Bluff’s Edge is a handsome Georgian mansion built in 1928 on four acres above the south end of Lake Forest’s town beach. In 1892, the grounds were the scene of what is believed to be the first golf game played in Chicago, which led to the founding of the Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, the oldest 18-hole golf club in North America. The property also has ties to families and architects who played prominent roles in Chicago and Lake Forest history.
The mansion has stood empty for more than a year. Its last residents, William and Brenda Lederer, paid $6.9 million for the estate in July 2000, the year after William Lederer, an investor, sold the e-commerce site Art.com for $115 million. The couple first put the estate on the market in 2006 with Baird & Warner’s Mona Hellinga; originally marketed at $9.995 million, the house had its price drop by steps through October 2007, when it was listed at $6.995 million.
In July 2009, according to the Lake County Recorder of Deeds, American Chartered Bank started foreclosure proceedings against the Lederers. The house is currently listed at $6.495 million with Jean Anderson of Koenig & Strey GMAC. (Anderson says that the house is now owned by Scherston Real Estate Investments, but she would not divulge any more details about the company or its ownership.) “[The house] was priced too high in the good market,” Anderson says. “Now it’s priced right, but even the rich guys are being careful about buying. The highest price we’ve seen sell in Lake Forest this year is $5.2 million.” (Deal Estate broke the news about that sale, to the widow of filmmaker John Hughes, two weeks ago.)
I could not reach the Lederers for comment. In August, Crain’s Chicago Business reported that William Lederer was working in New York and that the IRS had filed liens against him seeking $12.4 million in back taxes. Now check out the photo tour to learn more about the design and the history of today’s house.