OPTIMA LAKEVIEW CHICAGO APARTMENTS

Find Your Inspiration™
at Optima Lakeview in Chicago

For those who seek an elevated sense of home in one of Chicago’s most beloved neighborhoods, Optima Lakeview offers a uniquely holistic quality of life that inspires residents while nurturing a deeply satisfying sense of community.

For more than 40 years, Optima has changed the landscape of design and real estate development across the Chicago and Phoenix markets. Since its founding in 1978 by David and Eileen Hovey, Optima set out to control and execute every aspect of the process in-house – development, design, construction, sales and management – for a dynamic system that offers greater efficiency and flexibility. Working together with David Hovey Jr., AIA and Tara Hovey, they continue to refine Optima's visionary approach, innovative technology and progressive environmental standards.

Most recently, we have brought our unique approach to creating built environments to the city’s Lakeview neighborhood, as Optima Lakeview opens its doors as the boldly beautiful vision of award-winning architects David C. Hovey, FAIA, and David Hovey, Jr., AIA.

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Amenities that go above and beyond.

What makes for an elevated lifestyle at Optima Lakeview are experiences and spaces that delight and surprise at every turn, serving up new, unexpected ways to make a difference and ensure every day is extraordinary. The rooftop sky deck, with its panoramic views, allows residents to enjoy the fresh air year-round with access to the heated pool and spa along with BBQs, fire pits, outdoor theater and a glass-enclosed party room.

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Multiple grilling areas

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Views to Wrigley Field

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Indoor & Outdoor Kitchens

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Sundeck

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Heated Pool for Year-Round Use

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Glass-Enclosed Party Room

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Skylight

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Stunning Views

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Heated Rooftop Sky Deck

Floor Plans

Apartment Floor Plans in Chicago, IL

Residences that celebrate
living well.

The residences at Optima Lakeview express a personal sense of well-being through inspired sophistication, curated details and a commitment to artistry. Airy yet intimate apartment floor plans that boast floor-to-ceiling windows — with thoughtful additions including abundant storage and dedicated work-from-home space — warmly welcome you and your family with immaculate finishes and modern features. Refined elegance emanates from every corner, creating spaces that are beautifully crafted and forever modern.

There’s no better ingredient for elevating the experience of city living than fresh air. That means in addition to having access to the year-round rooftop sky deck, many one-, two- and three-bedroom homes feature expansive private terraces that create a seamless transition from indoors to out. Ranging from 67 to 1,606 square feet, many of these exquisitely-crafted spaces have been designed with trees, private grills and fire pits to invite year-round living.

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Amenities

Amenities

Design first. Always.

Exceptional design drives us in everything we do, and Optima Lakeview is no exception: the stunning, light-filled atrium, endless views of the neighborhood and Lake Michigan from the spectacular rooftop sky deck, and abundant amenity spaces. The inspired use of floor-to-ceiling glass, concrete and natural stone. A world-class collection of contemporary art and furniture in public spaces both inside and outside. Across the entire spectrum of design, our unique sense of form and function has allowed us to imagine the extraordinary in the heart of this storied neighborhood. And while our passion for sustainable, thoughtful design has always been part of the Optima culture, we have pushed our own boundaries to ensure that Optima Lakeview offers a new, elevated sense of home for our residents and neighbors.

Life at Optima Lakeview offers residents endless opportunities to focus on their health and wellness — ranging from our full-court basketball and pickleball court to a golf simulator. With the Optima Lakeview mobile app, residents can also take advantage of several fitness options from yoga classes to personal training. Beyond the abundant offerings within the building, our proximity to the lakefront provides easy access to biking, walking, running, tennis courts at Waveland Park and the nine-hole golf course at Sydney R. Marovitz Golf Course.

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Services

Services

Care and Connection.
That’s the Optima way.

Our approach to our residents is deeply personal and infused with hospitality; we want our residents to feel welcomed and cared for at every moment. Our programming and management are customized and curated to make everyday life extraordinary, and to ensure that our residents always feel right at home.

Integral to the Optima® experience is a sense of belonging to a community and sharing authentic social connections with others. This, too, drives our approach to every program and event we offer, giving our residents the opportunity to join with others in endless ways — from meeting up on the basketball court, joining with others to take a lakefront run or scheduling a playdate with a group of children.

Optimized Service® Optimized Service® includes white glove, in-home package delivery & box removal, grocery & dry cleaning delivery and plant watering.

Onsite Massage Therapy Optima Lakeview has partnered with incredible massage therapists to provide massage to residents in the comfort of your own home.

Fitness Programming Fitness programs including yoga and mindfulness, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes, kids creative movement and personal training are available to the residents of Optima Lakeview.

Optima Connect® Residents of Optima Lakeview can take advantage of exclusive discounts to area restaurants and retailers.

Complimentary Towel Service Complimentary towel service is provided in fitness center, locker rooms and poolside on the rooftop sky deck.

Curated Social Events & Clubs Our onsite team carefully curates social events and programs such as food trucks, music and cocktails on the sky deck, and cooking demonstrations. Organized resident clubs are as varied as book club, bike club and kids club.

24/7 Virtual Personal Assistant A 24/7 virtual personal assistant is available by phone, email or text to assist with an array of complimentary personalized services including reservations, travel, tickets, coordination and more.

Housekeeping Through our partnership with Elevated Living, residents can choose from a variety of housekeeping offerings through our custom Optima Lakeview mobile app.

Pet Care Pet care services include onsite dog grooming in our pet spa, dog walking, pet visits, pet sitting and in-person or virtual meet & greets.

Room Service by Pear Chef  Handpicked chefs prepare fresh meals, personalized wine and cocktail pairings and curated snacks exclusively for our residents.

Maintenance Services Our onsite team of maintenance professionals provides filter changes, light bulb replacement, assists with hanging tvs and is available for any service request that comes up.

Moving Services Through the Optima Lakeview mobile app you can schedule with one of our preferred movers who will pack your belongings and move them into your new home at Optima Lakeview.

Neighborhood

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The quintessential Chicago neighborhood: timeless yet always changing


Culture & Recreation

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Lakeview is full of Chicago culture and history, yet it radiates the vibrancy of newness, with every small business or tantalizing restaurant on its avenues and streets. The Lakeview neighborhood emits a laid back, neighborly welcome, yet its heart beats with an urban pulse. It attracts youthful energy, yet retains generations of cherished stories. In spite of these apparent contradictions — or perhaps because of them — Lakeview continues to thrive with an unquenchable vitality that has fostered and inspired performers, athletes, writers, activists and inventors to embrace a world that is perfect in its imbalance. And with its lively mix, Lakeview remains a unique gem that represents the past, present and future of Chicago.

Address:
3478 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657

Things To Do in Chicago Near Optima Lakeview

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About Us

About

A developer with an architect’s vision.

For more than four decades, Optima® has been developing, designing and building some of the most striking urban and suburban luxury residential communities in the United States. Each Optima development is distinctive and customized to its physical location, with shared signature aesthetics including strong geometric shapes, inherently beautiful building materials and open, flexible floor plans. With award-winning architects David C. Hovey, FAIA and David Hovey Jr., AIA at the helm, Optima combines a deep understanding of how residents live with a desire to build the environment around their lifestyles — not to define them but to enhance them.

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FEATURED DEVELOPMENTS

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The Optima Promise: Exceptionally designed spaces and experiences elevate our personal sense of well-being, while inspiring us and those around us.

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The latest news from
Optima Lakeview

Located on N. Broadway in the middle of the vibrant Lakeview community, Optima Lakeview brings together the surrounding architectural aesthetic with our passion for Modernist design to create a truly unique living experience. Stay in-the-know about Optima Lakeview, design, arts and culture, and the Lakeview community with timely updates and breaking news.

02.26.24

Billiards 101: A Timeless Blend of Strategy and Social Connection

At Optima®, we believe in creating spaces that not only captivate with their design but also bring people together. Amidst our vibrant communities, the classic game of billiards stands as a perfect blend of strategy, skill, and social interaction. Let’s delve into this fascinating world, exploring its storied history, cultural significance, and how it enhances the communal experience.

Tracing its roots back to 15th-century Europe, billiards began as an outdoor lawn game. It soon moved indoors, evolving into the table sport we know today. The introduction of the cue stick transformed the game, adding a new dimension of skill and precision. Over the centuries, billiards has been a pastime of nobility and laypeople alike, making its mark in taverns, royal courts, and now, modern community spaces.

Billiards’ journey through history is as diverse as it is long. From the aristocratic halls of Europe to the pool halls of America, the game has been a constant in social gatherings. Its ability to bridge societal gaps and bring people together for a bout of friendly competition is unparalleled.

Gameplay 

Billiards is more than just potting balls; it’s a strategic game that requires foresight, finesse, and a subtle touch. Whether it’s eight-ball or nine-ball, each variant offers a unique challenge and a different experience. Eight-ball tests players’ ability to think several shots ahead, while nine-ball is a faster-paced game that requires both precision and strategy.

Players must not only aim to pocket the balls but also position the cue ball strategically for the next shot. This interplay of offense and defense, planning and execution, makes every turn at the table a compelling exercise in tactical thinking. The game’s accessibility to players of all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned pros, adds to its universal appeal.

Fostering Community and Relationships

At Optima, billiards is not just a game; it’s a cornerstone of our community-building philosophy. We create environments that encourage interaction, relaxation, and a sense of belonging. By including billiards in our community spaces, we offer a place where residents can unwind, connect, and enjoy a timeless game that has been bringing people together for centuries.

So, chalk up your cue, line up your shot, and experience the joy of billiards at Optima. It’s where every game is an opportunity to build lasting connections and create unforgettable memories.

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02.14.24

Exploring the Clarke-Ford House: A Journey Through Chicago’s Architectural Past

Imagine walking through the doors of a house that has seen Chicago transform from a small town into the bustling city it is today. Welcome to the Clarke-Ford House, Chicago’s oldest home. At Optima®, we’re passionate about uncovering the stories that shape our community’s unique character, and the Clarke-Ford House offers a fascinating chapter in the story of Chicago.

Dating back to 1836, the Clarke-Ford House was originally the residence of Henry Brown Clarke-Ford. Its journey through time is as captivating as the city’s own tale of growth and resilience. The house has survived two major relocations, echoing the spirit of adaptability that characterizes Chicago. Today, it stands proudly in the Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens in the Near South Side, a serene oasis amidst the city’s hustle and bustle.

The Clarke-Ford House stands as a wonderful example of Greek Revival architecture, popular in the 19th century. Its symmetrical facade, accented with classic columns and a gabled roof, transports visitors back to an era of architectural elegance. The meticulously preserved features offer a window into the craftsmanship of early American architecture.

Now serving as a museum, the Clarke-Ford House allows visitors to step into a world from over a century ago. It’s not just a tour of a historic building; it’s an immersive experience into the life and times of the early settlers of Chicago. The house stands as a testament to the city’s enduring history and cultural richness.

Recognized as a Chicago Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Clarke-Ford House symbolizes more than just historical preservation. It represents the city’s journey from its infancy to its current status as a global hub.

We invite you to explore the Clarke-Ford House and connect with a piece of Chicago’s past. It’s an experience that enriches our understanding of the city and offers a moment of reflection on the journey that has shaped this vibrant community. Find more information about visits and tours here.

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02.12.24

Discover Optima’s Commercial Tenants: David Saginur, GoodVets

At Optima®, we are passionate about fostering a vibrant community where businesses thrive alongside our residents, creating a dynamic living experience. In this installment of “Discover Optima’s Commercial Tenants,” we sat down with David Saginur, Co-founder and COO at GoodVets, to share how their presence at Optima Signature® and Optima Lakeview® enhances the lives of our residents and their furry companions.

David explains, “GoodVets is a state-of-the-art animal hospital group committed to an unparalleled level of patient care and client service. We began our journey in Chicago with our first hospital at Optima Signature in Streeterville in March 2018 and added GoodVets Lakeview in Optima Lakeview in 2024. Over that time, GoodVets has expanded to 32 hospitals nationwide, but our early history with Optima reflects an amazing partnership based on shared values of quality, community, and design.

“We chose Optima Signature and Optima Lakeview because of the buildings’ standout architecture and the heavy foot traffic in the surrounding neighborhoods. The sleek, modern design of Optima buildings aligns with GoodVets’ emphasis on visual experience, which allows us to attract pet owners who seek the best care for their pets. As an animal hospital organization, we know that this synergy between our ethos and our clients’ personal values has allowed us to thrive.”

David continues, “We were also drawn to Optima as a landlord because they offer refined urban living in environments that truly embrace and celebrate pet ownership. This welcoming culture, which is a joy to see, allows us to connect with pet owners who share our values and prioritize their pet’s health and wellbeing.”

We also learn that engagement with the Optima communities is a cornerstone of GoodVets’ operations. From hosting events to offering convenient, top-tier pet care, GoodVets has become an integral part of the resident experience for pet owners in Optima Signature and Optima Lakeview. At the same time GoodVets enjoys unique opportunities to reach a diverse demographic, from young professionals to empty nesters, all of whom prioritize their pets’ wellbeing.

“Feedback from the Optima communities has been overwhelmingly positive,” David shares, “reflecting a deep appreciation for GoodVets’ services and the convenience it brings. This feedback has been instrumental in evolving our offerings to meet the wide range of needs of our Optima residents, ensuring that both pets and their owners receive the care and attention they deserve.”

What’s on the horizon? As David lays out, “At GoodVets, we envision continued growth and evolution within Optima communities. We see how strengthening the bond between pet owners and their community is such a powerful force, and are proud for GoodVets to be part of that equation.”

Without a doubt, GoodVets embodies the essence of Optima’s commitment to providing an enriching lifestyle for residents and their beloved pets. And as we continue to cultivate vibrant communities, partners like GoodVets play a crucial role in bringing our vision to life, ensuring our residents and their furry loved ones enjoy the most enriching quality of life right at their doorstep.

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02.05.24

Exhibitions You Can’t Miss in 2024

Scottsdale and Chicago are both cities teeming with culture, arts and experiences, and with the new year comes an abundance of new exhibitions to explore. If you’re looking for a few ways to expand your world close to home, here are some of the best upcoming exhibitions in and around Scottsdale and Chicago:

Of the Earth, Morton Arboretum, Chicago

Replacing Morton Arboretum’s 2023 sculptural exhibition, Human + NatureOf the Earth welcomes back five large-scale sculptures to the beloved outdoor museum. Created by Polish-American artist Olga Ziemska, each sculpture, created exclusively for the arboretum, is made of reclaimed wood and tree branches. Each of the five sculptures are thoughtful placed across the arboretum’s 1,700 acres, encouraging visitors to explore new areas they might not have been to before. Access to the exhibition is included with tickets to the arboretum and it runs through spring 2025.

Native America: In Translation, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Photography’s latest exhibition, Native America: In Translation, welcomes stories of culture, heritage and what the legacy of colonialism looks like in our country. The nine Native American artists whose work appears in the exhibitions raise questions about identity, land rights and explore the abundant history of photography characterizing Native populations. The exhibition runs through May 12, 2024 and, like all exhibitions at The Museum of Contemporary Photography, is free to attend.

Oleaje [Groundswell], Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale

Step into the mind of Carolina Aranibar-Fernández at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art with her latest exhibition, Oleaje [Groundswell]. The vibrant and eye-opening showcase reveals the hidden stories behind global mining and trade. Carolina, a San Francisco-based artist with Bolivian roots, brings her personal touch to large-scale installations that are both visually appealing and thought-provoking. Using everything from sequins to beads, her work weaves a powerful narrative about our planet and its resources. The exhibition runs from February 10, 2024 – August 4, 2024 and tickets can be found here.

American Icons, Taliesin West, Scottsdale

Running through June 3, 2024 at Taliesin West, American Icons celebrates the renowned work of Georgia O’Keefe and Frank Lloyd Wright, icons in American art and architecture. The photography exhibition features 20 exclusive images of the two luminaries, exploring their lives, careers and how each affected American Modernism through art, design and culture. Tony Vaccaro, the photographer whose images are used in the exhibition, captured each icon separately during his career, but looking at the photographs, visitors will be able to find symmetry both visually and through their histories. Tickets for the exhibition can be found here.

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01.31.24

Health Benefits of Massage Therapy

In the world of wellness and self-care, massage therapy stands out as a practice steeped in rich history and cultural significance. At Optima®, we recognize the profound health benefits of massage therapy, which aligns completely with our commitment to holistic well-being. From the focus on energy flow and balance in ancient China to luxurious Roman baths, massage has always been part of human wellness rituals.

Like yoga and saunas, one of the most celebrated benefits of massage is its remarkable ability to reduce stress and promote relaxation. The therapy soothes the nervous system, leading to a decrease in cortisol levels and an increase in feelings of calmness. But its advantages extend far beyond just relaxation. Massage therapy is also known for its effectiveness in pain relief, particularly in managing chronic conditions like lower back pain, neck pain, and headaches. By improving blood flow and easing muscle tension, massage offers a natural and therapeutic approach to pain management.

Massage therapy is known to boost circulation, ensuring that more oxygen and nutrients reach the muscles. This enhanced circulation aids in recovery and contributes to overall health. Regular massage sessions can even fortify the immune system by stimulating the lymphatic system, responsible for expelling waste from body tissues.

Mental health also significantly benefits from massage therapy. It can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, promoting a sense of well-being and relaxation. By reducing stress and promoting physical relaxation, massage therapy can improve sleep quality, a crucial factor for overall health and well-being.

At Optima, our philosophy is that true wellness encompasses both the mind and body. Integrating massage therapy into our wellness offerings provides our residents with an opportunity to enjoy the timeless benefits of this ancient practice, ensuring they can relax, rejuvenate, and live their best lives.

