Candela’s Chicago Penthouse

            Atop 1500 Lake Shore Drive


1500 North Lake Shore Drive





By Megan McKinney


In our previous feature on Rosario Candela, we stated that although New York’s greatest co-op architect created some eighty buildings in Manhattan, he designed only one in Chicago.


Rosario Candela


Mr. Candela’s single Chicago co-op is 1500 Lake Shore Drive. This superb residential building was constructed in 22 months within 1927 to 1929 by the brilliant New York designer in conjunction with the Chicago-based architectural firm McNally & Quinn.




Above is a portion of the property that Neil Harris and Teri Edelstein, in their book Chicago Apartments: A Century of Luxury, described as the “million dollar, built-to-last mansion” of Victor Lawson, founder and publisher of the Chicago Daily News. Mr. Lawson’s residence on the site preceded the 1500 Lake Shore Drive co-op of today. Chicago Apartments readers were also informed that portions of the Lawson house were inserted into some units of the present 1500.

The Chicago Daily News as  it appeared in 1925, the year of Victor Lawson’s death.

Today, for the first time in fifty years, the famous 1500 Lake Shore Drive penthouse is on the market. This was a property the late Michael Wilkie, chairman of industrial product supplier DGI Supply, bought in the nineteen seventies. Surrounding us today on these pages are current images of the elegant residence that occupies the co-op building’s twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth floors.



This sale presents a remarkable opportunity for Classic Chicago readers to purchase a glorious home in the sky, a possibility that may not occur again for another half century.



Here are further images of the exterior of the stunning six-bedroom, seven-bathroom, 8,000-square-foot two-floor penthouse.


If you were  owner of the marvelous 1500 Lake Shore Drive penthouse, this would be your view of Lake Michigan. The 2024 Air and Water Show is coming up in August; what a terrific spot this would be from which to watch the spectacle.

This is what your guests would see as they stepped off the elevator that rises directly to your formal entry gallery from the base of the building. High above is the vaulted  ceiling, finished in a fresco theme. Your friends would walk a forty-foot-long, walnut-paneled gallery hall to the living room.



The penthouse living room features an imposing fireplace and the twenty-foot-high original coffered ceiling. There is also a a library in the duplex and a partial third level that contains a drawing room.

Stepping out from the main formal rooms, you and your guests would find yourselves in a 3,000-square-foot, Lake Michigan-facing lush lawn with mature trees and a covered loggia.

And on the north and west sides of this private world, there is a 2,000-square-foot deck.

Do buy this property. A picnic on the lush lawn would be the perfect way to watch the Air and Water Show in August. There is still time to act.



Author photo: Robert F. Carl