All Bets Off

Big loss on James Gamble Rogers–designed house


LAKE FOREST
LIST PRICE: $3.995 million
SALE PRICE: $3.05 million

In 2006, William and Carol Smith bought this 112-year-old Lake Forest residence for $4.525 million. Three years later, they have sold the place for $3.05 million—a loss of 32.5 percent—without ever having moved in.

The 17-room house stands at the end of a long, tree-lined drive on nearly two acres of lakefront land. In 1897, the architect James Gamble Rogers, who would later design buildings at Northwestern, Yale, and Columbia universities, created the house for his father-in-law, Albert N. Day, a lawyer. When the Smiths bought the house in 2006, it needed a total interior renovation, says one real-estate source in Lake Forest (who asked not to be named because of past dealings with this property). “It looks nice outside, but it’s a shell,” the source said. The Smiths never renovated the house.

At the time they bought this house, the Smiths—he is a partner in the law firm McDermott Will & Emery—had their current home on the market, a 14-room mansion built in 1916 and listed at $4.999 million. That property remains for sale. William Smith did not respond to a request for comment. Cezary and Eva Jakubowski, who bought the Rogers-designed house in April, run a Niles company that owns several suburban Shop & Save markets. They did not respond to a request for comment.

 

Send tips about high-end home sales to Dennis@Rodkin.com

Photograph: Dennis Rodkin

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