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01.10.24

A Guide to Chicago’s 2024 Restaurant Week

For the past seventeen years, Chicago Restaurant Week has celebrated the culinary feats and explorations of the city’s best and brightest restaurants, and the beloved event is back for 2024! The 17-day festivity is a celebration of the city’s award-winning culinary scene. From January 19 to February 4, participants will have the opportunity to indulge in an endless list of Chicago’s most delectable eats. Here is our guide to Chicago Restaurant Week 2024.

The flavor-filled event features more than 350 restaurants, representing nearly every cuisine from across the world. Participating restaurants are found in both the city and its suburbs. So, whether you’re in Optima LakeviewOptima Signature or Optima Verdana, there’s sure to be an abundance of choices around. Each restaurant will feature curated prix fixe menus filled with a variety of tasty eats.

Brunch at Mia Frencasca, Credit: Kurman Communications flickr

The multi-course meals vary in price, costing $25 for brunch or lunch and $42 or $59 for dinner (depending on the location). Many restaurants this year are also continuing to take advantage of both takeout and delivery options for those looking to enjoy their meals from home. 

Whether you’re craving French cuisine from Aboyer in Wilmette, pasta from Mia Francesa in Lakeview, or cocktails and the classics from Current Chicago in Streeterville, there are more than enough options to last you through the full Chicago Restaurant Week experience. It’s a great way to get to know your Chicago communities, and a great way to support local businesses.

For those planning to savor some of the mouth-watering cuisines, Choose Chicago has created a list of participating restaurants, complete with menus and the opportunity to book tables throughout the event. And for those of us unsure of where to start, they have also curated lists of must-try restaurants in and around the city that you can find here

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01.04.24

Furniture Spotlight: Verner Panton Cloverleaf Sofa

As we continue our exploration of the carefully curated modernist furnishings at Optima communities, we’re excited to spotlight a distinctive piece gracing the lobby of Optima Lakeview: the Cloverleaf Sofa by Verner Panton. This iconic piece not only enhances the aesthetic of our space but also embodies the innovative spirit of its creator.

Verner Panton, renowned for his futuristic design approach, revolutionized the way we think about furniture and space. His works, characterized by bold colors and futuristic forms, made him a seminal figure in 20th-century design. Considered one of Denmark’s most notable furniture and interior designers, many of Verner’s designs, including the Cloverleaf Sofa, Cone Chair, Panton Chair, Shell Lamp and Panthella Lamp still remain popular and in production today. 

The Cloverleaf Sofa, designed by Panton in 1969/1970 as part of the Visiona 2 exhibition, is meant to be more than just a seating arrangement. It’s a conversation starter and a space transformer. Resembling the sections of a cloverleaf, its interlocking parts and modular build allows for various configurations, making it a versatile addition to our communities. 

The Cloverleaf Sofa at Optima Lakeview

Panton’s mastery in blending form and function is evident in the Cloverleaf Sofa. Its snake-like ergonomic design ensures comfort, while its aesthetic appeal makes it a focal point in any setting. Crafted with top-tier materials, this sofa is not just a testament to Panton’s design genius but also to the enduring quality of his creations.

Installed in the heart of Optima Lakeview, the Cloverleaf Sofa does more than just transform the space. It connects us to a time when designers like Panton were pushing the boundaries of form and function, echoing the technological progress of the late 20th century.

The Cloverleaf Sofa at Optima Lakeview

Today, the Cloverleaf Sofa is not just a piece of furniture; it’s a symbol of commitment to integrating artistic and functional designs in our living spaces. It exemplifies how classic design can coexist with modern living, encouraging interaction and adding a touch of whimsy to our daily lives.

As our residents and visitors experience the comfort and style of the Cloverleaf Sofa, they engage with a piece of design history that continues to inspire and delight. It stands as a vibrant example of how Optima embraces innovative design elements, creating spaces that are not just visually appealing but also enriching.

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11.20.23

Optima’s Guide to Thanksgiving 2023

As the holiday season approaches, we’re gearing up for a delightful array of activities around the Optima communities. Thanksgiving is a time to embrace the company of family and friends, and both Scottsdale and Chicago offer a fantastic range of activities to make this season truly special. Here are just a few exciting things you can do to celebrate Thanksgiving and welcome the holiday season:

Chicago

The Winnetka Turkey Trot and Turkey Trot Chicago have become cherished Thanksgiving Day traditions. Participants in both races, dressed in festive attire, embark on a thrilling journey through cherished communities, combining fitness and festivity. The lively atmosphere and communal spirit make these events a perfect start to Thanksgiving day.

Lightscape at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Following each trot, join the jubilant crowd at the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade, a beloved spectacle that has graced the city for decades. With vibrant floats, marching bands, and larger-than-life character balloons, this parade captures the essence of the holiday season. Families and friends gather along the parade route, creating memories that last a lifetime.

Cap off the Thanksgiving weekend by welcoming in the rest of the holiday season with a visit to Lightscape at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The enchanting display, combining light and sound, transforms the garden into a magical realm, providing a captivating experience for visitors of all ages. Reservations usually fill up fast, so make your plans now!

Scottsdale 

In Scottsdale, Thanksgiving morning begins with the Phoenix Turkey Trot—a lively event that brings the community together for a morning filled with fun. Participants of all ages join in the spirited run, fostering a sense of cheer that extends beyond the finish line.

Chicago Turkey Trot

For those seeking outdoor adventures, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and Desert Botanical Garden offer breathtaking landscapes to explore. Whether you prefer a scenic hike or a leisurely stroll, these natural gems provide the perfect backdrop for a Thanksgiving spent in the heart of Arizona’s beauty.

Complete your holiday experience at the Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale. Whether you’re gliding across the ice at the skating rink or diving into holiday shopping, the district offers a festive atmosphere that captures the spirit of the season.

As we approach Thanksgiving, embrace the season of gratitude, warmth, and togetherness. From the lively Turkey Trots to the grand Thanksgiving Parades, the festive events bring joy to individuals and foster a sense of community — a sentiment we hold dear at Optima. Dive into the enchanting celebrations our communities have to offer and create lasting memories with loved ones that will last forever. 

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10.23.23

Chicago Architectural Biennial 2023: This Is a Rehearsal

As Chicago’s architectural landscape continually evolves, the fifth edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial offers a fresh, reflective look into the heart of urban transformation. Beginning September 21, 2023, CB5 invites locals and visitors alike to participate in a series of immersive events and discussions. Here’s what you can expect from the 2023 Biennial This Is a Rehearsal.

Diving into this year’s theme, This Is a Rehearsal, serves as an exciting reminder that cities, much like the instants of life, are in endless evolution. Through this lens, CB5 emphasizes the importance of continuous dialogue, trial, and reinvention in urban designs. CB5 explores how countries around the world share political, environmental and economic issues and how each may address them differently through art, architecture and public involvement. It’s not just about the buildings but the stories they tell and the communities they foster.

Floating Museum, a Chicago-based arts collective, is the lead artistic team behind CB5, pushing boundaries and charting new territories in urban discourse. Their integrative approach promises an engaging mix of conversations, challenging conventions, and setting the stage for tomorrow’s architectural landscape. CB5 expands on Floating Museums’ existing beliefs and work, all exploring the relationships between the built environment and ourselves.

With over 80 contributors from Chicago and the global stage, the Biennial is a testament to diverse, inventive thought. The contributors, ranging from artists and architects to educators and thinkers, breathe life into various corners of the city, from Lakeview’s artful streets to North Lawndale’s historic boulevards. It’s more than just an exhibition; it’s a city-wide celebration of innovation.

Local contributors include Grow Greater Englewood, Urban Growers Collective, Project Onward, the Poetry Foundation and the Southside Community Art Center. Contributors from around the United States and the globe include Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Buell Center at Columbia University, SpaceShift and Stoss Landscape Urbanism.

Marking its commencement on September 21st, the Biennial unfolds various installations across the city. A special opening celebration is slated for November 1st, showcasing extensive exhibitions at renowned locations like the Chicago Cultural Center and the Graham Foundation. The programs invite viewers to engage in conversations around food and material production, water reclamation and discussions around construction and power in relation to land use and rights. Whether you’re a seasoned architect, a design enthusiast, or just a curious mind, there’s something for everyone.

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10.11.23

Optima and the 2023 Chicago Marathon: A Neighborhood Affair

The 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon has come and gone, but its legacy endures. It’s no longer about the anticipation; it’s about reflection and reveling in the history set onto Chicago’s streets.

The marathon looped through 29 emblematic neighborhoods, each revealing its distinct character and vibrancy. Beginning in Grant Park, the race stretched as far north as Wrigleyville before heading back south past the United Center and the Illinois Institute of Technology and finally up Michigan Ave to the finish line. The streets came alive as residents and fans cheered throughout each of Chicago’s neighborhoods, showcasing the city’s passionate spirit. Notably, at various milestones of the course, Optima’s architectural marvels illuminated the route. Racers passed by Optima Signature & Optima Chicago Center at the initial mile, were given a mid-race boost past Optima Lakeview at mile 8, and, as the finish line beckoned, Michigan Place at mile 22 offered a familiar cheer.

This year’s marathon wasn’t just another race. It made global headlines. Kelvin Kiptum clinched a new world record for men, finishing in a swift 2:00:35. Sifan Hassan’s debut on U.S. soil couldn’t have been more impactful as she set a new women’s course record with a time of 2:13:38. Marcel Hug and Catherine Debrunner also both set course records in wheelchairs, showcasing the Marathon’s inclusive spirit.

loser to home, we burst with pride as Optima’s very own Marketing Director, Ali Burnham, took to the streets, blending personal determination with Optima’s ethos of community involvement. 

The 2023 marathon underscores what we’ve always believed — Chicago is a city of unparalleled spirit and energy. And at Optima, we’re committed to embedding ourselves within the heartbeat of Chicago’s most iconic events. For our residents, events like these are not distant spectacles, but neighborhood affairs. The Chicago Marathon exemplifies this, turning morning routines into once-in-a-lifetime viewing opportunities.

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10.04.23

Get Ready to Watch the Chicago Marathon

Autumn in Chicago isn’t just about the crisp air, colorful leaves, and pumpkin-spiced everything. It’s also about the thrilling sound of thousands of feet pounding the pavement, as the city gears up for the iconic Bank of America Chicago Marathon. For our residents at Optima Signature and Optima Lakeview, this October isn’t just any other month; it’s a front-row seat to one of the world’s premier running events.

Circle Sunday, October 8, 2023, on your calendar. The marathon unfolds in Grant Park, with gradual starts ensuring smooth sailing. For those not racing, join the celebration at Abbott 27.2 Fest from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. near the start line for a day full of music, food and fun. While Grant Park’s start and finish zones have some viewing restrictions, the race course offers numerous sweet spots for spectator cheering and encouragement.

The annual footrace is truly a global gathering, where more than 45,000 runners from every state in the U.S., and over 100 countries worldwide come together. Taking the runners on a grand tour, the 26.2-mile route dives deep into the city’s heart, stretching from Wrigleyville to the North, Pilsen and Little Italy to the West and the historic Douglass, near Guaranteed Rate Field, to the South. 

The prestigious event is more than just a marathon; it’s one of only six World Marathon Majors across the globe. For Optima Signature and Optima Lakeview residents, you have the privilege of stepping right outside to cheer on the incredible racers. And for the Optima Verdana community, consider making the short trip down from Wilmette. It’s a spectacle you won’t want to miss. You can find more details about the iconic event here!

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09.25.23

Exploring the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian

Located in Evanston, the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian is a testament to the deeply entrenched histories and cultures of North American indigenous peoples. For Optima Verdana® and Optima Lakeview® residents, the museum is a treasure trove, making it an ideal destination for a weekend visit or a day of exploration.

At its core, the museum is a dedicated guardian of indigenous cultures, dedicated to preserving the stories, arts, and traditions of the diverse cultures that make up North America’s historical fabric. 

The museum boasts an impressive collection, with artifacts from the Paleo-Indian period to present day. This vast arc of time provides an educational experience for visitors of all ages. For children, it’s a unique opportunity to connect with rich histories through hands-on exhibits, such as the full-sized birchbark canoe in the Woodlands Gallery, that offer tactile experiences that make learning immersive and engaging. Meanwhile, adults can appreciate the deeper nuances and intricate details of indigenous artistry and traditions across various tribes and regions.

As with all great museums, there’s joy and discovery in visiting often. Its collections, encompassing regions from the Woodlands to the Arctic, ensure there’s always something new to discover. whether you’re captivated by the beadwork designs of the Plains or the stone carvings from the Arctic.

The museum is a place to connect, understand, and appreciate a vital part of America’s heritage. With its mix of education, preservation, and continuous innovation, it stands out as a vital cultural destination for all. The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, is open Monday-Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturday from 10am-3pm. For ticket information, click here.

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09.05.23

Oz Park in Lincoln Park

At Optima®, we’re passionate about promoting locales that intertwine cultural richness with communal vibrancy. In the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood lies such a treasure: Oz Park, a space that weaves literature, community, and recreation into a single, captivating location.

Nestled amid tree-lined streets and elegant brownstones, Oz Park stands as an homage to Lyman Frank Baum, the creative genius behind “The Wizard of Oz.” Baum, who made Chicago his home in 1891, penned his iconic series here, gifting the world with tales of courage, heart, wisdom, and the magic of home. It’s only fitting that the Windy City pays tribute with a park that brings his enchanting world to life.

As visitors walk through Oz Park, they’re greeted by lifelike bronze statues of the story’s beloved characters: the wide-eyed Dorothy with her loyal Toto, the Scarecrow with his quest for brains, the Tin Man seeking his heart, and the Cowardly Lion in search of courage. Installed between the late 1990s and early 2000s, these figures serve as timeless sentinels, sparking joy and nostalgia for both young visitors and those young at heart.

Yet, the history of Oz Park tells a story not just of literature, but of rejuvenation. In the 1960s, this area was earmarked for an urban renewal project. From an expanse that once bore witness to the ebbs and flows of urban change, sprouted a park that today serves as a refuge, a place for families to converge, for children to play, and for communities to celebrate together.

Beyond the Wizarding statues, Oz Park offers “Dorothy’s Playlot” for the youngest adventurers, tennis courts for the sporty, a basketball court for the competitive, and vast open fields for any and everyone seeking leisure or recreation. The park not only offers these amenities but stands as a lively hub for a myriad of community activities ranging from movie nights to spirited gardening days.

For our residents, Oz Park presents an opportunity to experience a slice of literary history while enjoying the camaraderie of a close-knit community. The essence of Baum’s tales — the search for what’s truly valuable and the joy of discovering it’s been nearby all along — mirrors the experience of discovering this gem in Chicago. Through its unique blend of storybook charm and urban recreation, Oz Park epitomizes the very spirit of community and culture that we deeply cherish.

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09.13.23

Discover The National Museum of Mexican Art

We’re constantly on the hunt for cultural gems to introduce to residents in our communities, so it’s a pleasure to spotlight a cornerstone of Chicago’s vibrant art scene: The National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA). Situated in the heart of the Pilsen neighborhood, this museum is a testament to the depth, diversity, and dynamism of Mexican culture.

Founded in 1982 by Carlos Tortolero, NMMA emerged from a vision to represent Mexican, Chicano, and Latino arts and culture. Today, it stands as a bridge between Mexico’s past and the evolving identity of Mexican-Americans in the contemporary U.S.

NMMA’s collection is awe-inspiring, boasting over 10,000 pieces spanning 3,000 years. From ancient artifacts to modern-day masterpieces, every corner of the museum narrates tales of creativity, resilience, and passion. Whether you’re captivated by traditional folk art, contemporary sculpture, intricate textiles, or evocative photography, there’s a narrative waiting for you.

Day of the Dead Exhibit at the National Museum of Mexican Art. Photo: Roxy Delgado

One of the standout exhibitions that has become an annual tradition, is the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) showcase. This inspired installation dives deep into the fascinating rituals associated with this revered celebration, presenting art that is reflective and celebratory.

The museum is not just about viewing art; it’s an immersive learning experience. With a host of educational programs, workshops, and guided tours, visitors are invited to explore the contexts, histories, and techniques behind the artworks.

“Somos Pilsen.” Photo Credit: Mateo Zapata

Beyond the art itself, the museum’s location in Pilsen, a neighborhood full of Mexican heritage, enriches the experience. The vibrant murals, local eateries, and community events complement a visit to the museum.

As we admire the modern wonders of Chicago, we also treasure the institutions that ground us in cultural richness. Embark on a journey to the National Museum of Mexican Art, and emerge with a renewed appreciation for the beauty and complexity of Mexican art and culture. Best of all, admission is always free. Visit Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.

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08.28.23

Garden of the Phoenix in Jackson Park

At Optima®, we relish the opportunity to immerse our residents in experiences enriched by cultural discovery and aesthetic delight…which is exactly what you can expect when you wander through a captivating wonder nestled in the heart of Chicago – the Garden of the Phoenix.

Situated within the lush expanses of Jackson Park, the Garden of the Phoenix, once known as the Osaka Garden, gracefully expresses the timeless allure of traditional Japanese aesthetics. With a history that dates back to the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, it stands as a picturesque landscape on its own, while also serving as the canvas for cross-cultural dialogue between Japan and the United States. 

As global nations joined the Exposition, Japan, in particular, sought to cast an enduring impression in Chicago. And with the inception of the Phoenix Pavillion between 1891-93, the U.S. received its first glimpse of the refined nature of Japanese architecture and landscape design. It even drew the attention of a young Frank Lloyd Wright and served as a revelation in his practice. 

In 1935, the land surrounding the Phoenix Pavilion was transformed into a picturesque Japanese strolling garden that harmoniously blended with its surrounding environment. However, the escalating tensions between Japan and the U.S. during World War II took a toll on the garden, which fell into disrepair for decades due to a lack of funding. In 1981, the Chicago Park District completed efforts to restore and reimagine the garden, working with luminary landscape architect Daneji Domoto. Once the work was completed, the garden was renamed ‘Osaka Garden’ to honor Chicago’s sister city relationship with Osaka, Japan, strengthening this unique cross-cultural bridge.

