List Price: $1,450,000
Sale Price: $1,325,000
The Property: William Wood Prince, the Chicago philanthropist and executive whose family once controlled the Union Stockyards and the Armour & Co. meat empire, has sold a 19th-century rowhouse in Chicago’s Old Town that he had owned for two decades.
The tall red-brick rowhouse, built in 1886, has classic good looks: a half-hexagon bay rimmed with high, limestone-capped windows stretches up to an overhanging cornice. Inside, the dining room, kitchen, and family room are on the ground floor (where the servants’ workspaces would have originally been), and there is a 450-square-foot living room on the second floor (where the raised front door is). The master suite is on the third floor, and there are three more bedrooms above that.
The house was on the market for almost 16 months, starting out with a different agent and price. In November 2007, Melissa McNally of Sudler Sotheby’s listed the house with an asking price of $1,650,000. The price later dropped to $1,450,000, and in mid-January a buyer surfaced. (The buyer is not yet identified in public records.) The sale closed February 13th.
William Wood Prince is the chairman of the board of F. H. Prince & Co. and the head of the Prince Charitable Trusts. The first is a firm that handles the family’s real-estate and investment interests; the second is one of Chicago’s eminent cultural philanthropies and donates to a wide range of arts institutions.
William Wood Prince’s father, who had the same name, is remembered for having convinced his friend Marc Chagall to create the now-treasured mosaic that stands in the plaza outside the Chase Bank headquarters. That man, the first William Wood Prince, was born William Wood; he was a cousin of Frederick Prince, whose firm had control of the stockyards and Armour. Because Prince had nobody to succeed him (one son died in World War I, and the other wasn’t interested), he adopted William Wood, who took the name Wood Prince.
The present William Wood Prince bought this rowhouse in 1987, when it was 101 years old, for a price that is not recorded in the public records from that year.
Price Points: According to the listing sheet, the house was renovated in the mid-1980s. It may need updating, but neither Wood Prince nor his real-estate agent responded to a request for more information about the house. The price suggests the interior is out-of-date. According to data from the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois, two nearby homes of similar vintage—both recently renovated—sold for about $500,000 more than this one in the past year.
Listing Agent: Melissa McNally, Sudler Sotheby’s, (312) 751-1717
12 months ago