List Price: N/A
Sale Price: $1 million
The Property: In December, Lester Crown, the 84-year-old patriarch of one of Chicago’s wealthiest families, sold his interest in a secluded Winnetka mansion to his son, Steven.
In 1991, the Crowns had paid $1.275 million for the property, with Lester Crown and his wife, Renee, covering 40 percent of the cost, and Steven Crown and his wife, Nancy, paying 60 percent, according to the files of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. There was no change of title from then until December 29, 2009, when Steven paid Lester $1 million. Since Lester’s deed to the property was transferred to Steven at that time, it appears that Steven bought Lester’s 40 percent ownership stake in the house.
Built in 1925, the sprawling limestone mansion has a double-peaked center flanked by two long wings. According to the records of the Cook County Assessor, it has 9,956 square feet of living space, including six full and four partial baths. (The assessor does not list the number of bedrooms or other rooms.) The mansion stands on a 1.7-acre lot, ordinarily concealed from view by tall plantings. An extensive rehab is underway at the house, the second major round of renovations since the Crowns bought the place.
Steven Crown is a general partner in the family’s Henry Crown & Co., a private investment company named for Lester’s father. The Crowns own pieces of General Dynamics, Maytag, Hilton Hotels, Aspen Skiing Co., Rockefeller Center in New York, and the Chicago Bulls. Last September, Forbes magazine—where the Crown family has been listed among the richest 400 Americans for many years—estimated that the Crowns had lost about $1 billion in the stock market downturn of the past year.
Steven and Nancy Crown also have a home in Aspen. Steven did not respond to a request for comment.
Price Points: The $1 million that father and son exchanged does not represent the property’s value; the Cook County Assessor estimates the value of the house at $5.58 million. A knowledgeable source on Winnetka real estate, who asked not to be named because of a social relationship with the family, seconded that estimate. The house, according to that source, is worth “at least as much” as the former home of Gertrude Nielsen, which is on the same street as this house and which sold last year for $5 million.
Listing Agent: N/A