Over the past several decades the garden has enjoyed waves of transformation. In 2013, the garden welcomed a new resident, Skylanding, a mesmerizing art installation by Yoko Ono. With 12 large steel lotus petals rising from the earth, Ono’s vision of peace and harmony came alive, inviting visitors into a unique, multi-sensory encounter.

Today, the Garden of the Phoenix breathes harmony and balance within the energetic pulse of Jackson Park and will be home to the Obama Library. As a symbol of rejuvenation, resilience, and enduring friendship, the garden offers a cherished sanctuary within Chicago’s vibrant cityscape.

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08.23.23

Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary – Where Magic Meets Feathers

What if we told you that a mesmerizing spectacle awaits when you step out from Optima Lakeview® and head up the lakefront? Don’t take our word for it: see for yourself when you swap city views for bird views at the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary, an oasis of wildlife where magic meets feathers.

Often a whispering hub of excited bird watchers, Montrose Point is known endearingly as “The Magic Hedge.” It earned the nickname because a small stretch of low-lying bushes and trees within the sanctuary draws migrating songbirds and rarities. Over 300 species have been recorded, making this spot a birdwatcher’s dream come true!

Le Conte Sparrow. Photo: K Schneider

Settle in and you may spot the Le Conte’s Sparrow — one of North America’s smallest sparrow species — near the dripper on the meadow’s western edge. Or, you might catch sight of the elusive Northern Saw-whet owl amidst clumps of shorter trees and brush. And if you’re having a lucky day, you may see rare wintering gulls like the Black-Tailed Gull. And the list of possibilities goes on.

Entrance and stone walkway to Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary. Photo: Chicago Parks District

Since 2001, Chicago has celebrated the sanctuary’s historical significance, when it was transformed into a haven for both birds and humans. You’ll notice recent additions, like a new stone walkway leading down to the beach or the water feature (“the dripper”) offering close-up views of the sanctuary’s winged residents.

Northern Saw-whet owl. Photo: Kameron Perensovich

Without question, life at Optima Lakeview® is about exceptional urban living. But it’s also a celebration of the rich natural tapestry that surrounds us, and the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary is a testament to that beautiful balance. For more information, click here.

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06.28.23

Chicago’s Inaugural NASCAR Street Race Experience

Chicago is a city of firsts. From constructing the inaugural skyscraper in 1885 to welcoming the first Ferris Wheel at the World’s Columbian Exposition, it now sets the stage for the country’s first-ever NASCAR Cup Series street race. This highly anticipated spectacle promises more than just a 12-turn, 2.2-mile street race; it offers a weekend brimming with music, delectable local cuisines, and endless fun for attendees.

 

Residents of Optima Signature will only be a short walk away from the action when the race takes over Grant Park from July 1st-2nd, 2023. The carefully curated course runs through Chicago’s downtown streets, immersing visitors in the heart of the city. Starting from the iconic Buckingham Fountain, the race weaves through South Columbus Drive, Michigan Avenue, and South Lake Shore Drive. This route places drivers and visitors adjacent to some of Chicago’s most recognized architectural landmarks, including The Art Institute of Chicago, 333 South Wabash, The Congress Plaza Hotel, and One Museum Park.

 

The race weekend kicks off on Saturday, July 1st, with The Loop 121, spotlighting NASCAR’s rising stars, followed by the Grant Park 200 on Sunday, July 2, showcasing the biggest names in racing. While the races occupy only parts of each afternoon, artists such as The Chainsmokers, Miranda Lambert, and The Black Crowes are slated to fill the park with music between races.

 

If you haven’t secured your tickets for this inaugural event, you can find them here. And rest assured, if you’re not among the 50,000 expected attendees for the NASCAR Street Race, Chicago plans to host the races through 2025.

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06.12.23

Chicago Sculpture Spotlight: Ceres by John Bradley Storrs

At Optima®, we have a keen appreciation for the confluence of form and function in architecture. It is with this sense of admiration that we turn our spotlight to a piece of Chicago’s history that is as breathtaking as it is groundbreaking. This iconic gem, standing sentinel over the city, is none other than the Ceres sculpture, an embodiment of Modernist art and a testament to the vision and talent of Modernist American sculptor, John Bradley Storrs.

Born in Chicago in 1885, John Storrs was a sculptor who left an indelible mark on the world of American Modernism. Schooled at some of the finest art institutions, including the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Académie Julian in Paris, Storrs’ work blends the classical with the modern, and the human with the industrial.

His contribution to the Modernist movement was unique in its ability to bridge contrasting worlds. His work was firmly grounded in the traditional forms of sculpture, yet boldly embraced the dynamism and aesthetic of the burgeoning machine age. His sculptures captured the soul of a society caught in a transformative period with the comforts of the old world, giving way to promises of the new.

John Bradley Storrs, Photo: Chicago History Museum

Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than in Storrs’s iconic Ceres sculpture. Perched atop the Chicago Board of Trade Building, rising majestically at the southern end of the LaSalle Street canyon, Ceres is a tribute to the Roman goddess of agriculture — a fitting emblem for a building that was home to the largest grain exchange in the United States.

This 31-foot figure, however, is no ordinary depiction of a goddess. Storrs deviated from the typical portrayal of deities in classical realism. Instead, he rendered her in a form that was abstract and streamlined, reflecting the popular Art Deco style of the 1930s. This faceless figure, devoid of any discernible features, was a deliberate departure from tradition. Storrs recognized that from the ground, the details of Ceres’s face would be lost. In response, he sought to create a silhouette, an impression, something that would be striking against the backdrop of the Chicago skyline.

 

Initially, the abstract representation of Ceres drew mixed reactions. However, over the years, it has come to be celebrated as an integral part of Chicago’s architectural landscape — a symbol of the city and a beacon of the Art Deco era.

We are endlessly fascinated by the harmonious architectural aesthetics and symbolic functionality found in Ceres. This beloved Chicago icon remains a timeless testament to Storrs’ profound creativity, encapsulating the spirit of Modernism, standing as a monument to an era that dared to redefine the rules of art and architecture.

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03.23.23

How Space Affects Mood

Today, virtually every aspect of daily life seems to bring a measure of stress. And when thinking about how to cope, it’s reassuring to turn to science, where research studies continue to point to the fact that human health and the spaces in which we live, work, and play directly correlate with stress levels and mood. Since our earliest years and projects, Optima® has championed the primacy of interior space, and we continue to celebrate its importance for each and every one of our residents — including giving a few tips on how to make the most out of one’s own space!

The Importance of Natural Light

Previously, we’ve spoken about the positive effects of an abundance of natural light and expansive windows and the critical role they play in adhering to our principles of Modernist design. Sunlight alone holds many benefits that go beyond the physical. It helps increase serotonin and endorphin levels, two hormones that significantly boost our mood.

What simple steps can you take to maximize natural light in your space? Start by arranging mirrors to reflect light, making sure you’re not blocking light with furniture, and rethink the use of dark drapes or shades.

Natural light at Optima Lakeview®, Chicago, IL

Perception

The impression a space makes affects your mood, as well, and happens on an immediate and intuitive level as your mind and body engage with the physical environment. Picture an expansive living/dining area with floor-to-ceiling windows where you are drawn to gather with family and friends (or curl up with your pooch). Juxtapose that impression with what you would feel when entering a cluttered, dim room with little space to move around.

Take advantage of the layout of your space to maintain a sense of effortless flow in and around furniture and built-in elements, and keep piles and stacks to a minimum!

Introducing Color 

Color isn’t merely visual eye candy, it provides a psychological experience, as well. Beyond the sense of tranquility that the Modernist palette of monochromatic tones of gray, white, and black offer, expanding your space’s palette can make a world of difference in boosting your mood. 

Extending a hand to vibrant colors like red, yellow, or orange can give you feelings of passion and comfort. Cooler colors on the other side of the spectrum, like blue, green, and purple, can be peaceful, calming, or comforting. Sprinkling bits of color throughout your space is a surefire way to add a new emotional dimension to the environment and enhance your mood. 

Vertical landscaping at Optima Sonoran Village®

Budding Companions Can Increase Mood

We’ve written in the past about the mental health value of introducing budding companions such as house plants or flowers into your space, based on the results of comprehensive studies that show how the presence of plants improves concentration and memory retention while also reducing stress.

Make a regular habit of keeping plants and flowers around your home, and enjoy their affect of reducing the likelihood of depression and increasing positive feelings — in addition to the aesthetic beauty they provide.

From the feedback we continue to receive from Optima® residents, living in one of our communities sets the stage for high spirits and upbeat moods. With “great bones” in the design of our residences, optimized for openness, materiality and light, the opportunity to transform living space into home becomes a joy.

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03.20.23

The Softline Opera Chair: A Symphony of Possibilities

As we continue to tour the public spaces at Optima® communities to highlight the curated collection of Modernist furnishings, such as the Eames chair, or tulip table, etc. We find it just as important to highlight recent advances of Modernist furniture design, propelled forward by the likes of Eero Saarinen, Charles and Ray EamesFlorence Knoll, and so many other masters of design. Today we introduce you to the OPERA chair at Optima Lakeview®, by SOFTLINE.

Brief History 

SOFTLINE has been creating and producing innovatively designed furniture for a global market since 1979. The enterprise was founded as a division of K. Balling-Engelsen A/S, a Danish producer of technical polyurethane foam. For decades, this high-quality, flexible foam has been the material of choice for furniture production due to its unique properties.

In 2003, they became an independent, privately-owned enterprise with a factory in Denmark, where the upholstery is performed by hand, based on Scandinavian traditions and utilizing eco-friendly materials.

OPERA chair by Busk+Hertzog at Optima Lakeview®

OPERA

The OPERA chair designed by Busk+Herzog serves a symphony of possibilities at Optima Lakeview® in its ability to elegantly blend modern and contemporary styles. From its high armrests, to provide privacy for all matters of which you may want to hide, to its backrest and cushion that completely envelopes your body.

The OPERA can also be used as a versatile lounge chair in larger configurations, much like PLANET, or in smaller configurations like PIERCE. Both of these elegant iterations can be found together just steps away at Optima Kierland® in Scottsdale. The OPERA chair provides a human-scale sense of privacy, as well as a space for contemplation or conversation in our business center. This striking piece is the perfect place for our residents to relax in solitude without being completely separated from friends, and we’re delighted to include this iconic design to Optima’s® Modernist collection!

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01.05.23

Forever Modern​

Forever Modern® recognizes the profound significance of Modernist principles, expresses our deep dedication to what is current and relevant, and establishes a complete arc of time that speaks to the power of legacy — connecting past, present and future.

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Optima Lakeview’s 7-story landscaped atrium

1/5/23

The Role of the Courtyard in Optima® Communities

In a former Forever Modern post, we shared a brief history of the courtyard. From their earliest uses around 6000 BC in the Jordan Valley, courtyards have evolved into physical settings that enable people to interact harmoniously with others — and with their natural surroundings.

Within the Optima® culture, we never grow tired of exploring relevant, resonant expressions of the courtyard within the communities we design and build. Over the past several years, we have turned our attention to the role of courtyards in our projects in Chicago — Optima Lakeview® and Optima Verdana® — as an integral element in creating an elevated sense of home.

Take the atrium at Optima Lakeview®. Sharing the same properties as a courtyard, this distinctive architectural feature is a stunning landscaped interior volume that runs through the building’s 7-story core and is enclosed by a fixed in-place skylight at the roof to bring natural light into the building’s interior. The residential units and building amenities are arranged around the atrium. In its central role, the atrium serves as a public space flooded with light, filled with plants and flowers, and outfitted with comfortable seating where residents and their guests can linger and enjoy the outdoors, even with the Midwest’s seasons might not make it hospitable to be outdoors.

A rendering of Optima Verdana’s lounge and residential courtyard

Exemplifying our passion for opportunities to engage with nature and organic environments is a vibrantly landscaped courtyard found in the heart of Optima Verdana® in Wilmette. The open-air space serves as a lush oasis for residents and is home to 7’ high garden walls, verdant trees, restful seating and more than 1,500 light-filled square feet. Beyond the tranquility and sheer beauty of the abundant plantings in the courtyard, residents enjoy remarkable access to reoxygenating air, natural light and the absence of ambient noise. It’s no surprise that the building is a proud recipient of two Green Globes from the prestigious Green Globes® Building Certification program, acknowledging that the building’s courtyard design contributes to the larger eco-friendly environment!  

At Optima, we celebrate the power of connection — to nature and to each other — as we express it through timeless architecture complimenting the built environment.

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12.19.22

Celebrating the Holidays Around Optima Communities

Both Chicago and Scottsdale provide endless opportunities for entertainment throughout the year, but the holiday season is when both transform into a wonderland of their own. From the traditional Christkindlmarket in Chicago to ZooLights in Scottsdale, here are a few of the many activities you can find in Chicago and Scottsdale this season: 

Chicago 

Chicago’s Christkindlemarket is a tradition beloved by locals and tourists alike. The festival takes inspiration from one of the first outdoor exchanges of its kind from 16th century Nuremberg, Germany, which shares its namesake. Both the Daley Plaza location downtown and the Gallagher Way location in Wrigleyville offer an abundance of holiday spirit, jovial music, festive activities, eccentric shops and traditional cuisines. 

Just a short walk for Optima Lakeview residents, Gallagher Way’s festivities expand beyond the beloved Christkindlemarket. This year’s expanded attractions include a variety of winter-themed rides and games, a tubing ice slide and the Gallagher Ice Rink, all found within the iconic Wrigley Field. 

For Optima Signature residents and others who find themselves downtown, the festivities continue. The Maggie Daley Ice Skating Ribbon and the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink are must-stops for anyone looking for breathtaking views of the Chicago skyline. And while you’re there, make sure to visit the 55-foot Chicago Christmas Tree and Magnificent Mile Lights lining Michigan Avenue. 

Scottsdale

While Scottsdale might not get the same brisk air and snowfall Chicago does in the winter, the city still embraces the season with a variety of festive events and experiences. One of the city’s most beloved holiday traditions is the Phoenix Zoo’s ZooLights. The immersive experience surrounds visitors with millions of vibrant lights, including a new 50-foot LED tree. 

Found only two miles North of Optima Kierland ApartmentsChristmas at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is another must-stop for anyone looking to escape to a winter wonderland. The holiday highlights include a 6,000-square-foot ice skating rink, sledding, train rides, S’mores Land and an Elf Academy. 

The holiday months don’t last long. So before time runs out, take advantage of all the enchanting seasonal opportunities found throughout Chicago and Scottsdale!

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12.07.22

The Benefits of Living With a View

It’s hard not to picture floor-to-ceiling windows with abundant light, a grand sky deck or a private terrace with unmatched views when thinking of a dream home. And whether you live in a gorgeous desertscape or a bustling metropolitan, nothing beats panoramic views of the surrounding environment. Since one of our favorite aspects of creating elevated living environments is celebrating and embracing the surrounding atmosphere, today we’re exploring the benefits of living with a view. 

Location has always been an integral part of our development process at Optima. From the breathtaking mountains that surround Optima Sonoran Village and Optima Kierland Apartments & Optima McDowell Mountain Village to the endless city and lake views at Optima SignatureOptima Verdana and Optima Lakeview, each of our communities offers its own unique views, but all come with the same enriching benefits. 

Apart from the picturesque scenes, living with a view, especially one of nature like mountains or water, has a powerful effect on reducing stress. Rejuvenation and refreshment are all but guaranteed with access to a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle around you, like at any of Optima’s sky decks. From the fresh air to the panoramic views from sunset to sunrise, stress decreases, and your health is automatically enhanced. 

For creatives, little is more inspiring than a sprawling view. Similar to how living with a view boosts certain areas of our health, it also promotes happiness and creative thinking. While mountains catalyze creative expression, water views, in particular, will leave you with a “blue mind effect”. According to marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols living on or near water shifts typical “red mind” feelings, like tension and anxiety, into “blue mind” feelings of relaxation and cheerfulness. 

Whether you’re looking for creative inspiration, need destress or just want to live with breathtaking perspectives of your surroundings, living with a view comes with a number of unknown perks, all of which can be experienced in any of Optima’s communities.

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11.30.22

Being a Good Neighbor Makes a Difference

With a commitment to community as one of our core beliefs at Optima®, it’s no surprise that we are tuned into the notion of neighborliness and what it means to be a good neighbor. We take great satisfaction in nurturing the desire for connection and engagement with residents across all of our communities and love to keep abreast with research that lends new insight into why it matters to know your neighbors.

In a recent Axios piece, published on July 27, 2022, Erica Pandey explores “The power of knowing your neighbors.” Drawing data from a Pew Research Center study conducted in 2019, here’s what we’ve learned:

A majority of Americans don’t know most of their neighbors — and they barely talk to the ones they do know.

Why it matters: Strong communities boost the health, happiness, and longevity of their residents. Befriending neighbors ensures a helping hand in times of need and provides new friends to explore your larger neighborhood. But over the last several decades, our connections with our neighbors have been fraying.

What’s happening: We’re leaving our homes with screens in our hands. And since the pandemic made us even less likely than we were before to stop and chat with new folks, most of the people living around us are strangers.

Thankfully, each of our Optima Communities supports plenty of opportunities to engage with fellow neighbors, whether you know them or not! We design spaces that inherently bring people closer to each other, closer to their environment and closer to themselves. This intention manifests itself from the thought-provoking artwork that fills the hallways of each community to the wealth of communal amenity spaces, including fully outfitted sports areas, movie theaters, party and game rooms and state-of-the-art fitness centers. 

Along with our state-of-the-art amenities, each of our onsite teams carefully curates a variety of social events and programs throughout the year. From hosting food trucks and music and cocktail nights to flower arranging courses and fitness classes, we take the time to understand each of our residents’ interests, so we can thoughtfully tailor our programming around them!

