his 2,700 square foot condo on the 47th floor of The Sterling on the market at $2.4 million, he had to cut the price to $899,000 until it sold for 36 percent of his mortgage on the place.
Gouletas had taken hold of two units on the 47th floor, and combined them into one extremely upgraded two bedroom apartment with an outdoor terrace of 900 square feet, and the only unit in the building that has its own outdoor gas line.
Goulets never actually moved into the luxury suite, though. He took out a $2.45 million dollar mortgage on it in 2006, and had a lien filed against him in late 2008 by the homeowner's association. In early 2009, JP Morgan Chase bank filed a notice that it was starting foreclosure.
This is by far not the first distressed sale at the Sterling. In 2008, Crain’s Chicago Business declared the building “the condo foreclosure capital of Chicago.”
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