Having lived in downtown Chicago for more than half my life, I can tell you that there are a bazillion reasons to make the move to the city. You’ve got the big-city energy, the urban parks and beaches and of course, the Kalbi tacos at Del Seoul in Lincoln Park. Don’t judge me…those tacos are life.
When the pandemic hit, I really missed those tacos. But not nearly as much as I missed going into work and seeing my people. Like so many downtown residents, it was suddenly me and the four walls of my bedroom-turned-work-from-home-office.
But I’ll tell ya what…I learned to love working from home. I found my new routine, became an excellent amateur barista and invested in a new wardrobe composed solely of pants without zippers.
Since 2020’s wild ride, I’ve found my way back to the office (at least once in a while) and have been happily running around the city giving apartment-hunters tours of Chicago’s best luxury apartments.
For years, a renter’s most popular “must-have” amenities included rooftop spaces with great views, dog runs and shared entertainment spaces. But recently, there’s a new amenity on renters’ “must-have” lists that is totally trending: a great co-working space.
Work From Home Without Working From Home
Let’s get real – even though working from your home is awesome, it can start to feel a little claustrophobic. Especially when you live in an apartment. But, what if you had access to a shared coworking space (à la WeWork) without even leaving your apartment building?
As more folks are working from home, I expect developers will see coworking space as a new standard amenity in brand-new luxury apartment buildings. Lucky for Chicagoans though, several of downtown’s best buildings are ahead of the trend.
But, which buildings in Chicago have the very best coworking spaces? I asked my team of Chicago’s best leasing agents for their thoughts and they were eager to share which buildings they love to recommend to their work-from-home apartment seekers.
The Best Coworking Spaces in Chicago Apartments
#1: The Paragon
Our top pick is one of South Loop’s best apartment buildings – The Paragon. This high-rise is blocks away from Grant Park and just a 10-minute walk to the lake. Just wait till you lay eyes on this beautifully designed building.
Light and Bright Workspace
Stress? What stress? Walking into the co-working space at The Paragon will put you at ease instantly. There’s abundant natural light and the styling is beautifully open. From the light fixtures to the furniture, right down to the flooring, this space makes long work hauls a breeze.
If the phrase “open workspace” makes you cringe, I’ve got good news. The Paragon’s coworking space has soundproofed rooms that are perfect for calls or if you just prefer a little peace and quiet.
And if collaboration is more your style, the open space has a ton of stylish seating options, from comfy tablet armchairs to a sectional couch to a variety of rectangular and circular tables that seat 4-6 people. There are two separate areas with counter seating and an enclosed conference room.
Extra workspaces are scattered through the building. Grab your laptop and settle in at the resident lounge, rooftop lounge, party lounge or even get a tan while you work on the outdoor roof deck.
Ready to Move In?
Need another reason to sign a lease at The Paragon? We’re giving you three:
- Relaxation Central: After a long day of work, head to The Paragon’s Aqua Lounge. Located indoors, just off the outdoor pool deck, soak away the stress of the day in the jacuzzi or sweat it out in the steam room or sauna.
- Spectacular Views: The Paragon has an incredible rooftop deck on the 48th floor. I’m always mesmerized by the city skyline views looking north and by the unobstructed views to the west. There’s no better place in all of Chicago to take in a sunset! Bonus: the fitness center is on the top floor too. Taking in a crazy-cool view of Lake Michigan makes clocking your treadmill miles a whole lot easier.
- Impeccable Design: The amenities and finishes at The Paragon scream decadence. For me, one thing that sets it apart from other luxury high-rises in the South Loop is its excellent interior design (thanks to Mary Cooke Associates). It’s not too difficult to load a building up with top-class finishes and fixtures, but to get all these components to speak and sing in unison is a different story! The fixtures and finishes throughout the building have aesthetic harmony that, in my opinion, leads the charge among new, luxury high rises we see being built in the South Loop.
#2: The Elle Apartments
Also located in Soup Loop, The Elle Apartments is one of those high-rise apartment buildings that you walk into and never want to leave. Not only are the apartments ultra-posh, but the amenities are totally incredible.
Co-Working Space (and Space and Space and Space!)
The Elle lands the #2 spot because of the crazy-awesome options it gives its work-from-home residents.
The main co-working hub takes up the back wing of an entire floor and is impeccably designed. It looks a little like a sleek and retro air traffic control hub with a mid-century meets new-century design aesthetic. The long, curved main desk anchors the center of the room with plenty of seating and power supply.