And because we not only see the value in having a tight-knit community within our walls but within our broader neighborhoods, we created the Optima® Connect Program. Through the program, residents in each of our multi-family communities receive exclusive benefits and discounts to local businesses around their larger communities, further fostering a friendly community ecosystem.

Supporting connection among our residents and neighbors is something we care deeply about at Optima. So, what’re you waiting for? Step outside and spark a conversation today!

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11.09.02

Trending Now: Backgammon — Fun and Then Some!

If you’re feeling sheepish about using your “free time” to settle into the card room at Optima Verdana® with a friend, relative or neighbor — and a backgammon board between the two of you — worry no more. You are about to engage in a high-value activity with a game that is a perfect combination of relaxation and stimulation.

That’s because backgammon, one one of the most classic board games, is a treasure trove that offers you far more than entertainment.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to discover its delights, backgammon is a two-player game. It uses a board with a series of narrow color-coded wedges and two sets of 15-pieces, one for each player.There is also a pair of dice and a cube used for betting, called a doubling cube. The ancestors of backgammon date back nearly 5,000 years to Mesopotamia and Persia; the earliest record of backgammon itself dates to 17th century England, where it descended from an earlier game called Irish.

Backgammon involves plenty of strategy, coupled with the luck related to rolling the dice at the beginning of each player’s move. With each roll of the dice, you must choose from numerous options for moving your pieces, while anticipating possible counter-moves by your opponent. And when you get the doubling cube involved, you raise the stakes during a game. What fun!

And the good times don’t stop there. Backgammon has the potential to boost memory and cognition abilities, regardless of your age, since the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus are given a workout. These areas are responsible for memory formation and complex thought processes. And with the exercise your brain gets through playing, you’ll also decrease the risk of cognitive diseases, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

Playing backgammon is fun and confidence-building. When your opponent pulls ahead or you roll double sixes three times in a row, you can’t help but crack a smile. And that means your endorphins are flowing and your blood pressure decreases — as you experience a moment of pure pleasure — all the while enjoying the company of another person. If you are able to organize regular sessions of backgammon with a group of people, imagine how good it can feel to sharpen your skills and strengthen your relationships.

It’s somewhat of a cliché to say that games are for all ages. But a simple truth about backgammon is that it is a fantastic way to teach math and probability concepts to children, while providing a forum for children and adults to relate on a level playing field. Literally.

Backgammon boards/sets come in all shapes and sizes. Choose the one best suited for you and your comrades and head up to the Optima Verdana® game room!

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10.31.22

50 Years of the Chicago Public Art Group

Chicago’s vibrant public art is just one of the many things that make the city so magical. From Cloud Gate and Crown Fountain in Millennium Park to Art on theMART and Lakeview’s storied murals, otherworldly art installations bring life to nearly every neighborhood. Today, we’re spotlighting an organization that has filled the city with meaningful public art and provided a space to foster community engagement for 50 years, the Chicago Public Art Group.

History of the Chicago Public Art Group

The Chicago Public Art Group (CPAG) was founded in 1972 by William Walker and John Weber, inspired by the destruction of a mural Walker had completed in 1967 on the side of a tavern in Bronzeville. The 20-by-60-foot mural, known as The Wall of Respect, was created to protest Black erasure and honor 50 heroes in the Black community. 

The wall featured a montage of portraits, including those of Aretha Franklin, Gwendolyn Brooks and Miles Davis. It featured seven sections that split the public figures: statespeople, athletes, rhythm and blues, religion, literature, theater and jazz. After its completion, the mural instantly became a mark of cultural pride and a popular tourist attraction on Chicago’s South Side. The mural was vandalized in 1971, but its spirit lives on through public art across the country and especially within the CPAG today. 

After the mural’s destruction, Walker and Weber formed the CPAG to forge partnerships with artists and communities across Chicago to transform the urban landscape. From used walls and streets to urban structures, the organization used every tool they had access to amplify their voices. 

Celebrating 50 Years

Today, CPAG is celebrating its 50th year after creating nearly 1,000 works of art throughout the Chicago area. From the Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial in Chicago Lawn to the Mount Greenwood Musical Playground, the organization has completed murals, sculptures, earthworks, playgrounds, mosaics and everything in between. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial, Chicago Lawn, Sonja Henderson & John Pitman Weber

And although each piece resides in a different neighborhood, they are all rooted in the same three core principles: everyone deserves to experience great art, every community deserves a voice and art-making, and public art encourages community investment. CPAG also continues to share the same values they’ve held for 50 years, uniting artists and organizations to produce art that reflects the beauty of the surrounding community. 

For those interested in becoming involved with the organization, CPAG mentors, trains, inspires and supports children and adults across the city and provides everyone with the tools and confidence they need to bring their visions to life. Learn more about how you can get involved and discover more of CPAG’s inspiring art creations here!

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10.05.22

A Brief History of Outdoor Living Spaces

While interior spaces make an argument for being the heart of a home, outdoor areas – like private terraces and sky decks – contribute space just as important for residents, especially in cities. At Optima, we recognize and share this appreciation for access to nature, which is one of the reasons residents in all of our communities have access to vibrant private terraces and communal rooftop sky decks. Today, we’re diving more into the history behind the beloved outdoor extensions. 

A private terrace at Optima Lakeview

Balconies and terraces have been an integral aspect of architecture across the world for millennia. Thanks to their assistance in increasing air circulation and illuminating the interiors of buildings, Ancient Greece helped popularize the functionality of balconies more than 2,000 years ago. Balconies and terraces continued as popular architectural additions across Europe for centuries, but it wasn’t until the year 1500 that the rooftop terrace was created, transferring the lush area from the facade of buildings to the roof. 

While these outdoor spaces were popular across the world, utilizing outdoor space for leisure wasn’t a focus for many homes until the mid-20th century. Before this, outdoor spaces, backyards, were popularly used to support families with livestock and gardens. But, as time shifted, so did the purpose of outdoor living spaces, changing from areas made to sustain families to those made to support leisure activities and entertainment. 

Today, balconies, terraces and sky decks remain integral to the architecture of urban landscapes, functioning as modern-day backyards and greenspaces for city residents. Since their inception, outdoor living spaces have continued to evolve with time, changing purpose and look, and we can’t wait to see what innovations in the coming years will bring for design, architecture and sustainability.

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09.06.22

Modern Decor For Your Home

At Optima, our affinity for modern design and style stretches through all of our Communities. In the past, we’ve explored the history and identity of modern furniture, but we’ve never touched on the defining elements of modern decor. So, if you’re looking to elevate your home with a modern eye, look no further:

Like design, remember that with modernism, form follows function; this means that every decor element you have should always reflect its intended purpose. Avoid inserting decor that doesn’t add supplementary function or purpose to your home. However, this doesn’t mean that your decor has to be limited; many modernist designs also embrace vibrant colors, unique shapes and various materials.

Embrace The Light 

One key trait of modernism is utilizing and celebrating a space’s natural light. For windows, modesty is key; even with curtains, use soft and sheer fabrics to keep it minimal. Another great way to stretch the natural light in your home and manipulate space is by adding mirrors to your interior. Hang mirrors where they’re most practical in your home. Rooms that have limited light and feel small may benefit from a large mirror, and it might make sense to place a mirror across from your home’s beautiful view or a statement piece.

Introduce Texture & Color

Whether you start with the living room or the bathroom, introducing organic textures to your home is a great way to welcome modern design. Bring the outdoors in with furniture and decor elements that feature natural wood and stone. Other warm textures like leather and natural fibers make fantastic options for complimenting other modern features of your home. Modern design and warm elements don’t have to conflict with one another.

To some, modernism is only associated with monochromatic tones like gray, white and black, but extending pops of vibrant color throughout your home is a great way to add life to the environment. Place a bright-colored rug in the center of a large room or go all natural and bring in lush greenery and foliage.

Modern decor and design continue to be timeless templates for accessorizing homes. Whether you start utilizing your home’s natural light or mix in a splash of color, there are countless ways to embrace modern decor throughout your home.

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09.21.22

Pet-Friendly Amenities at Optima Lakeview

We know how important pets are and we want to make them feel right at home when you choose to live in one of our communities. For anyone searching for the perfect home for themselves and their beloved animals, here are a few reasons why our newest development, Optima Lakeview, is the perfect option.

Optima Lakeview’s proximity to the lakefront and Belmont Dog Beach makes it one of the best locations in the neighborhood to own a pet. One of the most exceptional pet features in Optima Lakeview is the 2,000 SF heated dog park on the ground floor. The park, with its lush landscaping, comfortable seating and friendly astroturf is an ideal place for your dog to get exercise and enjoy the fresh air year-round. And after a romp around the park, take your furry companion to the community’s pet spa. With this convenient service, you can always make sure your buddy is sparkling clean before heading back to your apartment. 

Along with our spa, our wonderful team provides onsite grooming services for every pet that walks through its doors. And because we understand that many pets are home alone throughout the day, we offer our residents dog-walking services to make sure your beloved companion has ample time outdoors, even if you’re not available. For those unable to travel with their pet, Optima Lakeview offers in-home petsitting, so you can leave your little buddy in good hands and reduce the stress of finding a sitter. 

At Optima Lakeview, we invite our residents to expect the extraordinary. And what better way can we deliver on this promise than by making your pets’ lives easier and more enjoyable!

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09.28.22

How to Make Your Pets More Comfortable at Home

At Optima, we constantly challenge ourselves to bring exceptional features to our communities that elevate the lives of our residents — and the lives of their beloved pets, too. Whether bringing your pet into a new home or welcoming a new pet into your forever home, ensuring their comfort and happiness should always be a top priority. So, here are our tips for how you can make your furry friend most comfortable in their home:

While it might sound strange, one of the first steps you can take to ensure your pet is comfortable in your surroundings is getting to know the amenities they can utilize throughout your larger community. Outdoor areas and parks like One Bennett Park and Cityfront Plaza near Optima Signature, Lincoln Park near Optima Lakeview and Horizon Dog Park near Optima Kierland make great locations to get outside with your pet. 

Exercise is another crucial factor in a pet’s comfort. Whether you find time to enjoy a refreshing walk outside with your pet throughout the day or spend time with them indoors, an active pet usually equals a happy pet. For pet owners at Optima Lakeview, Optima Kierland, Optima Signature, Optima Sonoran Village and our upcoming Optima Verdana property, our exceptional private dog parks provide the perfect place to exercise steps from home! Additional pet perks for Optima residents include dog walking services, onsite grooming, pet visits and pet sitting!

 

There are plenty of other steps you can pick up to ensure your pets are safe and stress-free when home. If you don’t work from home, leaving at a set time each day helps set a routine for your pet and can alleviate their anxiety when you’re gone. Crafting an indoor space dedicated to your pet is another great way to make them feel more at home when you’re gone; adorn the area with a comfortable bed and plenty of toys. 

Whether you have the luxury of working from home and spending the day with your furry friend or your time together is limited during the day, making sure your pet is happy and comfortable at home is always important to remember. So make sure you’re taking the correct steps to do so!

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8.31.22

Autumn in Chicago & Scottsdale

Chicago and Scottsdale both provide endless activities and events throughout the year, but autumn is when the allure of both cities emerges more than ever. From Oktoberfest in Lakeview to a hike in the Sonoran Mountains, here are a few of the many activities you can discover throughout Chicago and Scottsdale this autumn:

Chicago

Throughout the city, there are many locations to admire the vibrant autumn leaves as they change, and the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe is one. Across their more than 385 acres of land, they provide their fall-color tree walk and host the Night of 1,000 Pumpkins event in October.

Another way to enjoy the cool autumn weather in Chicago is by visiting the nostalgic ChiTown Movies Outdoor Theater. Nearly every night, they showcase blockbusters, classics and every genre in between in the Pilsen neighborhood. For anyone looking to stay indoors, you can catch Broadway shows like Wicked and Anastasia downtown or enjoy cutting-edge shows in the Belmont Theater District, in the neighborhood of Optima Lakeview.

Autumn also brings an array of local festivals that reside throughout almost every neighborhood of the city. Two of the most popular events include Lakeview’s entertainment-filled Oktoberfest held on September 23-25, and Lincoln Square’s Apple Fest the first weekend of October.

Scottsdale

There’s no better way to enjoy the Sonoran desert and its autumn weather than seeing it up close! McDowell’s Sonoran Preserve, less than a 15-minute drive from Optima Kierland and 30-minute drive from Optima Sonoran Village, is the perfect desert habitat for both bikers and hikers, thanks to its more than 225 miles of scenic trails. Pinnacle Peak Park, a little farther North, provides even more panoramic views of the Sonoran Desert.

McDonald’s Ranch Pumpkin Patch is a popular spot for anyone looking for classic, seasonal entertainment. Not only are they known for their bright pumpkin patch, but they also have a petting zoo, hay-bale maze, and various lawn games throughout October.

The season also brings various themed festivals to Scottsdale. One of the most enjoyed is the Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival, where visitors can discover both unique artworks and new blends of wine. In October, the Salt River Fields in Scottsdale fill their grounds with a display of graphic hot air balloons accompanied by live music, delicious food and costumed guests for its Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival.

The autumn months don’t last long. So before time runs out, take advantage of all the fascinating seasonal opportunities found throughout Chicago and Scottsdale!

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08.16.22

Alfresco Cooking in Optima Communities

Warm weather, fresh air, and BBQs are all defining aspects of the perfect summer. Across all of Optima’s communities, we provide residents with abundant outdoor space to celebrate living well, and to engage with each other around alfresco cooking and dining.

Our passionate approach to design creates a linkage between architecture and nature throughout each of our communities, but it’s in Optima Kierland, Optima Sonoran Village, Optima Signature, Optima Lakeview and our latest project, Optima Verdana, where residents will find extensive amenity spaces that include outdoor kitchens and communal grills on their skydecks, and additional private grills in select terraces.

For those who are fans of alfresco cooking and dining, here’s your chance to hone your grilling skills with the great American staple — the hotdog. Whether you’re a pro or just getting the hang of it all, here are two great recipes to get you up to the sky deck with your chef’s hat and tongs…

Chicago-Style Hot Dog

Since Optima’s roots are in Chicago, we have to highlight the classic Chicago-style hot dog. The best part about the Windy City staple is how easy it is to prepare! All you need is a hot grill and all of the delish garden-fresh ingredients! Find the recipe here.

Sonoran Hot Dog

While Chicago is famously known for its unique take on the hot dog, Arizona propels the standard bite to a whole different level with the Sonoran hot dog. Like its standard cousin, the Sonoran is topped with tasty condiments, but what makes it unique is its bacon-wrapped exterior. Find the recipe here.

The outdoor kitchens, communal grills and private grills are just some of the many ways we design our residential and communal spaces to invite the outdoors inside. Connecting to nature is an easy way to take some time and connect to yourself and to the environment around you.

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08.08.22

Furniture Spotlight: Tulip Tables

As we continue to tour the public spaces at Optima communities to highlight the impeccably-curated collection of Modernist furnishings, it is always a delight to set our sights on Tulip tables, designed by the luminary architect, Eero Saarinen.

Eero Saarinen (1910-1961), the Finnish architect who conceived the St. Louis Gateway Arch, along with many other well-known structures including the Washington Dulles International Airport, also received enormous recognition for his modernist furniture designs produced by Knoll, including the Womb™ Chair.

Legend has it that Saarinen approached Florence Knoll in 1955 with his desire to explore new approaches to furniture design, evolving from his background in sculpture and a desire to create a table with a single leg.

So in the late 1957, Saarinen proved true to his word and broke tradition by introducing a collection of tables, initially referred to as Saarinen Tables. They feature a single central base, made from single pieces of cast aluminum and finished in black, white or platinum, that appeared to “grow like a flower” with a stem-like base, as opposed to having the more traditional standing legs. With this simple, organic shape that included a slender neck and elegant, organic proportions, the base became the focus of a large series of tables that came to be known as Tulip Tables. 

With options for circular and oval tops with tapered edges in a variety of sizes and heights, Tulip Tables were conceived from an integrated design framework that supports a cohesive human experience. They were an immediate hit once they became commercially available, in part because the single base provides visual lightness while inviting people to gather around a table unencumbered by legs. Tulip Tables delighted both residential and commercial furniture buyers with an array of color choices as well, with tops constructed of laminate or wood veneers, or made from natural materials like granite or coated Arabescato marble.

The Tulip Table found in an Optima Lakeview residence

While design trends come and go, a precious few furniture pieces remain timeless and iconic. Saarinen’s Tulip Tables are among those —  ever-elegant, minimal and sophisticated.

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7.25.2022

Furniture Spotlight: Eames Lounge Chair

What can we possibly say about the Eames Lounge Chair that hasn’t already been said before? There’s not a collection of modernist furniture design anywhere that doesn’t feature the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman — and this is certainly the case with the curated furnishings in every Optima community. It’s always a pleasure to spotlight this timelessly beautiful expression of art, architecture, materiality and technology that sprang from the creative genius of Charles and Ray Eames.

Enter the Kazam! Machine

To appreciate the evolution of the Eames Lounge Chair, it’s helpful to understand the design process that Charles and Ray employed. It began when the couple turned their Los Angeles apartment into a workshop in 1941 and began building a device for molding plywood. Their goal at the time was to develop the capacity to apply pressure to plywood without breaking it, which would give them the opportunity to produce a host of objects that interested them at the time — chairs, sculptures, aircraft parts, leg splints and children’s furniture and toys. After many attempts and failures, the Eameses mastered the three-dimensional molding process with an apparatus for bending wood — a kind of curing oven made from wood scraps and spare bicycle parts. They called it the Kazam! machine. With its hinged and bolted curving plaster mold, the Kazam! machine allowed them to create a glued sandwich consisting of several layers of veneer, which was then pushed against the plaster mold by a membrane which, in its turn, was manually inflated by a bicycle pump.

