Some Basic Chicago Housing Terminology (Penthouse, Loft, Soft Loft)

If you think back to the first time you moved to Chicago and looked for an apartment, unless you were born here ore are experiencing it for the first time while reading this article, you will probably remember just how many postings there were in a single square mile and even how many different kinds of Chicago apartments and Chicago condos and lofts and more existed within those results. Chicago rental and condo property has a set of descriptors as diverse as the options are, fortunately Core Group Chicago is here with a continuing run down of important Chicago housing terminology.



The iconic luxury residence, penthouses are the top floor of an apartment or condo high-rise (the term does not apply to smaller residential neighborhood structures. While the top several floors of certain buildings are often marketed as penthouse level, there can only be one true penthouse floor and it is often specially furnished for premium residents.


Lofts are rooms converted in the past several decades from storage spaces or industrial locations. These new residential spaces can be both rented and bought, and typically feature tall open walls, exposed brick, concrete, or duct work, large windows, a large central space, and timber beams at the ceiling. The popularity and chic of the living space has also triggered recent loft development. Also many lofts are zoned as being suitable for both work and living space, creating the perfect atmosphere for at home businesses.

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Soft Lofts

Playing from the popularity of real loft spaces converted from old industrial space, many Chicago builders and developers have been producing buildings with residential units that feature the same unfinished  charm of brick or concrete with similarly high windows and more. However many still feel more like regular condo space.

Four-plus-one buildings

These apartment buildings are common around the Lincoln Park apartment Pills s and Order Lakeview apartments areas and most date back to 1965 or so. The buildings are in actuality five stories though the first story is always a parking garage. Interestingly the buildings resulted from a loophole that allowed the classification of a garage to count as a basement, allowing for the construction of five story buildings in zones which were limited to four story max.

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