This Gold Coast building has been empty since the 1990s. Nobody knows why.

The 10-unit courtyard building on Dearborn Parkway is a ghost. It's well maintained, but has been locked up with no signs of life for decades.

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Chicago_Jayhawk
Chicago_Jayhawk
94 · 7 days ago · Reddit

I went down a rabbit hole and found more info on it:

"The property is owned by John Brown, of JAB Realty / Belden Properties / Dearborn Parkway Realty. He got his start about 35-40 years ago buying up properties in Lincoln Park, and accrued a decent portfolio of buildings by the time the neighborhood really picked up momentum.

I could go into the experiences of those who have leased apartments from his companies, or those who have worked for him directly, but such stories can be easily found with a few quick google searches.

John had owned this building for quite some time, and with the early 2000s boom in high gear, decided he wanted to gut the property and turn it into high end condos, with an association exempt penthouse unit for himself. While doing the initial work, there was a partial building collapse. Many of the neighbors wanted the remainder of the structure torn down, which would cause the property to lapse to its underlying zoning (much less total square footage than the existing building).

John fought to keep the intact structure in place, allowing him to rebuild the rest of the building within the exact envelope of the building pre-collapse. He was able to essentially build from the ground up, utilizing existing foundations, excavating basements, and laying new foundations. In 2007 the plans were for two units per floor, with the 1st floor units being partial duplexes down. The units would be set up as an association, but with one unit, John Brown’s, exempt.

Heated garage accessed through the alley, private garage for John’s unit to be accessed from Dearborn, units ranging from (if i remember right) 2,400SF – 4,000SF, traditional layouts, high ceilings, 14 feet in the case of John’s unit, private rooftop space for John, architect at the time was Gary Beyerl or Burns and Beyerl. The project was a mess, disorganized, moved incredibly slow due to John wanting to personally oversee everything, trying to cut corners, trying to get more than what he paid for out of sub contractors and architects.

I always keep an eye out to see if the units hit the market, but after all the years I have yet to see anything. Considering how long it took to even get it built (6 or 7 years), I would have thought he would be hurting for cash. Guess not. Either way, so long as he is involved with this building, I would stay far away."

Flat_Ferret_9014
Flat_Ferret_9014
17 · 7 days ago · Reddit

They're obviously paying for upkeep, trash, landscaping and whatever else," Stenzel says. "It looks fine. I know, first-world problems, right?"

The building is up to date on its property taxes. In the past 20 years, according to Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas', the owners have paid a total of just over $1 million. Last year's bill was $73,176.

Signs of the building being occupied are scant. Few windows have curtains or other coverings, the wrought iron gate on Dearborn and a gate between garage doors on the alley are padlocked, and on a few walk-bys in the past few weeks, a Crain's reporter saw only a few lights on in the left side of the 3rd and 4th floors. The conditions are essentially the same as when the same reporter checked the building a decade ago.”

I think it’s pretty obvious that Bruce Wayne/​Batman is living here.

bdesign7
bdesign7
5 · 7 days ago · Reddit

Wish we could ban Crain’s links on here. Can’t get past the paywall