The Kazam! Machine

The Kazam! Machine

Putting the Kazam! to Work First produced in 1956, the iconic Eames Lounge Chair draws inspiration from a classic English Club Chair. It consists of a bent-wood frame atop a six-legged base, constructed using the Kazam! machine, and tilted at an optimal angle for comfort and ergonomics. It’s topped with supple leather, which the Eameses described as providing “the warm redemptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt,” in their vision to make the chair “a special refuge from the strains of modern living.”

A Standout from the Start

In an unprecedented marketing move, television in 1956. Charles and Ray Eames appeared on Home, the NBC daytime television show hosted by Arlene Francis. Aided by the warmth, charisma and humor of the Eames’, the American television viewing audience immediately fell in love with the Eames Chair. Today, nearly 70 years later, it remains one of the most significant furniture designs of the twentieth century. Part of the permanent collections at New York’s MoMA and the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chair and Ottoman have been the subject of numerous documentary films and books, and continue to be featured prominently in contemporary design curation.

Iconic and Forever Fresh

Authentic Eames Chairs are still manufactured by Herman Miller today, much as they were in 1956. And while the Kazam! process has been streamlined and updated, it remains much the same as it was when the Eames first conceived it in their LA living room — ensuring that these uniquely timeless objects of desire remain a special refuge from the strains of modern living.

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7.20.2022

Green Space Spotlight: Optima Lakeview

 

Open green space can be a difficult convenience to find in many Chicago neighborhoods and properties. However, that isn’t an issue with Optima residences and buildings; we strive to welcome the lush and lively Chicago greenery inside our doors. Our newest development, Optima Lakeview compliments the neighborhood surrounding it with outdoor terrace landscapes, a vibrant sky deck, and nature bridging indoor atrium. 

Optima Lakeview offers communal spaces outdoors that otherwise would be hard to find in the bustling neighborhood for many. Landscaped terraces, full of ornate and healthy foliage provide lush welcoming spaces for many to enjoy the modern architecture that surrounds them over a warm fire pit and private grill for year-round grilling. 

The highlight of Optima Lakeview, however, is its 3,600 square foot indoor atrium. Acting as the heart of Optima Lakeview, the atrium allows for integrated access to both units and amenities. The expansive space, designed by Optima CEO David Hovey Sr., welcomes visitors from the lobby with abundant floor-to-ceiling greenery utilizing Optima’s signature vertical landscaping. Abundant natural light floods the space as glass ceilings open the room to the sky deck and rooftop pool above. For residents, the landscaped center of the atrium that is home to an abundance of vegetation invites the guise of living in an oasis.

Like the green spaces in our other developments, Optima Lakeview’s supply of lush greenery allows our residents to enjoy a wealth of benefits. Green areas in urban environments help absorb excess heat and pollution and provide residents with ample space to stretch and engage around vegetation, improving cardiovascular health and relieve stress. And while urban living is often individualistic, grand communal spaces like Optima Lakeview’s atrium and sky deck promote community and social cohesion.  

At Optima, we are dedicated to bringing the outdoors into our communities. The picturesque private terraces, one-of-a-kind indoor atrium and other lush amenities at Optima Lakeview welcome that outdoor experience and allow us to fashion a sanctuary of our own. 

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06.29.2022

Ellison Keomaka Art at Optima Lakeview

Optima Communities wouldn’t be the same without the striking artwork that fills their public spaces, ensuring a playground of form and color around every corner. Recently, we sat down with artist Ellison Keomaka – who previously contributed to 7140 Optima Kierland and our other Arizona properties – to discuss the process and inspiration behind the 80 unique artworks that now call Optima Lakeview home. 

What did the creative process look like when first conceiving and planning the artwork? How did the architecture and design of the building influence and inspire your piece?

When we first began talking about the project, I didn’t realize I was going to be creating artwork for the majority of the building, which was kind of a first for me. And after touring Optima Lakeview in 2021, I realized that I was going to be able to take advantage of its grand layout. 

I set out to create a modular system where I could make everything unique. And yes, some paintings share the same colors, but each one is still different. I created the paintings in sets of, on average, seven pieces, separated by size and painted to adapt to any space. My ultimate goal was for building residents and visitors to see something new when walking the corridors and never see the same painting twice. So that was my aesthetic mission — to create an experience for the people in the building to have an indoor gallery where they can see all these different pieces come together. 

We’ve learned that you’re often experimental, using anything from soil to fabric to add texture to your artwork – what materials did you use for these particular pieces, and why?

I used a significant amount of spray painting here. Street art has been a huge influence on my career and I wanted to incorporate that into my work. I find spray paint offers a very unique texture, so I used it liberally in these particular paintings. I also used pages from magazines, many of which were from the 50s and 60s. In a few of the works, I was able to incorporate original Chicago Cubs advertisements as a way to add a subtle historical element. 

What role does color play in this work?

I worked with Optima’s signature use of bold, bright contrasting colors when creating much of the work. When I toured Optima Lakeview, I was able to see the colors of the atrium, specifically the vibrant red beams used throughout the skylights. And even though the building wasn’t completely finished, I knew exactly what color palette I wanted to incorporate.

I also tried to push the envelope with some of the colors. Some of the blues are off-blues or a little bit away from the primary color. And then there are the paintings that are yellow, red and blue – Primary 3 – that look simple but were actually very challenging for me in their own way because, as an artist, I always like to do more instead of trying to do less. There are also spray-painted pieces that include brownish blues, called Smores, which I originally called Earth Wind and Fire after the band from Chicago. They include this coffee brown with really bright blues mixed into it, which I thought was a fun way to bring warmth into the pieces while still maintaining a bold standard of color.

You’ve talked to us before about how working with music is a large part of your artistic practice. Did music have any role in your creative process for Optima Lakeview’s art?

I think it always does for me. For the first pieces I created, the YBG series, I remember listening to The Weeknd’s After Hours album. I had all of the pieces lined up and was dancing around, having so much fun with them. It was almost like a childlike experience where I didn’t have any rules and was very free with the motions. There was no rhyme or reason, and I let the shapes do their thing. I used an acrylic paint pen to pull some bold black sweeping lines. They reflected the freedom of movement I felt while listening to music. So again, the music made it pretty fun. 

Four particularly special pieces live in Optima Lakeview’s lobby – the Mindscapes. How do those differ from the other pieces in Optima Lakeview and what makes them so unique?

The Mindscapes are a grand project I’ve been developing for the past couple of years. They’re each a visual time capsule that are just really fun to observe. They capture a dream state of imagination with abstract colors and shapes but then incorporate these very clear images of historical moments or memories. Everything found in them is relevant to Chicago, from old newspaper clippings about Lakeview restaurants and high schools to Cubs momentos. Each piece is totally unique, and they all include little hidden stories. Again, I wanted people to be able to walk around, stare at a painting for a little while and come back to see something they hadn’t seen before. 

Anything else we should know about the creative process for this piece or the work itself? 

A few of the pieces are inspired by landmarks in the neighborhood, specifically Red Totem, which is based on Kwanusila found in Lincoln Park. When I was doing my research on the community, I found the totem and liked the colors, which I then used in the painting. Others, like the Fun Love series, were more dynamic because they all had the white splatter that almost becomes energizing when you look at them. Those took the longest time for me to feel like they were complete, because of all the layers of paint that had to dry. 

The 80 paintings that fill Optima Lakeview mirror the vibrant aesthetics that we strive to create in our communities. As with every piece of artwork that we display in our built environments, Ellison Kemoaka’s bold and inspiring work brings a unique story for residents as well as anyone who passes through the space to discover.

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06.23.2022

Natural Stone: A Timeless Staple of Architecture

At Optima, we celebrate the fundamental connection between design and nature. It’s this philosophy that often inspires the design in our communities, including our newest, Optima Lakeview. One of Optima Lakeview’s most exceptional features is the stunning natural stone that lines the first floor. Today, we’re taking a closer look at a classic architectural material, natural stone. 

The History of Natural Stone in Architecture

Stone is a timeless material used in some of the world’s most admired architectural works and monuments, from the Colosseum to the Washington Monument. The centuries-old resource, dating back nearly 12,000 years, has found its use in nearly all aspects of architecture and remains relevant today. 

In its early use, quarried stone was utilized to create walls, columns and piers. For centuries, entire cities were made of stone, making it an essential building resource. As technology advanced and more sophisticated construction methods metamorphosed, stone began appearing in archways, windows, facades and other stunning building accents. 

With time, materials like iron and concrete became an easy replacement for natural stone in architecture and helped to allow the construction of skyscrapers in the 19th and 20th centuries. The natural resource then became a popular staple for exteriors and cladding exclusively. However, today, architects are again embracing stone in full force, and it’s found on everything from kitchen tables to living room walls. 

Natural Stone in Optima

Each of Optima’s Illinois communities — Optima LakeviewOptima Signature and the in-progress Optima Verdana — feature one-of-a-kind granite flooring throughout their main levels. Granite, which is only one of many natural stones used in Optima Communities, perfectly compliments Optima’s commitment to artistry and elevated living, amplifying each atmosphere housing the stone.

We embrace the organic here at Optima, which is why you can find more than just granite in most of our communities. Other uses of natural stones include stunning, polished quartz and granite for kitchen and bathroom finishes throughout our communities and even in Optima Kierland’s courtyard’s sparkling water feature. 

Even after a millennium of use, architects and designers continue to discover new adoptions for natural stone in buildings today, making it a timeless staple of the architecture world.

 

 

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06.22.2022

Chicago & Scottsdale Farmers Markets

Chicago and Scottsdale, home to lively Optima Communities, have much in common, including some of the best farmers markets to be found anywhere in the country. As summer approaches, each city comes more alive with a broad array of markets and fairs. Today, we’re spotlighting some of the favorites in each city:

Chicago’s Farmers Markets

Chicago’s French Market is one of the city’s nontraditional options, taking a cue from its European namesake and occurring indoors. Found in the same building as the Ogilvie Metra Train Station, and only a short walk from Optima Signature, the market is host to more than 30 local vendors – a mix of entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses – that supply neighborhood favorites and cultural luxuries. You can visit the French Market daily, except Sundays, from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Tucked beneath the Western Brown Line Stop is Chicago’s Lincoln Square Market. Although it has limited hours, Tuesdays from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m., it’s a must-stop for residents. Local farmers, food purveyors and artisans fill the space each week, bringing everything from fresh produce to homemade hot sauce. And, if you go, make sure not to miss the local food trucks found in the area during the market!

For Optima Lakeview residents, Low-line Market on Southport is closest. The carefully curated market takes place every Tuesday from June to October and has a variety of favorite vendors that include The Hive SupplyElsie Mae’s Pies and Lyons Fruit Farm. The market is part of Lakeview’s larger Low-line project, which helps to connect the neighborhood through a half-mile walkway and garden underneath the CTA ‘L’ tracks. 

Scottsdale’s Farmers Markets

One of the largest farmers markets in the area, the Uptown Farmers Market features nearly 100 vendors at the North Phoenix Baptist Church every Saturday from 7 to 11 a.m. Those who visit will find everything from local produce and plants to cocktails and cookies. The market, which is only a 20 minute trip from Optima Sonoran Village, frequently has a variety of food trucks to grab a quick snack from while shopping!

Found in Roadrunner Park just East of State Route 51, Roadrunner Park Farmers Market is open all year from 7 to 11 a.m. on Saturdays. Although the market is smaller, it carries a mix of amazing products that include hand-crafted items, fresh fruits and vegetables and baked goods. And, since it’s in the park, you can spend the rest of your day at the children’s playground, fishing pond, swimming pool or soccer field!

For those looking to travel outside of the city, Carefree Farmers Market, found directly 15 miles north of Kierland Commons and Optima Kierland, makes the perfect choice. The market takes place every Friday throughout the summer from 8 to 11 a.m. and is known for its assortment of local treasures. Vendors change weekly, but favorite goods include artisan jellies, locally-made salsas and freshly baked bread.

This summer, make some plans to support local businesses and vendors by venturing out and exploring what your nearest farmers market has to offer!

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05.18.2022

Gallagher Way’s Free Summer Programs

 

Summer in Chicago brings warm weather, vibrant colors, and endless activities that stretch from Lake Michigan to the suburbs. Gallagher Way, the outdoor event space adjacent to Wrigley Field and just blocks from Optima Lakeview, offers some of the city’s most unique seasonal activities for people of all ages — all for free! Today, we’re highlighting some of their current and upcoming programs:

Fitness Series

Running from May through the end of September, Gallagher Way’s fitness series is perfect for anyone who loves being active outdoors. And no matter where your passion for fitness lies, there is sure to be a class that sparks your interest.

Every Tuesday and Thursday at 7 a.m, guests are invited to bring their own yoga mats for a one-hour morning yoga session led by Five Keys Yoga. Other classes in the series include Run Club with Movement Gym every Tuesday at 6 p.m. and high-intensity training every Monday and Wednesday at 7 a.m. for those looking to push themselves.

Music Box Theatre Movies

One of Lakeview’s most treasured venuesMusic Box Theatre, is partnering with Gallagher Way beginning May 25 to showcase 12 music-themed movies on the venue’s video board. Most Wednesdays starting at 6 p.m., movies range from classics like Dirty Dancing and School of Rock to family flicks like Encanto and Mamma Mia!

Guests are encouraged to bring a snack if they’d like, but for those who forget, Gallagher Way’s on-site concession stand won’t disappoint. And while seating is free, guests can reserve VIP seating for only $30 which includes a beverage, treat from Jeni’s Ice Cream, popcorn from Garrett Popcorn Shop, and a souvenir cup. 

French Market

Select Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m. through September, Gallagher Way hosts the European-inspired French Market. More than 20 vendors make up each market, displaying everything from handmade pasta to jams, candles, and soaps. The French Market is ideal for a casual night where you can enjoy post-work drinks and warm weather.

Along with the various unique vendors, the French Market is also home to a different performer each week, ranging in genre from Chicago Blues to Latin Jazz. Kids can enjoy the Craft Corner, where they can create a new masterpiece each week!

Dog Day

One of the best perks of summer is being able to spend quality time outside with your furry friend, and Gallagher Way feels the same, which is why they’re hosting Dog Day on May 29 from 12 to 5 p.m. Neighbors are encouraged to bring their dogs down for a day full of treats and games. 

Local dog-friendly vendors will be on-site, along with drinks, lawn games, and more for dog owners. In addition, the Anti-Cruelty Society will be hosting a supply drive for dogs and cats in need.

Chicago’s summer months are precious, so make the most of them while they’re here! Head to the Gallagher Way website to learn more about these events and other summer 2022 programming here.

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05.11.2022

Immersive Art: The Fusion Between Art and Technology

Whether you’re in Chicago or Scottsdale, immersive art exhibitions are quickly becoming the latest trend, unveiling a new approach for art lovers to savor their favorite works and artists. What separates these shows from what you would expect to see at a traditional museum or gallery space?

The History of Immersive Art

While immersive art may seem like a new phenomenon to many of us, immersive experiences can be traced back centuries. One of the finest examples can be found in the architecture of the middle ages. Employing stained glass in the construction of churches was often used to create an otherworldly experience for patrons. As natural light floods through each window, colors fill the interior, telling a vibrant visual story.

More recently, thanks to the help of modern technologies that include virtual reality, holography and digital projection, immersive experiences have transformed how we can view works of art, enabling us to explore each piece as a protagonist within it. 

The objective of immersive art lies in entertainment, taking 2D environments and metamorphosing them into 3D worlds often filled with accompanying music. Video projection mapping programmed individually for each immersive environment makes sure that every inch of the space is sure to be covered, further enveloping the audience in the engaging work. 

And while many spaces are utilizing immersive technology to revamp older works, ambitious artists are also constructing their own participatory installations. Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese artist, has been creating immersive work since the 1960s. Kusama’s most famous installation, Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field, uses dozens of mirrors to augment the perception of the stuffed polka dot sculptures she created, and because of those mirrors, casts the visitor as the work’s subject. 

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04.18.2022

Chicago’s Lincoln Park & Its Spring Offerings

Just two blocks east of Optima Lakeview lives Chicago’s largest recreational area, Lincoln Park. Throughout the year, the beloved park is host to a plethora of unique events and activities, but Spring is one of the best seasons to witness the more than three square miles of greenery come alive and enjoy all of its enchanting affordances. Here are our favorite activities we believe you should take advantage of this season:

While the park is widely known for being home to the cherished Lincoln Park ZooConservatoryChicago History Museum, countless other treasures line the seven-mile stretch of greenery. As the weather gets warmer, one of the best ways to experience Lincoln Park is by taking a stroll through one of its various paths. 

One of the most familiar, the Lincoln Park Trail, is perfect for those interested in observing some of the park’s most iconic monuments, sculptures and murals. The five-mile stretch offers views of Self PortraitChevronthe You Know What You Should Do mural and the Alexander Hamilton Monument.

The park is also home to great eateries and restaurants that provide amazing views of the vast greenery and not-so-distant skyline. The Patio at Cafe BrauerNorth Pond and Bacino’s Italian Grill each bring their unique flavors to the park, promising visitors unforgettable eats and refreshing atmospheres. 

Another easy stop for food and entertainment is at Lincoln Park’s Theater on the Lake. Found at the end of Fullerton Avenue on Lakefront Trail, Theater on the Lake is one of the steadfast champions of Chicago’s off-Loop theater community. With special events and shows happening throughout the season into the summer, it’s one of the greatest treasures in the park. 

Along with being home to the Waveland Tennis Court, Sydney R. Marovitz Golf CourseLincoln Park Archery Range and countless other recreational activities, the park hosts various free and unique excursions. From yoga to farmer’s markets, Lincoln Park provides visitors with a handful of unique events throughout the Spring, all of which can be found on their website here.

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04.06.2022

Why Biophilic Design Matters

 

Since Optima’s founding, we have thoughtfully developed environments where nature and architecture coexist. This principle of sustainability – known throughout architecture as biophilic design – is becoming increasingly popular across the world throughout all types of built environments.

