More People Choosing Downtown Chicago Condo Living

Marie and Glenn Motsinger decided they wanted to trade their country lifestyle in northwestern Illinois for a taste of the big city.

The empty nesters took the plunge in March and bought a condo at The Columbian in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood.

It was an adjustment at first, moving from a four-bedroom house with a basement in quiet Sterling to a 14th-floor, two-bedroom condo overlooking South Michigan Avenue and Grant Park. But after an initial settling-in period, the Motsingers have become bona fide city dwellers.

I’m a country girl, born and raised, so this is a completely new experience for me, Marie Motsinger said. But now that I’m here, I wish I’d done it sooner, she added.

The couple, in their 60s, had been making frequent trips to Chicago in recent years to visit their daughter and to take advantage of the city lifestyle. But after driving the six-hour round-trip commute several times to Chicago’s South Loop from Sterling, they thought about making a serious life change and downsizing to a city location.

When we were just visiting, we always had that three-hour drive at the end of the day, Glenn Motsinger said. I always felt like I had one eye on the clock, he said.

Now, the only things the Motsingers have to keep their eyes on are which park they would like to stroll through on a pleasant afternoon, which museum they would like to visit or which restaurants they want to try.

The Columbian, which recently introduced its revamped Penthouse Collection, is at 1160 S. Michigan Avenue. It offers easy access to many amenities, including Millennium Park, Adler Planetarium, Grant Park, Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum.

Based on visits with their daughter, the Motsingers knew they wanted to live in the South Loop community.

They looked around for a bit but always had their eye on The Columbian. The couple liked its traditional look and curb appeal, plus they wanted to live in a place that had unobstructed views of Lake Michigan.

After touring just a few units at The Columbian, the Motsingers knew they found a home.

They settled on a unit where the bedrooms are separated from the kitchen and living area. This was an important factor, because when their frequent guests come for weekend stays, it allows privacy.

The views were also what they were looking for.

From my bedroom, I can see all across Grant Park, the Buckingham Fountain geyser and beyond Navy Pier, Marie Motsinger said. When the sun is shining in, it just makes me feel good, and I love the openness, too, she added.

Glenn Motsinger said the 14th-floor location was perfect for them mostly because they love the view, but also they can still see all the action on the street.

The 220-unit tower has 18 residences and nine penthouse units remaining in the Boulevard and Tower levels. Potential buyers can tour five models, each varying in size and scope. The Columbian’s floor plans reflect the diverse lifestyles of families, couples and singles.

The penthouse units are on floors 40 through 46 and range from three-bedrooms, two-bedrooms plus a family room, and two-bedrooms. With square footages varying from 1,745 to 3,690, prices range from $799,999 to $1.9 million.

The remaining Tower and Boulevard properties offer one, two, or three bedrooms ranging from $329,900 to $699,900.

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