If you’d rather keep to yourself, check out the private booths. Need to huddle up with your team? The fully-wired “smart” conference room allows you to easily join a meeting remotely or host a small in-person meeting with no interruptions. Did I mention the freebies? Coffee, printers and even computers make work from home life better.
This space alone makes The Elle one of Chicago’s best apartments for renters who work-from-home. But, there’s more! Additional shared spaces on the gym-level offer a change of scenery with equally great space. There’s a light, bright resident lounge just off the rooftop deck with cozy chairs, televisions, a kitchen and bar seating. The game room is also a nice hideaway and usually quiet during working hours.
And a Coffee Shop to Boot
If The Elle Apartment’s co-working space alone doesn’t have you sold, here my other top 3 reasons to call this high-rise home:
- The Bowling Alley: Remember that rich kid in middle school who had the incredible basement that felt like an arcade? Well, The Elle Apartment’s game room will finally put your envy to rest. It’s got pool tables, foosball, comfy couches, a large-screen T.V., a bar and YES – even a bowling alley.
- Dollop Coffee Co.: Never underestimate the power of a coffee shop that resides in the lobby of your apartment building. If you’re headed to the office, grab a cup of joe on your way out the door without ever stepping foot outside. Take your first sip while waiting for the lobby’s CTA monitor to give you the green light, and you’re off with your day!
- Rooftop Fun: Hanging in the outdoor space at The Elle feels like a vacation. Between the pool, outdoor kitchen, serene green space and hanging egg chairs (yes, egg chairs!), you can kick your feet up and forget you’re even at home.
#3: Eight Eleven Uptown
Opened in 2018, Eight Eleven Uptown is the coolest luxury apartment building in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. We’re giving it the third-place spot because it feels like the entire building was designed with work-from-home residents in mind.
Eight Eleven Uptown has a hipster vibe, so it only makes sense that instead of a coworking “space”, they have a coworking “library”. Walls lined with ink-blue bookshelves (stocked with the classics) and cozy built-in benches create such a warm atmosphere. On the opposite wall are floor-to-ceiling windows that fill the room with natural light. Choose a table, flip open your laptop and get to work.
If the library isn’t your jam, there are tons of extra work-from-home nooks and crannies to discover. In fact, the entire 4th-floor is dedicated to shared spaces.
The game room is hardly busy during daytime hours and has kick-up-your-feet couches and tables that are perfect for grueling conference calls. You’ll find skillfully designed shared lounges upon lounges upon lounges, complete with fireplaces and velvet couches.
And do not underestimate working outside. The rooftop lounge at Eight Eleven Uptown is ginormous. Grab a table in the shade to cut down on screen glare or a lounge chair in the sun to work and work on your tan. Or, take those sales calls while you pace the length of the Olympic-size pool. Then at the end of the day, jump on in!
Places to Play
There are sooo many reasons to rent an apartment at Eight Eleven. The Uptown location is incredible – close to parks, the lake and big-city conveniences. The best part about living at this awesome building though has got to be all the fun-focused amenities.
- Dog-Friendly: Eight Eleven Uptown is an awesome place to live if you’re looking for an apartment with dog-friendly amenities. I’m not sure what I love more – the extra-huge outdoor dog run or the indoor dog-washing station, complete with a grooming table. The walls are even adorned with photos of resident pups; how cute is that?! A convenient bonus: Good Vets is located right across the street.
- Adult Playground: This building is F-U-N, so I hope you’re ready to play. I already mentioned that Olympic-size pool, which is exactly where you’ll spend your summers. There’s also a hot tub, cabanas and grilling stations on the rooftop deck. The game room has your standard pool tables, but how’s a golf simulator sound? If you’re a social butterfly, the Eight Eleven staff has you covered with building-wide events. From massages and wine nights to cooking classes, these guys know how to have a good time.
- Peloton: Yes, I said that magic word – Peloton! Eight Eleven’s 4th-floor fitness center and yoga studio is outfitted with everything you could possibly need to sweat off a hard day’s work. Free weights, treadmills and even a punching bag if you want to give a little therapeutic visualization a try. And the best of all – Pelotons perfectly perched in front of floor-to-ceiling windows that give you a view of the treetops.
Ready to Rent?
If you work from home, renting a luxury apartment with a coworking space is an awesome way to keep your work life separate from your home life without really leaving home.
While these are our top 3 picks, the city is full of amazing properties with dedicated space for their work-from-home renters. Our leasing agents are the pros on downtown Chicago’s best luxury apartment buildings and know their amenities inside out. We’d love to help match you up with an awesome apartment that best suits your needs. It’s what we do best (and we love it!).