The process of biophilic design isn’t anything new to the world of architecture; however, in recent years, the design principle has seen a renaissance. Today, biophilic design is used within modern architecture as a method to fulfill the inherent connection between humans and nature. 

Because our natural habitats have increasingly become built environments, designers and architects have discovered the significant value of adding biophilic elements into all kinds of structures to enhance the relationship between natural and built environments. The framework for designing these biophilic environments consists of employing both direct and indirect experiences of nature. Direct experiences incorporate everything from natural light, fresh air, and organic landscapes, while indirect experiences include utilizing natural materials and colors and ecological attachments to a location. Everything from skylights to green walls to fountains all applies the conventions attached to the design principle. 

Health Benefits

Beyond creating connectivity to natural environments, the biophilic design also supplies an ample amount of benefits to both its surroundings and those who inhabit them. One of the most prolific benefits attached to the design principle is the improvement of air quality. Designs that employ vibrant greenery absorb the natural toxins in the air, ultimately enhancing the atmosphere.

Having access to vegetation and other models of biophilia also has a direct impact on happiness and wellbeing. When design principles like natural light and ventilation are introduced into built environments, a greater appreciation forms – establishing a more welcoming, advantageous space. 

Biophilic Design in Optima

Throughout our communities at Optima, we use biophilic design to improve the lives of our residents and complement their beautiful surroundings and communities. In our latest project, Optima Lakeview, we’re employing biophilic design throughout many elements of the architecture.

The development features a stunning atrium that includes our signature vertical landscaping system within it. At the atrium’s top, an expansive skylight fills the space below it with an abundance of natural light. Optima Lakeview is also home to a variety of private terraces and setbacks featuring lush vegetation and ensuring residents a seamless transition from outdoor to indoor environment.

From the materials used in construction to the greenery placed throughout a building, more and more architects are discovering how to include biophilic design within their builds, connecting their built environment with the natural world around them.

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03.21.2022

A Guide to Chicago Restaurant Week

 

Spring is the season of new beginnings and reinvigoration — experiences many of us have been craving for a while. Thankfully, one of Chicago’s most cherished events is back this year, providing residents around the city with treasured comfort. Here is our guide to Chicago Restaurant Week 2022.

Following last year’s modifications to the beloved event, Chicago Restaurant Week is back in full force for 2022. The 17-day festivity is a celebration of the city’s award-winning culinary scene. From March 25 to April 10, participants will have the opportunity to indulge in an endless list of Chicago’s most delectable eats.

The flavor-filled event features more than 300 restaurants, representing nearly any cuisine imaginable. Participating restaurants are found in both the city and its suburbs. So, whether you’re in Lakeview or Wilmette, there’s sure to be a plethora of choices around. Each restaurant will feature curated prix fixe menus filled with a variety of tasty eats.

The multi-course meals vary in price, costing $25 for brunch and lunch and $39 or $55 for dinner (depending on the location). Many of the restaurants are also taking advantage of both takeout and delivery options for those looking to enjoy their meals from home.

Chicago Restaurant Week is also partnering with Chicago Lighthouse’s Immersive Frida Kahlo Exhibit. The one-of-a-kind experience will be held on March 22 from 6 – 8 p.m. and 8 – 10 p.m at Lighthouse Artspace Chicago. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy snacks and cocktails from eight restaurants while absorbing the extraordinary Immersive Frida Kahlo Exhibit.

For those planning to savor some of the mouth-watering cuisines, Choose Chicago has created a list of participating restaurants, complete with menus and the opportunity to book tables throughout the event that you can explore for yourself here.

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02.22.2022

Modernist Buildings in Chicago Everyone Should Know

 

Modernist tradition and design practices have been rooted in our identity at Optima for over four decades. The same appreciation for modernism is across countless iconic buildings throughout Chicago, where many of our multi-family residences reside. Here are just a few of the city’s modernist buildings we feel like everyone should know a little about:

Lake Shore Drive Apartments

Built in 1951, the twin residential towers, which reside at 860-880 Lake Shore Drive, exhibit modernist less is more ideology adopted by its architect, Ludwig Mies van der Roh. Originally seen as too complex, the project’s materials don’t stray from the norm as it utilizes steel, glass, and aluminum. Not long after their completion, even with the critics at the time, the Lake Shore Drive Apartments became a template for modernist buildings across the globe.

875 N Michigan Ave

Previously known as the John Hancock Center, 875 N Michigan Ave is one of the most recognizable buildings in Chicago’s skyline. At the time of its completion in 1968, the modern masterpiece became the second tallest building in the world and the tallest in Chicago – a title it held for over 20 years. Skidmore, Owing and Merill, the architects behind the skyscraper, were pioneers for the new era of skyscraper design at the time and were the same architects behind the Willis Tower. Complementing the building’s basalt-black color, its façade is complete with unique X-bracing and a system of framed tubes which have allowed it to become an architectural icon. 

Marina City

Often referred to as “the corn cob”, the mixed-use buildings became the first of their kind when built in 1964. The circular complex was designed by architect Bertrand Goldberg – a student of Mies – as a self-contained town. Each building shares identical floor plans and includes a theater, bowling alley, and various stores and restaurants. One of the most unique features of the towers is the near-complete lack of right angles found in their unique interiors. 

Charnley-Persky House

One of the oldest houses in Chicago, the James Charnley Residence was built in 1892 and is one of the only surviving residential works of Louis Sullivan. Often referred to as the “father of skyscrapers and modernism”, Sullivan was a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright and helped establish Chicago School architecture. The building is often considered to be the first modern house in Chicago. Although it has an essentially classic form, Sullivan introduced modern aesthetics, like its clean and simplistic design, which separated it from other structures at the time.

S.R. Crown Hall

Created to house his alma mater’s – the Illinois Institute of Technology – departments of architecture, planning and design, S.R. Crown Hall is one of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s most notable designs. The modern masterpiece was built in 1956 and is often recognized as one of the most architecturally significant buildings of the 20th century. Mies created Crown Hall utilizing basic steel and glass construction styles, creating a one-of-a-kind open space without interior obstructions. The building’s 18-foot-tall extended roof also helps to establish the feeling of universal space. 

While these five of the city’s most iconic modern buildings, our list could go on forever. Next time you find yourself in downtown Chicago or traveling through the midwest, we encourage you to explore the modern masterpieces for yourself. 

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01.18.2022

Curated Furniture at Optima Lakeview: the Womb™ Chair

One of the ways we honor the Forever Modern promise and keep it relevant at Optima is by curating both public and residential spaces in our communities with timeless furniture. As we put the finishing touches on the furniture selections for the lobby and model apartments at Optima Lakeview, it’s a perfect time to take a closer look at the Womb™ Chair.

In 1946, Florence Knoll, the pioneering architect who led the furniture empire Knoll Associates with her husband Hans, reached out to friend and fellow architect Eero Saarinen to design a lounge chair for the company. In numerous interviews following the release of the chair, Knoll explained, “I told Eero I was sick and tired of the one-dimensional lounge chair … long and narrow … I want a chair I can sit in sideways or any other way I want to sit in it.” She envisioned “a chair that was like a basket of pillows … something I could really curl up in.”

Originally named No. 70, the chair quickly took on its more intuitive name as people raved about its countless positions and the deep sense of comfort and tranquility it provides. “There seemed to be a need for a large and really comfortable chair to take the place of the old overstuffed chair,” Saarinen explained. “Today, more than ever before, we need to relax.” 

Apart from its novel appearance, the Womb™ chair is also highly innovative from a structural perspective. To achieve a balance between comfort and a modernist silhouette, Saarinen wanted to construct the chair out of a single piece of material. This led him to a groundbreaking new material that had recently been developed to produce minimalistic, yet-durable hulls for Navy vessels during World War II. He then turned to a New Jersey boat builder to use this reinforced-fiberglass-and-resin to produce a prototype of the cropped, folded cone shape he had designed. The final result — a padded and upholstered fiberglass shell that sits on a polished chrome steel frame — combined simplicity of shape with true comfort and flexibility.

A sketch of the Womb™ chair, designed by Eero Saarinen, courtesy of Bob Ewing

Once released, the Womb™ chair quickly became a cultural icon. A 1958 Coca-Cola advertising campaign showed Santa Claus drinking a Coke in a Womb™ chair. The chair also made an appearance in a New Yorker cartoon as well as a Saturday Evening Post cover by American Painter, Norman Rockwell.

Discover the iconic Womb™ Chairs as part of our invitation to “Expect the Extraordinary” when you visit Optima Lakeview. Experience for yourself what it means to lounge in absolute comfort and modernist simplicity, just as Eero Saarinen and Florence Knoll imagined 75 years ago.

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01.06.2022

How to Keep Active in the Winter With Optima Fitness Centers

When the weather turns cold and the days get shorter, it can be difficult to stay true to our fitness goals. As part of Optima’s commitment to creating happy and healthy communities, we’re constantly developing ways to keep residents active throughout the year. In all of our buildings, residents will find incredible fitness and wellness amenities to stave off winter blues.

Indoor Basketball/Pickleball

The basketball courts at Optima provide generous spaces for individuals or groups to build endurance and strengthen their bodies, and they are thoughtfully designed to effortlessly flow into the modern design around them. Residents can step onto the courts to spend time doing drills or to join a pickup game. And as pickleball becomes evermore popular, many of our courts are now fitted out to accommodate this popular game, giving each space greater versatility.

Yoga 

For those looking for vigor, balance, stretching and meditative activity, Optima’s yoga studios are the perfect answer. Our yoga studios are fantastic for residents to learn more about themselves, practice mindfulness and discover new ways of staying active. Maintaining a routine yoga practice provides mental and physical health benefits, including improved energy and vitality. And, similar to all of our other amenity spaces, our yoga studios serve as spaces to build community and connect with other Optima residents who might share the same values.

Expansive Fitness Centers

Included in each of our apartment communities and many of our condominiums, Optima’s expansive fitness centers offer residents endless opportunities to focus on their health and wellness. At Optima Lakeview, the fitness center has been outfitted with top-of-the-line cardio equipment, a weight room, a light-filled studio for yoga and stretching and locker rooms with complimentary towel service. Residents can also take advantage of yoga classes and personal training, along with outdoor clubs for runners, bikers and nature lovers.

Swimming Pools

No discussion of fitness and wellness amenities at Optima would be complete without showcasing our swimming pools. Many of our communities, including Optima Kierland, Optima Sonoran Village, Optima Signature and Optima Lakeview, offer beautifully-designed indoor and/or outdoor swimming pools — ideal for lap swimming and water aerobics — as a central feature of our impressive rooftop sky deck spaces. While the health benefits of swimming are compelling year-round, they are especially powerful in the cold winter months when a regular pool routine can be both invigorating and relaxing.

Saunas

A favorite among Optima residents, our rooftop saunas are a relaxing way to stay healthy throughout the year. While they aren’t a means to be active, saunas come with a wealth of  benefits, providing residents with an opportunity to reduce stress, relieve pain and recharge. While the benefits of using a sauna are seemingly endless, with cold weather, hopping into a heated room might be the only motivation you need.

At Optima communities, residents never have to fear the impact of winter on their mobility or on their peace of mind. With our healthy environments and distinctive amenities, mental and physical health are always a priority.

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12.13.2021

Exploring Lakeview’s Theatre District

Lakeview’s deep appreciation for the arts and support for its thriving creative community are just some of the many reasons we love the neighborhood. In anticipation of Optima Lakeview’s upcoming opening, we’re taking a walk through one of the community’s most vibrant sectors, the Belmont Theater District

Star-studded Location

A collaboration between the Lakeview and Lakeview East Chambers of Commerce in partnership with local theaters and businesses, the Belmont Theater District functions as a critical supporter of the immense talent that calls the Lakeview community home.

Located in the heart of Lakeview, the theater district pulses with lively energy through more than 20 theaters that line the streets surrounding Belmont Avenue. Its prime location is within walking distance to hundreds of shops and restaurants, making it the perfect spot to spend quality time with friends, family and everyone in between. The historic venues, some of which are nearly a century old, all bring their own unique contributions to the theater district. 

Standout Performances

With more than 100 live shows every week, visitors can find everything from world-class performances to hole-in-the-wall comedy shows. In the midst of this abundance and variety, the Belmont Theater District — the largest theater district in Chicago — is home to a few showstopping venues and performances that stand out from the rest. 

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12.08.2021

Lakeview’s Holiday-Themed Pop-Ups

With the holiday season comes vibrant lighting, extravagant decorations and joyful crowds. And in these gleeful times, Lakeview is one of the best neighborhoods to partake in festive celebrations. The annual Wrigleyville Wonderland, Chicago’s largest pop-up event, draws visitors from near and far, but Optima Lakeview residents and those living in the area have prime access. 

The beloved tradition returns this year to celebrate the holidays with 20 show-stopping Lakeview locations. Each bar brings its own unique twist on a festive theme. Visitors are promised fully decorated spaces filled with costumed performers, cheery music and holiday-inspired food and drinks throughout the season.

The participating bars will be sure to fulfill your craving to celebrate the holidays over the next few weeks and some long after the start of the new year. Check out the list of Wrigleyville Wonderland’s participants below:

  • The Country Club, 3462 N. Clark St., its original holiday pop-up runs through Feb. 1.
  • Deuces, 3505 N. Clark St., Santa Baby Christmas Bar runs through January.
  • Diver at the Park, 3475 N. Clark St., promises a Tulum holiday inspired experience.
  • Gallagher Way, 3635 N. Clark St., featuring Wrigleyville’s Christkindlmarket.
  • The Graystone Tavern, 3441 N. Sheffield Ave., a Hanukkah themed pop-up, running through Jan. 2.
  • Houndstooth Saloon, 3369 N. Clark St., inspired by the famous Griswold family, running through Jan. 10.
  • HVAC Pub, 3530 N. Clark St., the holiday pop-up runs through Jan. 15.
  • The Irish Oak, 3511 N. Clark St., a mash-up of St. Patrick’s Day and Hanukkah, Leprechanunaka,.
  • Wrigleyville Kilwins, 3519 N. Clark St., serving its 25 Days of Chocolate pop-up through Dec. 31.
  • Lucky Dorr, 1101 W. Waveland Ave., the festive Lucky Lodge pop-up is open through Dec. 31.
  • Moe’s Cantina, 3518 N. Clark St., inspired by the beloved holiday classic The Grinch and Whoville. 
  • Casey Moran’s, 3660 N. Clark St., has transformed into Rudolph’s Christmas Bar, open through Dec. 30.
  • Mordecai, 3632 N. Clark St., the annual holiday pop-up bar, Mistletoe, runs until Dec. 30.
  • NOLA Bar & Kitchen, 3481 N. Clark St., its Very Cajun Christmas pop-up runs through Jan. 20.
  • Old Crow Smokehouse, 3506 N. Clark St., featuring a festive Santa’s Workshop pop-up.
  • Rizzo’s Bar and Inn, 3658 N. Clark St., the holiday-themed pop-up features local singer John Vincent at 7 p.m. Thursdays and 5 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 30.
  • Roadhouse 66 Gas N’ Grill, 3478 N. Clark St., the Jingle Junkie pop-up is open through Jan. 8. 
  • Stretch Bar & Grill, 3845 N. Clark St., its Elf’d Up pop-up runs through Jan. 8.
  • Underground Lounge, 952 W. Newport Ave., inspired by the Island of Misfit Toys, the pop-up is open through Jan. 31.
  • Vines on Clark, 3554 N. Clark St., the holiday pop-up transports customers to an Apres Ski vacation.

With Wrigleyville Wonderland officially open for the season, don’t miss out on savoring the delicious festive food and drinks served at each immersive location. While some of the pop-ups run through February, others will end with the beginning of the new year. And, due to the popularity of the favorite tradition, many of the participating businesses are reservation only, so make sure to check their availability before making plans for a fun evening out. 

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12.06.2021

Chicago’s Christkindlmarket

One of the city’s most festive traditions, Chicago’s Christkindlmarket, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this season. The holiday favorite celebrates culture and is beloved by locals and tourists alike. And, since the celebration can be found in two locations this year, at Daley Plaza downtown and Gallagher Way in Wrigleyville, residents at Optima Lakeview and Optima Signature have prime access to the festivities just blocks away from their door.

History

Visitors have flocked to Chicago to visit the Christkindlmarket since its founding in 1996, and today, the festival attracts more than one million visitors every year. The unique outdoor market takes inspiration from one of the first outdoor exchanges of its kind from 16th century Nuremberg, Germany, which shares its namesake. 

The festival embraces its Germanic heritage and brings international charm to a local scale. Traditional architecture mirroring the original outdoor markets is key to the Christkindlmarket locations, and transports visitors into a winter wonderland. Entangled in the classical architecture are ropes of vibrant lighting, garland and other merry trimmings, giving the market an extra spark of life. 

Visiting

For those who make the trip to Chicago’s Christkindlmarket for its 25th anniversary, expect a lively environment in both locations — abundant in holiday spirit, jovial music, festive activities, eccentric shops and traditional cuisines. 

At the market’s Daley Plaza location, an alpine-themed heated dining area allows guests to unwind and feast on delicious foods and drinks from various food trucks, including German beer, brats, pretzels, Belgian hot chocolate and apple strudel, among others. Wrigleyville’s Christkindlmaket brings even more seasonal festivities — some traditional and some less so — with its ice skating rink, ice bumper cars, curling, holiday movies, wreath-making workshop and other curated activities.

Exclusive vendors, both local and international, also fill the grounds at each location, selling their own authentically made gifts. Everything from intricately-carved nutcrackers to hand-knitted mittens can be discovered within both markets. 

A truly transformed landscape, Chicago’s Christkindlmarket is the perfect tradition to take part in this winter, whether you find yourself downtown or in Lakeview. Regardless if you’re searching for an entertaining winter activity, uniquely crafted gifts for family and friends or just looking to take in the crisp winter air, consider this your one-stop-shop. 

