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CHICAGO-The $300-million Legacy at Millennium Park condo tower was topped off last week and is approaching 90% sold. The project is a joint venture of Chicago-based real estate developers Mesa Development LLC and Walsh Investors LLC, who began work on the 72-story building in late 2005. Walsh Construction Co.’s work on the 356-unit tower at 60 E. Monroe St. is expected to complete by summer 2010, with first deliveries beginning this September.

“The idea was to create a tall tower to provide great views of Millennium Park, the lakefront, Buckingham Fountain, Soldier Field and more,” James Hanson, principal with Mesa, tells GlobeSt.com. “The purpose for the building was to create a residential tower that would provide the best views in the city.”

Units at The Legacy range in size from 875-square-feet one bedrooms to a 10,000-square-foot, five-bedroom penthouse. Sales at the 822-foot tower average around $700 per square foot, which Hanson says is on the low end of pricing in the Chicago luxury market.

“The luxury market goes up to numbers well over $1,000 a foot,” he says. “We tried to price our product right in there at the base of the luxury market, so it’s affordable to as broad a demographic as possible.”

With over 300 units sold more than a year out from completion, The Legacy has experienced notable sales success despite the soft overall residential market in Chicago and nationwide.

“We’ve had good sales momentum and The Legacy has sold as well if not better than anything else in the market,” Hanson says. “The market is soft right now and we’re feeling it at The Legacy where sales velocity has been down. Even so, we’re optimistic it will get sold out in the next 12 months.”

Mesa and Walsh have partnered in the past on a similar 356-unit building on Randolph Street the north end of Millennium Park. Dubbed The Heritage at Millennium Park, the tower was 100% sold at the time of completion in 2005. Hanson expects The Legacy will see similar results, attributing success almost solely to the views the buildings offer.

“In our world, we define the luxury market in Chicago as how good are your views,” he says. “We think the views are much more important than the cabinets, appliances or plumbing fixtures, because those can be swapped out, but if your view is blocked, you can never change that. That’s really what drives our success.”

Hanson says when Chicago’s condo market exploded about a decade ago, buyers were less discriminating in their purchases. “People have gotten a lot more sophisticated and savvy in looking at the location of the building, what’s going on around it, and how their views will be protected,” he says. “As the buyer gets smarter, our building becomes more appealing because we offer that view protection.”

Designed by Chicago architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz, The Legacy connects via a 13th floor skybridge to the University Club of Chicago, allowing residents to access its squash center, hotel rooms, and catering.

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