Coming Down: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Love Nest, Bill Wrigley’s Asking Price

Demolition is well underway on the Gold Coast home where Frank Lloyd Wright lived briefly with a girlfriend (and future wife) while not yet divorced from his first wife. On Tuesday, the owner of the site told me that once the old residence is razed, construction will start on a four-story home designed “to look like it’s been there 100 years, to look correct for the neighborhood…”

Frank Lloyd Wright's former home
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Demolition is well underway on the Gold Coast home where Frank Lloyd Wright lived briefly with a girlfriend (and future wife) while not yet divorced from his first wife. On Tuesday, the owner of the site told me that once the old residence is razed, construction will start on a four-story home designed “to look like it’s been there 100 years, to look correct for the neighborhood.”

James and Janice Jensen paid $1.5 million for the home at 25 East Cedar Street in January. At the time I reported that the home’s demolition was imminent and noted that, as others had reported, this property might have been damaged during the construction of a new mansion next door.

This week, James Jensen, who owns the Glendale Heights steel company Metal Master, told me that, prior to buying the site, he had engineers evaluate the house; they concluded that “the structure was not salvageable,” Jensen said. In addition, he noted that there were no known interior details intact from Wright’s stay there in parts of 1914 and 1915, and that the exterior didn’t look as it had then because of subsequent additions. “The character of the structure had been destroyed over the years,” he said. “It’s a shame the place had to be taken down, [but] the redeeming value of the property is to build a structure that is like many of the [vintage] buildings on the street.”

Jensen says that the preservationist architect and builder Dennis Burgener of McWilliams Burgener Architecture and the interior designer Jessica LaGrange are designing a four-story “period-correct” single-family residence with a limestone façade. (Burgener later told me that he was going to try to incorporate some elements of the demolished building into his design.) Jensen estimated the cost of construction would come in at $2 million to $2.5 million, in addition to the amount paid for the site.

ALSO: On Friday, Bill Wrigley cut a combined $1.5 million off the asking prices of two sections of the full floor he has been trying to sell at 65 East Goethe Street since June 2010 (the building is in the last two photos below).

Wrigley bought the 13,200-square-foot unfinished space in 2003 for $10.1 million. After trying unsuccessfully to sell the still-unfinished full floor (which includes a third condo) for $14 million, he put two parts of the floor—the north and west sections—on the market, at $5 million and $6 million respectively.

Last week, the prices dropped to $4 million for the west unit (formerly priced at $6 million) and $4.5 million for the north (down from $5 million). Combined, that’s a cut of 15 percent. “We’ve had some interest in the property, and it’s now time to try to get closer to the market with the pricing,” says Jim Kinney, the Baird & Warner’s vice president of luxury sales who’s serving as Wrigley’s agent. “We hope this adjustment will get us an offer to work on.”

Kinney suggests that the property has been slow to sell because it’s unfinished. “A lot of people who are in the market want to buy more of a turnkey place,” he says. “They don’t want to do a build out.”

The west unit has 1,500 square feet of outdoor space, but the north has none. The third (east) unit, which is not on the market, also has 1,500 feet of outdoor space, as well as views across the mansions on Lake Shore Drive to Lake Michigan. Kinney says that the third unit is not being offered because a buyer of one of the other units may want to take a chunk of it. “Somebody may want one and a half of these,” Kinney says. “It’s like a jigsaw puzzle.”

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