Daley Plaza’s market is open through December 24 from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. most days, and Wrigleyville’s market is open through December 31 from 3 p.m. – 9 p.m. most days.

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11.29.2021

Optima Lakeview Brings WiredScore Certification to Chicago Multifamily Developments

As employment and living spaces continue to blur, residents are seeking communities that foster technology for both entertainment and work purposes, empowering them to define the way they live. At Optima, we are proud to share that our newest multifamily development, Optima Lakeview, meets those demands and is the first multifamily development to achieve the WiredScore Home Gold certification in North America.

“At a time when people are working from home more than ever before, Optima Lakeview is proud to be a leader in ensuring residents can access a fast and reliable wireless connection throughout the building – whether they are in their home or using one of the many amenity areas,” said David Hovey Jr., AIA, President. “People’s reliance on technology has only increased since the pandemic, so we’re excited to show our residents our commitment to meeting their technology needs in their new home. At Optima Lakeview, residents and their guests can confidently use their devices wherever and whenever as they’ll always have strong connectivity.”

In 2019, WiredScore launched its first Home certification in the UK, and after great success, they expanded, launching WiredScore Home in North America in June 2021. Optima’s partnership with WiredScore began prior to the formal launch in September 2020. Since then, they have provided essential guidance on leading technology features that matter most for our residents’ experiences, leading to the exceptional standards of a high-quality, resilient digital network that Optima Lakeview meets.

We sat down recently with Michelle Eichengrun, Client Success Manager at WiredScore, to talk about the experience working with the Optima team. “Achieving WiredScore Home Gold certification acknowledges Optima’s position as a leader in innovation,” Eichengrun explains, “and recognizes the vast technological and digital connectivity advancements that Optima Lakeview offers its residents. The road to certification was an intense one, grounded in a rigorous evaluation process that focused on five essential aspects of modern living: masterplanning, infrastructure, services, monitoring and innovation. Every step of the way, we were impressed with the responsiveness of the Optima team, the excellence of their design, and their commitment to investing in future-proof technology for their residents.”

Residents in Optima Lakeview will benefit from best-in-class digital connectivity features accessible across the entire seven-story development. The building will be home to a cellular repeater system to improve mobile performance even in the most confined locations. Three internet connectivity providers will be available to tenants: AT&T, RCN and Comcast. With same-day sign-up and speed options available, residents will be able to stream movies, play games, digitally communicate with loved ones and start remote work the moment they move in. 

Fast and secure Wi-Fi will stretch throughout Optima Lakeview’s extensive amenity areas, allowing tenants to remain connected throughout the whole building. Each residence will also contain dedicated and protected media panels for telecommunications equipment. 

“In today’s world, connectivity is no longer the renter’s problem; it’s now the owner’s responsibility to provide them with the best technological experiences,” Eichengrun says, “and Optima Lakeview has taken the responsibility to provide seamless and aspirational digital technology features for residents — so they don’t have to.” 

We continue looking towards the future, designing each of our multifamily properties with exceptional programming, service and technology in mind, and WiredScored’s Gold Certification of Optima Lakeview is a reflection of our commitment to these values. To learn more about Optima Lakeview visit our website. To learn more about WiredScore Certification, please visit wiredscore.com.

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11.22.2021

A Brief History of the Skylight

One of Optima’s hallmark design principles is bridging outdoor and indoor environments through thoughtful architecture. Throughout history, many features of design have supported that same principle. Today, we’re exploring an ancient feature of architecture that continues to evolve with time and make its mark in delightful new ways — the skylight. 

History 

The concept of using natural light to brighten a room isn’t new. The skylight’s origin can be traced back to Ancient Roman architecture and design. The extravagant feature was regularly included in many Roman construction feats and was often referred to as an oculus. One of the most famous skylights of its time, the oculus at the Pantheon in Rome, still welcomes vibrant rays into the church today.

Over time, glass became a sought-after resource for use in grand development features like the skylight. As the industrial revolution began, more and more innovative architectural advancements came into play, including the fabrication of architectural glass work, allowing a growing number of architects to experiment with skylight design.

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11.19.2021

Public Art in Chicago’s Lakeview Neighborhood

As we continue to explore the dimensions of Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood that make it so unique and dynamic, we’re showcasing one of the community’s most significant ongoing projects, a thoughtful offering of public art to the city, the Lakeview Public Art Program

Because the Lakeview creative community has a long history of celebrating art and culture, even the most casual stroll through the neighborhood reveals an abundance of public art installations. And thanks to the Lakeview Public Art Program, the neighborhood is growing its collection of murals and sculptures, while hosting cultural events and other artistic happenings that support emerging artists. 

The Lakeview Public Art Program is run by the Lakeview Public Art Committee, a diverse group of volunteers responsible for finding forward-thinking, culturally-aware artists. Working in collaboration with Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce and Special Service Area (SSA) 27, the Committee supports and advances the non-profit Friends of Lakeview, an organization dedicated to improving and enhancing public streets and spaces, creating memorable experiences, and promoting the neighborhood.

Many of the artists whose work has been commissioned by the Lakeview Public Art Committee are Chicago natives themselves, like Anthony Lewellen; you can see his mural titled Lake View in the geographical heart of the neighborhood, at the corner of 3241 N. Lincoln Ave. For this mural, the artist took inspiration from memories of growing up in Lakeview. This 4,000 square foot wall painting displays a girl holding binoculars looking at Lake Michigan with the rest of Chicago behind her. The girl personifies the neighborhood itself, as she looks toward a horizon of opportunity.

Another mural commissioned by the Committee is Felix Maldonado’s Bears on Parade, which can be seen at  3409 N. Ashland Ave. Maldonado drew inspiration from the fact that in the 18th century, this area of Lakeview was once inhabited by the Miami, Ottawa and Winnebago Native American tribes. Featuring a group of bears and cubs walking through a blue forest, this mural celebrates the neighborhood’s culture and history while also subtly referencing the city’s favorite sports teams. 

With Optima’s commitment to thought-provoking, inspiring art in and around our properties, we are proud to join the Lakeview neighborhood, and celebrate its commitment to public art and talented artists.

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11.05.2021

Romanticism to Ruin: Two Lost Works of Sullivan and Wright

Chicago is fortunate to have a rich architectural tradition. From the city’s first skyscraper built in 1885 to the transcending towers that look over the urban landscape today, architecture is at the forefront of Chicago’s role as a world-class city. At Optima, we are grateful to be part of an ecosystem that appreciates thoughtful and purposeful design. In the spirit of celebrating some of Chicago’s most prominent architects, we are delighted to see an exhibition at Wrightwood 659 that brings two magnificent lost buildings, designed by luminary architects to the public.

Romanticism to Ruin: Two Lost Works of Sullivan and Wright can be seen at Wrightwood 659, located just south of Optima Lakeview. This collection offers a glimpse into the rich history of two buildings designed by renowned architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis H. Sullivan. Though few connections are evident between the two structures at first glance, a deeper dive uncovers the rich relationship between the Garrick Theatre in Chicago and the Larkin Administration Building in Buffalo.

Reconstructing The Garrick

At the time of its completion in 1892, the Garrick Theatre, with a capacity of 1,300 seats, was among the tallest buildings in Chicago. Sullivan and his firm partner, Dankmar Adler, designed the exquisite structure to reflect the German heritage of its original investors, but made every development choice with careful thought for the theatre’s visitors. As the historic structure faded with time, its decline accelerated, and in 1961, amid much controversy and disagreement, the theatre was razed and replaced with a parking structure.

Reconstructing the Garrick uses stencils, fragments, drawings, photography and narrative to bring the lost architectural treasure back to life. Some of Sullivan’s most opulent designs for the Garrick included numerous terracotta portraits of well-known German men of the arts that protruded from the Theatre’s upper floors. Fragile ornamentation and vibrantly-colored plasters consisting of gold, jade and salmon, salvaged before and after the building’s demolition, are on view as part of the exhibition, offering access to delightful details of this grand structure that have been long-forgotten.

Reimagining the Larkin

Razed in 1906, the Larkin Administration Building, owned by Darwin D. Martin, was Wright’s first commercially-designed structure and allowed him to apply his innovative and pioneering techniques to a much larger scale. The building, designed and constructed for the Larkin Soap Company, was groundbreaking in its own right as a center where all of the company’s products were both manufactured and mailed. However, at the forefront of Wright’s mind was designing for workability.

Wright and Martin both understood that an ordered, well-lit and harmonious environment would champion the workers. The five-story red brick building included numerous modernized mechanics, including air conditioning, built-in desk furniture and suspended toilets. Wright designed most of the building’s furniture himself, and many pieces are on display within the exhibition. Deemed by critics and architects at the time as the finest commercial building in the world, the Larkin also seamlessly unified technology with the nature that surrounded it with its rooftop garden, recreation areas and water lily ponds.

Unlike the Garrick, after years of deterioration, there was little fight to save the Larkin. However, today both buildings hold greater significance than ever before. The Gerrick and the Larkin prove how transcendent architecture is defined not only by its material and look, but also by the lasting impression it stamps into history.

Romanticism to Ruin is currently open to visitors Fridays and Saturdays through the end of December 2021. You can reserve tickets to the exhibit here.

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10.18.2021

Optima Communities: Revisiting Lakeview

As our newest development, Optima Lakeview, nears completion, we are diving back into this beloved neighborhood. Here are just a few things that make Lakeview special to us at Optima and to the residents who call the neighborhood home.

Festivities Year-round 

No matter the season, festivals and markets fill Lakeview’s social calendar, providing locals with numerous opportunities to connect and celebrate. A neighborhood favorite, Restaurant Week kicks things off each spring with a handful of specials on local menus, allowing foodies to explore Lakeview one dish at a time. Fitness fanatics will enjoy the Lincoln Hub Workout Series hosted in South Lakeview Park during the summertime. Halsted Street is filled with pride in June to celebrate Chicago’s LGBTQ+ community. 

Lakeview’s Festival of the Arts spotlights local artists, musicians and restaurants in the autumn months annually. In October, families take part in Trick or Treat Southport, with Halloween-themed activities for all ages. To close the year, festive lights, photos with Santa and more can be found at Lakeview’s Holiday Stroll.

Hidden Gems 

Lakeview has plenty of shops, restaurants, museums and theatres to satisfy all interests. However, there are a few neighborhood staples that not many know about. Located just off of Diversey, Clark and Broadway, Landmark Century Centre Cinema is a favorite for film buffs and is complete with a Spanish Baroque façade designed by the prominent architecture firm Levy & Klein. On Lakeview’s South Side, Wrightwood 659, designed by Pritzker Prize-winner Tadao Ando, presents visitors with thought-provoking exhibitions of international art and architecture not found anywhere else. The museum’s current exhibition, Romanticism to Ruin, includes reconstructions of two lost works from Louis H. Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Near the exhibition space sits a neighborhood favorite for food, Del Seoul. The local restaurant fuses traditional American, Korean and Mexican food into a tasty menu unique to the city. One of Lakeview’s more well-known hidden gems is Northalsted Market Days. The annual tradition takes place on Halsted Street for six blocks, making it the largest outdoor street festival in the Midwest. During the two-day festival that takes place in August, tourists and locals celebrate the community and enjoy local vendors, food, arts, crafts and music.

An Abundance of Green Space

Neighboring Lincoln Park offers virtually endless pastimes for everyone to enjoy. The Lincoln Park Zoo and landmark Lincoln Park Conservatory offer free admission and are filled with animals and lush greenery to enjoy throughout the year. Located just below the Zoo, dozens of sustainable local vendors sell fresh produce at the Green City Market from May through November, named one of the best markets in the nation.

Residents will find a number of accessible outdoor recreational activities just steps from Optima Lakeview. A short stroll down Lakeshore Drive West leads to a driving range, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and several beaches and restaurants near the lake. Kayakers and rowers have easy access to Diversey Harbor and South Lagoon, granting the perfect spot to spend a warm day. Tennis and golf lovers can conveniently walk to the renowned Sydney R. Marovitz Golf Course and various tennis courts that neighbor Optima Lakeview and are all open to the public.

The opening of Optima Lakeview is fast approaching and we look forward to sharing more about this state-of-the-art development as it becomes part of the Lakeview community!

 

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09.29.2021

The Health Benefits of Jogging

Jogging is a wonderfully minimalist form of exercise that requires nothing more than a free slot of time, a good pair of running shoes and open space. At Optima, it is our priority to build communities in and around accessible environments, where our residents can head out their doors to enjoy a run. There are many health benefits to the sport that might inspire you to give it a try. 

Getting Started

Jogging is not about speed, nor is it about distance — it’s about movement and a slow-and- steady-wins-the-race attitude. One of the activities’ great advantages is that it can be done both individually or within a group. A running club is a fantastic way to meet other runners, form community and stay motivated. Apps like Nike Run Club and Strava track time, distance, and offer guided runs and training programs for beginners and experienced joggers alike. Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) has branches in cities around the country and hosts groups for runners of all levels. In Chicago, RRCA is a perfect option for residents in our Optima Signature and upcoming Optima Lakeview properties, given their incredible proximity to the lakefront trails. And at Optima Kierland, a rooftop running track offers 360° views of the stunning landscape as residents jog outdoors without leaving the building.

Lifetime Health Boost

While jogging relieves pain and increases endorphins, making you happier in the moment, the long-term benefits are also significant. The stress your body endures while jogging actually improves your bone and muscle strength. It’s also excellent for cardiovascular health, improving circulation and maintaining blood pressure while controlling cholesterol and glucose levels. 

A study conducted by Stanford University found that jogging increases longevity and reduces the risk of disability and chronic illness later in life. The habit of regular jogging has been found to add 1 to 3 years to a lifespan.

Positive Mental Impact

Alongside numerous physical benefits, jogging also supports mental wellbeing and overall neurological health. Jogging releases endorphins, which are mood increasing hormones that help to alleviate stress, depression, and leave one feeling calm and rejuvenated. Jogging can also be a meditative activity that helps clear the mind. And when you take your runs outside, you’re also exposed to vitamin D and fresh air which improve overall well being.

Cognitive & Creative Enhancer

As jogging indirectly improves mood and sleep, anxiety and stress levels fall. This leads to sharper thinking and counteracts cognitive disorders like onset dementia. Jogging has also been found to create new brain cells and improve overall cognitive performance. Recent research completed by the British Journal of Sports Medicine discovered that jogging dramatically increases creativity. The more you exercise, the more creative you become. As the activity becomes a regularity, jogging can provide clarity and focus, generating a flow of creativity and new ideas.

Jogging is one of many ways to stay active; it is a wonderful way to maintain your health and get outdoors. For those who jog regularly, the health benefits expand far beyond the immediate moment and leave a lasting impact for years.

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06.01.2021

Exploring Optima Communities: Wrigley Field

One of our latest projects, Optima Lakeview, is in the midst of a neighborhood filled with interesting, iconic Chicago history. Within the Lakeview neighborhood is Wrigleyville, named after the home of the Chicago Cubs. The team itself is loved by fans near and far, but Wrigley Field is an equally fascinating piece of Chicago’s past. 

Lakeview Comes to Life

At the turn of the 20th century, the site of Wrigley Field was originally home to the Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary. At the same time, Lakeview was rapidly growing into a place for recreation and escape from the city; the once-quiet neighborhood was starting to change. The seminary sold the land, and developers started envisioning its future use. Due to leadership changes and funding, the site didn’t see real change for a little over a year.

A Stadium is Born

Around 1913, the owners of the Federal League, a minor league across six cities, secured the lease of the land. One of the owners, Charles Weeghman, commissioned a team of architects to design the stadium, which took just two months to complete. By 1914, the stadium — named Weeghman Park — was hosting its first major-league games. The park was a perfect fit for Lakeview’s changing dynamics, featuring modern design, impeccable cleanliness, top-notch food and hospitality.

The Wrigley Era

Despite the popularity of the stadium, the Federal League disbanded by 1915, but Weeghman didn’t give up. He purchased the existing Cubs franchise and moved the team to his own stadium. The Cubs played their first home game in Lakeview in 1916. Weeghman exited his management role shortly after, making way for another investor’s influence: chewing gum magnate William Wrigley. Wrigley hired the original architects to expand the existing structure to accommodate crowds and re-named the stadium to Wrigley Field. 

Over the years, the stadium saw plenty of other expansions and renovations, as did its surrounding neighborhood. Wrigley Field had such a magnetic pull that the community around it eventually became Wrigleyville. Streets, bars, restaurants and entertainment were all inspired by baseball, the Cubs and Wrigley Field. The vibrancy and excitement of Wrigleyville and the ballpark are both visible from Optima Lakeview’s Skydeck

Today, Wrigley Field is renowned as one of the oldest and most iconic Major League Baseball parks in the country. Chicago — and Lakeview — couldn’t be more proud to host the team; and we’re now thrilled to be part of the neighborhood.

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04.21.2021

The Skydeck at Optima Lakeview

With the snow and cold finally behind us in Chicago, citydwellers are finally — once again  — able to enjoy the warmer weather. But as we all know, winter will come back eventually, and for many it’s a deterrent for embracing Chicago year round. The default routine is for most people to hunker down and avoid the cold, but we had a different vision in mind for our latest project. As we were designing Optima Lakeview, we wanted the amenity spaces to actually embrace the cold. The Skydeck at Optima Lakeview will be one-of-a-kind, built for year-round use with plenty of ways to stay physically and mentally healthy, even in the dead of winter.

The Optima Lakeview Skydeck will include heated, spa-grade plunge and swimming pools, and heaters and fire pits for staying cozy, even on chilly nights. Our design process was highly inspired by ski resorts, and how one can go from hopping off the slopes to jumping into a hot tub. But instead of a remote resort, Optima Lakeview residents can experience the same sensation in Lakeview’s thriving urban neighborhood. Rest and relaxation are all possible amidst colder weather, and as we’ve covered in past blog posts, combining a gym session or workout with hydrotherapy sessions or a quick swim is a great way to stay active. 

