How does that old adage go? The best-laid plans of mice and men? Bridget and Bob Tolpa thought they had a great retirement plan in place. They owned a townhouse in Elmhurst and knew that when they retired they would sell it and move permanently to a home they had built in South Haven, Mich.
But when it came time for Bridget to retire from McDonald's Corporation last year, the state of the real estate market had them concerned. They were worried about how long it would take to sell the townhouse so they quickly listed it even though Bob will not be retiring from the EPA until January.
Much to their surprise, the Tolpas received an offer on the townhouse on the first day that it was listed in mid-April and the closing was set for late May.
"We only had 45 days to find a place to live during the seven-month gap between closing on the townhouse and Bob's retirement. We realized that it was a nice problem to have," Bridget admitted, "but it was still a challenge."
Years ago they had briefly lived downtown in temporary corporate housing and had really enjoyed living in the city. So they decided to rent an apartment in the city and have an entire summer downtown.
The couple began looking for an apartment on their own, but they had no luck finding something that met their needs due to the short-term lease they needed and the competitive nature of the downtown rental market.
"It was frustrating," Bridget admitted.
Eventually, while surfing the Internet, Bob happened upon Tricap Preferred, an apartment locator service specializing in luxury apartments in downtown Chicago's most popular neighborhoods.
Amy Pritchard, Tricap's director of leasing, worked with the couple to prioritize what they wanted in an apartment. Location was top of their list. Bob wanted to be able to walk to the office and the couple also wanted to be near museums, Millennium Park, theaters and dining. The lakefront was another draw.
Amy worked with Bridget and Bob to review listings and tour the ones that matched their criteria. Ultimately, Amy found them a two-bedroom, two-bath furnished condominium rental at 5 N. Wabash on Jeweler's Row.
"I truly don't think that we would have found a place so great without Amy," Bridget admitted. "She came back with a list of 10 places for me to look at. I was really impressed with her sense of urgency on our behalf and by the way she was able to turn our wish list into tangible places. We ended up with our first choice but there were several others that would have also been fine. We will be living only one block off Michigan Avenue and five blocks from Bob's office."