In this article, we’ll take a bird’s eye look at the apartment finishes and building amenities. For more information, keep an eye out for one of our additional upcoming guides below. You can also see detailed resident reviews here.
“Optima Chicago Center, A Closer Look”
“Why should I Call Optima Chicago Center Home?”
Your Living Experience
Located at 200 E Illinois, Optima consists of convertible, one bed, two bed / two bath, and three bed / two bath units. Finishes and fixtures are consistent throughout all of the units, with differing layouts. I tend to think Optima has some of the more intelligent layouts amongst it’s competitors. You have less space utilized in hallways, room for a table / home office, sliding doors to maximize space, etc.
Optima units have a very warm and comfortable feel. Hosting engineered bamboo wood flooring throughout the common spaces, carpeted bedrooms, floor to ceiling windows, track lighting, and in-unit laundry in every apartment. There are no balconies in the building, however there are several common outdoor spaces we’ll discuss more below.
All kitchens have granite counters, stainless steel whirlpool appliances, dishwashers, built in ovens and microwaves, under mounted sinks, and custom euro cabinetry. All ranges in the building are electric.
"I tend to think Optima has some of the more intelligent layouts amongst it’s competitors."
When the building first opened, there were two burners stovetops in all convertible and one bed units. They’ve since changed many over to 4 burners, however some of the twos remain in smaller units. There’s a bit of a disparity in cabinet space amongst layouts. Some have fantastic amounts of storage, including panties and other additional kitchen options, however others can feel a bit lacking in that department. For more specifics into this, check out our upcoming “closer Look” review.
The bathrooms at Optima can come off as divisive depending on your personal preference. They went all in and nearly did away with any form of bathtub in the building. Almost every unit has a stall shower, with the exception of master bathrooms in some of the larger 2 bedrooms. This has been trending across many buildings in recent rental developments, however no one has quite taken to this scale. Counter space on the vanity is actually quite nice even in convertible and one bedrooms, and you can get double sinks in many master bathrooms. Grohe fixtures, limestone beige porcelain tile on the floor and shower,and under-mounted vanity sinks are a couple other features worth noting.
You’ve got a few options for views at Optima. South facing is considered their premier view, looking out over the river and right at the Tribune Tower. East facing is also a great view, as you’ll still get the lake. Construction of Optima II has made some people nervous of potential east facing obstruction, but a representative of the owner has assured me that it won’t obstruct current lake views. North and West facing views are a bit trickier. Both can still be quite enjoyable, but only if you’re on a high enough floor. Obstruction becomes an issue until you’re in roughly the top ⅓ of the building.
Amenities / Policies
Optima brings a full suite of high end amenity offerings to residents.
Starting at the 10th floor is the “Fitness and Aqua Center,” as they’ve coined it. The gym offerings expansive, everything from cardio, to free weights, to a rowing machine. The only thing lacking would be a traditional bench press and squat rack. Nevertheless, it’s far above average and should replace a traditional gym for the average tenant. On the far side of the gym is a half basketball court that doubles as a stretching / yoga area when not in use.
Across the hall is their “Aquatic Center.” Inside there is a 15 foot pool and massive hot tub. The pool is serviceable for doing laps and more usable than several in other comparable quality buildings. Large frosted glass doors slide open in nice weather to give the aquatic center a nice “indoor-outdoor” feel. From there you can step out onto a very large covered, wraparound balcony. It wraps the entire length of the building and connects the gym and pool. Linking the gym and aquatic center are locker rooms with steam rooms & saunas.
On the 32nd floor is Optima’s resident lounge. This includes lounge furniture, televisions, a pool table, a ping pong table, complimentary tea and coffee, catering kitchen, and an outdoor covered terrace equipped with Wolf brand grills.
On the rooftop is Optima’s “Sky Garden Terrace " complete with a rooftop hot tub overlooking the Tribune Tower, the river, and the Loop. On either side of the hot tub are two banquettes with fire pits. The Sky Garden is also equipped with two TVs and surround sound that can be connected to a phone via a dock just inside the building.
The last few details include a 238 space parking garage. Parking is month to month and will cost you $285 a month for a private, reserved space. You have 24 hour door staff in the lobby. From my time visiting the building I could easily see that they really take pride in their job, and are a phenomenal service to the building. Additionally, there’s dry cleaning on site, a Whole Foods next door (with a covered walkway connecting), complimentary bike storage, a business center with PC and Mac computers, and storage lockers available for rent at $ monthly. Optima allows dogs on specific floors, although breed restrictions will still apply.
The utility package includes heat, a/c, water, sewer, trash, gas, cable, and internet. Cable and Internet is through AT&T U-Verse. Internet speed clocks in at 12.5 mbps and cable is your basic cable channels, along with HBO and a complimentary DVR. You’ll be paying $85 in a convertible,$120 in a one bed, $145 in a two bedroom, and $195 in a 3 bedroom.
As always, I’m here to provide information that could help you make an informed decision, but I won’t tell you if something is “good” or not. Only you know what is a right fit for your lifestyle. Feel free to contact me with any questions about this or other properties.
If you currently live here, or have in the past, please take 5 minutes to review your experience HERE. We firmly believe that advice from hundreds of people is greater than advice from one, and we really appreciate you being a part of that!