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The Year’s Highest Sales

In metropolitan Chicago this past year, 2,146 homes sold for $1 million or more. And the priciest place, at $13.25 million, was—a onetime coach house?

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 Photos: Chris Guillen

Sale Price: $4.5 million

At first glance, it might seem that the local real-estate market had finally gone mad. Late last year, a developer paid more than $13 million for what likely was once a coach house. Since being built in 1882, the structure has grown-today it is a charming 18-room edifice that mimics a Cotswold cottage-but it remains, nonetheless, a former coach house with an astronomical sale price. But take a closer look at the lot (a little more than seven acres) and its location (on Lake Michigan in Lake Forest) and suddenly the whole matter appears quite sane-and terribly savvy.


Sale price: $7.25 million

This past December, Rocco DeFilippis of Legacy Custom Homes bought the subdivided property for $13.25 million and listed the onetime coach house-probably built as an adjunct of a lakefront mansion torn down in the 1970s-for $6.195 million. He now plans to build two new houses on the remaining two lots, one priced at about $8.5 million and the other, which will occupy more than three and a half acres on Lake Michigan, slated to go for at least $12.5 million.

DeFilippis’s acquisition topped Chicago’s annual list of the area’s most expensive house and condo sales. According to a midsummer tally by the Chicago Association of Realtors, 2,146 homes in the six-county metropolitan region were sold for $1 million or more between July 1, 2004, and June 30, 2005; in last year’s survey, there were 1,558 million-dollar-plus sales. (Some privately conducted transactions may not be included in those counts.)


Lake Forest
Sale price: $13.25 million

Chicago’s Near North Side had the largest concentration: 398. Lincoln Park was next with 186, followed by Hinsdale (161), Lake Forest (127), and Lake View (116). The top city sale was the $6.2 million paid in December for the late Gene Siskel’s 8,000-square-foot co-op apartment in Lincoln Park.

After the Lake Forest coach house, the following house sales were the area’s top residential transactions for the year ending June 30th:


  • In August 2004, Ron Garriques, president of Motorola’s Mobile Devices business, paid $9.5 million for another house on Lake Forest’s lakefront-a lavish 92-year-old residence designed by Howard Van Doren Shaw.
  • Roger Deromedi, the CEO of Kraft Foods, spent $8.2 million in September 2004 for a 22-room Lake Forest mansion built in 1911 that was once home to a president of the Chicago Board of Trade.
  • A 79-year-old stone house on a brick-paved street in Wilmette was bought for $7.25 million last October by Cary Kochman, the co-head of Chicago investment banking for UBS; the 17-room house also has a boathouse on Lake Michigan.
  • In November, John Kallergis, a co-owner of a Bannockburn company that has more than 100 Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants, paid $6.4 million for a white stucco house on slightly more than two densely wooded acres in Lake Forest.


The top five sales were in Lake and Cook counties. In the metropolitan area’s other four counties, the top sales for the year were as follows:


  • In DuPage County, a new 18-room house in Hinsdale sold for $4.5 million in March.
  • In Will County, a 17-room Naperville house that was built in 2002 went for $2.85 million in April.
  • In Kane County this past June, $2.6 million landed a 45-acre farm with a nine-room house near Sugar Grove.
  • In McHenry County, a 126-acre estate near Harvard with an 8,000-square-foot house sold for $2.4 million in March.


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