The Skydeck at Optima Lakeview isn’t just a hub for wellness; it’s a place to connect with community, friends and loved ones as well. The space will also feature a glass-enclosed party room and grills, perfect for entertaining. The Skydeck is just one piece of Optima Lakeview’s 40,000 square feet of amenity spaces — including an indoor basketball court, golf simulator, fitness center and more — that are best experienced often and with others. 

We hope the Skydeck at Optima Lakeview will help you Find your inspiration™ to take care of yourself, whether in July or January! Stay tuned for more updates on Optima Lakeview, or learn more here.

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04.19.2021

The Health Benefits of Yoga

We enjoy creating communities with amenities to support a well-rounded, vibrant lifestyle. Many of our properties, including Optima KierlandOptima Signature, and under-construction Optima Lakeview include yoga studios as part of our impressive amenity stack. Yoga is a low-impact exercise method, as well as a mindfulness practice, that brings with it a wide-ranging array of health benefits. Here are just a few:

Improves Bodily Strength

Yoga has been demonstrated to improve strength, balance and flexibility. Going through the slow, gentle movements and deep breathing exercises increases blood flow and warms up your muscles. Holding poses helps you develop better core strength and in turn, improves your posture. And as you stretch your muscles with each pose, you also increase your range of motion and flexibility. Overall, the impact of this exercise leads to increased bodily awareness as well.

Aids in Pain Relief

Yoga has been recommended for those going through an illness, recovering from surgery of living with a chronic condition. That’s because the practice has the potential to aid in pain relief — specifically, back pain. Stretching your lower back through the various poses is believed to help relieve pain and improve flexibility overall during the healing process. And for those with arthritis: gentle yoga has shown to ease some discomfort when it comes to those tender, swollen joints. 

Boosts Energy and Mood

As a practice grounded in body-mind-spirit connection, yoga naturally has an impact on your mental health as well as your physical health. Yoga has been demonstrated to aid in stress relief, and even lead to a better night’s sleep. It also provides a boost to your overall energy and mood levels, producing better alertness and enthusiasm in its wake.

Whether you’re looking for a low-impact fitness regimen or seeking a sense of groundedness, yoga is a great and healthy option for everyone.

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04.08.2021

Indoor Basketball at Optima

As part of our commitment to creating healthy and happy communities, we’re constantly looking for inventive ways to keep our residents entertained, engaged and on the move. In all of our apartment communities, indoor basketball courts help achieve those goals. Integrated into our extensive amenity floors, indoor basketball at Optima helps residents stay healthy while having fun. 

Our properties across Illinois and Arizona house their own courts, including 7180 Optima Kierland, Optima Kierland ApartmentsOptima SignatureOptima Sonoran Village and Optima Camelview. Basketball courts will also be part of the 40,000 square feet of amenity spaces at our latest project, Optima Lakeview. Each court is designed to seamlessly flow with the Modernist design of all of our spaces. And to accommodate the interests of our residents, many courts are now being striped for pickleball use. Along with being an in-demand recreational amenity, basketball has quite a few health benefits for those interested in playing.

Although many may have played as kids, there are plenty of perks to getting into basketball as an adult. Playing basketball requires agility, strength and stamina, so it naturally builds muscular endurance and healthy bones. It also helps improve balance and coordination and like many other regular physical activities, it boosts heart health. As far as mental benefits, engaging in physical activity releases endorphins and can be a big mood booster, whether you’re playing a quick game or you’re on the court for a few hours.

Our favorite benefit of basketball might have to be the team spirit and communications needed to play the game. We hope that all of our amenity spaces — our indoor courts included — make space for camaraderie and community, especially during a time when many are craving them. From new novices to life-long players, indoor basketball at Optima provides a welcomed escape to relax, play and stay active for our residents.

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04.03.2021

The Benefits of Retail Space in Mixed-Use Buildings

Our latest development to break ground, Optima Lakeview, is a mixed-use building that’s bringing in-demand and exciting retail space to the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. Combining residential and retail into one building (earning the name “mixed-use”) is a time-old way to reap benefits for both residents and businesses alike. So what exactly are those benefits? 

Understanding Mixed-Use Buildings

For starters, let’s define what a mixed-use building is. A mixed-use building (MXD) is a building with three or more significantly-sized, revenue-producing businesses, whether those businesses are offices, retail stores, restaurants or other hospitality locales. The purpose of MXDs is to maximize the efficiency and value of a limited space, especially in urban areas, where space is in high demand. 

In addition to the underway Optima Lakeview, many other Optima projects are also mixed-use buildings. Optima Signature, our luxury condo community in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood, features retail tenants such as Bedazzled Nail Salon, GoodVets Veterinarian Office, Egg Harbor Cafe, Guidepost Montessori School, Runaway Fitness and an interior connection to the Whole Foods nextdoor. 

Benefits of Retail Space 

Introducing mixed-use buildings into a neighborhood means retail space is closer than ever to residential. For residents, this translates into a more pedestrian-friendly experience: their needs are accessible and within walking distance. For the environment, increased walkability also means less pollution from transportation. And for business-owners, their storefronts gain increased exposure as people stroll by, leading to increased sales and success. Overall, mixed-use buildings lead to a stronger sense of community and better quality of life for both residents and businesses. 

At Optima, we make the most of our retail space by thoughtfully hand-selecting each business. Retail space in our residential buildings is yet another amenity that serves to enhance the lives not just of our own residents, but of the surrounding community, too.

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02.22.2021

The Lakeview Creative Community

One of the many reasons we love Lakeview — one of our newest Optima communities with the construction of Optima Lakeview — is its thriving, engaging art scene. From giant murals to local programs, there’s something for everyone in the Lakeview creative community.

Year Round by Mauricio Ramirez at 3406 N. Ashland Ave. Photo courtesy of Lakeview Chamber of Commerce

Public Art

Like many other Chicago neighborhoods, Lakeview’s streets are adorned with eclectic and energized murals and public art. Each piece has its own unique personality, many designed and executed by local artists. Guided by the 2011 Lakeview Area Master Plan, the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, Special Service Area (SSA) 27 and Friends of Lakeview championed the installations to reflect the spirit of Lakeview and brighten up pedestrian routes. Contributing artists include JC Rivera, Louise “Ouizi” Jones, Lauren Asta, Antonio Beniquez, Anthony Lewellen, Mauricio Ramirez, Chad Kouri and more. We love how the colorful artwork creates such a vibrant, welcoming feel to the neighborhood.

Lakeview East Festival of the Arts

In a typical year, you can find art from more than 150 artists at this annual event and Lakeview tradition. The summer festival also features music performances and fare from local restaurants. In 2020, the festival was moved online and turned into a virtual showcase, which you can still check out. It’s a great way to discover your next favorite local artist and business owner.

Art Classes

If you’re feeling inspired to pick up a new hobby, Lakeview has plenty of ways to learn how to expand your own creativity. Park West Ceramics offers classes and workshops for those who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. For little artists, Kidcreate Studio offers classes, camps and art-themed parties for ages 18 months to 12 years. And for a fun night out (or in), Bottle & Bottega offers a classic sip-and-paint class, with at-home kits and virtual options. 

Whether you’re an admirer of the arts or a budding artist, Lakeview is a unique contributor to Chicago’s expensive network of artists, photographers, sculptors and creative visionaries. 

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01.27.2021

The History of Transit-Oriented Developments

Our latest underway project, Optima Lakeview, is a transit-oriented development in the vibrant Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. Unless you’re familiar with the world of urban planning, the term transit-oriented development may be unfamiliar to you. When it comes to city design, transit-oriented development is a type of urban development that maximizes the amount of residential, business and leisure space within walking distance of public transport, including buses, trains or subways. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the history of transit-oriented developments within the United States, and how they’ve impacted cities across the country.

A Brief History

Although the concept of transit-oriented development (or TOD) wasn’t officially named until the 1990s, the pieces existed long before. After WWII, the mass production of automobiles allowed more people to move to the suburbs, and also created highly congested cities and roads. City planners and officials called for mass-transit use in urban areas, and federal funding was allocated to cities in need of new systems. New hubs of public transit were followed by housing and businesses, which helped create concentrated communities that benefited from the walkability. As urban planning grew and expanded as a practice, the term transit-oriented development was coined, and many cities and industry professionals have since spent time, resources and research to pinpoint how TODs lead to vibrant communities. 

The Impact of Transit-Oriented Developments

As an initial response to the increase in vehicles going in and out of cities, TODs have successfully reduced congestion in cities, and reaped the environmental benefits. With more commuters and residents taking trains, TODs create a sustainable alternative to getting around. Less cars create a walkable, pedestrian-friendly environment, creating options for healthier lifestyles. And with more foot traffic, local businesses have a greater chance of thriving. 

Residential buildings play a huge part in creating transit-oriented communities. As a transit-oriented development, Optima Lakeview combines residential, commercial retail and leisure space, all within walking distance of an abundance of public transportation options. We’re thrilled to be part of the Lakeview community and to create a place where our residents can live, work and play. 

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01.25.2021

The Health Benefits of Swimming

We enjoy creating communities with amenities to support a well-rounded, vibrant lifestyle. Many of our properties, including Optima Kierland, Optima Sonoran Village, Optima Signature, and the in-development Optima Lakeview include swimming pools as part of our impressive amenity stack. Spending time swimming is the perfect leisurely activity as well as a great fitness option with a wide-ranging array of health benefits. Here are just a few:

Full Body Workout

Water is 800 times more dense than air, and spending 30 minutes in a pool is actually worth the equivalent of 45 minutes doing a similar workout on land. Because of this, swimming is an intensive form of fitness that works your entire body. The activity, which engages arms, legs and core all at once, has a head-to-toe impact that leads to muscle toning, endurance building and strength building. 

Lifetime Health Boost

In addition to the external impact, swimming does great things for your internal and overall health. It improves the cardiovascular system, leading to a stronger heart, lungs and circulatory system. This also helps guard against heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, as well as helping to control blood pressure and blood sugar.

Great For Injuries

Because swimming is such a low-impact sport, it’s the perfect fitness option for those experiencing arthritis, injuries or disabilities. While water provides enough resistance against muscles for an effective workout, your buoyancy provides support you won’t find on land. Experts even say that swimming can help reduce pain and improve recovery from injuries.

Positive Mental Impact

Research shows that those who swim regularly experience better sleep at night. In addition to being a restful activity, swimming also serves to boost your mood. By exercising, your body is releasing endorphins and increasing your metabolic rate, which leads to both improved mood levels and improved energy levels. 

Whether you’re looking for a regular fitness regimen, recovering for an injury or even looking for a pregnancy-safe workout routine, swimming is a great and healthy option for everyone.

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01.19.2021

Optima Lakeview in the News

Since announcing our plans for Optima Lakeview in 2020, the new development has been surrounded by media buzz. We’re excited to be a part of the Lakeview community and are thrilled to see those in our community are equally as excited, too. Here’s what they’ve had to say so far:

Announcing Optima Lakeview

When the development was first announced, publications such as REJournalsRE Business OnlineConnect MediaMulti-Housing News and hyperlocal publication Block Club Chicago all chimed in to share in the good news. REJournals discussed Optima Lakeview’s competitive marketplace edge, saying: 

“Optima paid special attention to work-from-home needs, designing floor plans with an average of 1,053 square feet, significantly larger than what’s currently available in the market, to accommodate dedicated space for a home office. In addition, Optima Lakeview features two conference spaces and a business center, as well as several indoor and outdoor seating areas and multiple technology providers from which residents can choose.”

Construction Begins

When construction began in mid-October, BisNow was on the scene, reporting the groundbreaking news. They interviewed Optima Co-Founder and CEO David Hovey Sr., to get the scoop on how the building will contribute to the existing community. Hovey shared with BisNow:

“With Optima Lakeview, we’ve incorporated design cues from the surrounding area’s architecture while still staying true to the modern design aesthetic Optima is known for, resulting in a forward-looking building grounded in Chicago sensibility. Both inside and out, Optima Lakeview is very much about drawing people in and helping them stay connected — either with the surrounding community or within the building itself.”

Doubling Down on Retail

Despite the challenges of 2020 and COVID-19, we remained firm in our approach to retail space at Optima Lakeview. BisNow touched base with our team to discuss the plan for Optima Lakeview’s 14K SF of retail space and Optima Vice President Mark Segal shared our optimism that brick-and-mortar retail remains stronger than ever. Read the full feature here.

Stay tuned for more updates and media coverage as we continue progress on Optima Lakeview!

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12.30.2020

2020: A Year in Review

As 2020 comes to a close, we’re taking this moment to reflect and look back on all that’s happened through this unexpected, unprecedented year. From our team, to our projects to Optima as a whole, we’ve learned, grown and thrived. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Projects and Properties

This was a big year of growth for us with many exciting projects. In Arizona, we launched the lease-up of the new 7140 tower at Optima Kierland Apartments, the second apartment tower within the Optima Kierland development. Also within Optima Kierland, 7180 Optima Kierland surpassed its 85% sold milestone.

And in Chicago, our portfolio expanded with the groundbreaking of Optima Lakeview and the approval of Optima Wilmette, two projects we look forward to making future strides with in the coming year. 

Awards

We were honored to win thirteen awards this year. Our architecture and design were acknowledged with the AIA Chicago Design Excellence Awards for Distinguished Building (Whale Bay House) and the Outstanding Property Award London for Winner in Architectural Design four times over (Whale Bay House, Arizona Courtyard House, 7180 Optima Kierland and Optima Sonoran Village).

Our property management team was recognized with the Best Community & Management Team Tribute Award by the Arizona Multihousing Association.

Meanwhile, our corporate culture was acknowledged with the award for Crain’s Chicago Business Best Places to Work 2020, and AZCentral Top Companies 2020.

To see the full 2020 lineup, visit our awards page.  

Culture

Throughout the year, we rallied to keep our culture thriving and to ensure our team stayed more connected than ever. We launched our Be Well | Work Well initiative, made up of the Be Well | Work Well Newsletter and new Wellness page within our company intranet , focused on keeping our team well: mentally, emotionally, socially and physically.

We created a new normal and found ways to have fun together, even while apart, through virtual trivia, virtual happy hours supplying cocktail kits and our dueling pianos virtual holiday party. We brought families into the fun, too, with our innovative “Optima Community Garden,” sending seed packages for team members to plant in their home gardens, and with our pumpkin carving contests, sending supplies and holding voting to determine a winner. 

We can’t thank our leadership, team members and communities enough for rising to the occasion and making this year special. Going into 2021, we’re excited to continue innovating, growing and achieving together.

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12.23.2020

Giving Back: Lakeview Pantry

This holiday season, Optima is giving back to our community through a food drive for Lakeview Pantry. We’re excited to engage with a neighborhood institution near and dear to the Lakeview community and to play our role in their mission to end hunger in Chicago.

Lakeview Pantry celebrated their 50th anniversary this year, having been in operation since 1970. A small and dedicated group of neighbors began the initiative as The People’s Pantry of Lakeview, serving nearly 100 people in their first year. Since then, the pantry has grown to a team of 30 staff and 5,000 volunteers, providing nearly 4 million meals to 100,000 individuals in 2020. Lakeview Pantry has also adapted their services to meet the needs of the community, incorporating Online Market orders and community pop-ups alongside critical social services such as mental health counseling, job search support and crisis intervention.

From Thanksgiving to Christmas, our office is doing its part to collect food donations in-office which will be dropped off at the pantry. It’s important to us to contribute to local causes, especially around the holiday season, when everybody deserves a full belly and a full heart. Last year, we collected food for Deerfield Pantry alongside pet food for Meals on Wheels in Northeastern Illinois. 

As we continue progress on Optima Lakeview, we look forward to discovering more ways to give back to our new community in the future. 

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11.30.2020

Neighborhood Spotlight: Lakeview

We began the Optima story with our roots in Chicago, and we’re thrilled that our next exciting chapter is expanding our portfolio to include our latest project, Optima Lakeview. Like many others who call the neighborhood home, we were drawn to the community’s vibrancy, history and diversity. Today, we’re sharing just a few reasons why we love Lakeview.

A Place to Play

In the early 1900s, Lakeview was actually considered a suburb of Chicago and acted as an escape from the bustle of the city. Its shopping and recreational scene attracted visitors back then, just as it attracts residents and visitors now. Whether it’s catching a game at Wrigley Field or enjoying a Chicago summer at the lakefront, the neighborhood is famous for its leisurely attitude and playful spirit. In a typical, non-pandemic year, expect summer street festivals, performances in the Belmont Theater District and the festive Lakeview Holiday Stroll; but despite COVID-19, the area still retains its charm and liveliness.  

Fantastic Food & Culinary Fare

No matter what you’re craving, Lakeview has a little bit of everything. Strings Ramen shop has some of the best noodles in the neighborhood, and the city. Ella Elli is known for its ambiance and curated cocktail list. The Chicago Diner offers an impressive take on vegan food (we promise you’ll love it even if you’re not vegan). If you need a few more ideas, The Infatuation has you covered. 

Something For Everyone

Lakeview itself encompasses many different sub-neighborhoods, including Sheridan Station Corridor, Northalsted, Southport Corridor, Lakeview East, Lakeview West, Wrigleyville and Northalsted. Residents range from young professionals to families who have been loyal to the neighborhood for generations, and with good reason. The neighborhood is a favorite of long-term residents and new transplants alike, even earning a top spot in Money Magazine’s Best Big Cities

We’ve already broken ground on Optima Lakeview, and we can’t wait for what’s to come as we become a part of the communi

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Inspired design, concierge service, and sophisticated residences — at Optima Lakeview, you’ll experience an elevated lifestyle in one of Chicago’s most iconic destinations. Start your journey home by contacting the leasing gallery to schedule your private tour.

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