A Lake View Developer Capitalizes on a Sagging Market

List Price: $2.99 million
Sale Price: $2.7 million
The Property: This new English-accented home in Lake View’s esteemed Blaine School district is the first project sold by a developer who came into the struggling residential real-estate market with a strategy of capitalizing on sagging prices…

An English-accented Lake View home

List Price: $2.99 million
Sale Price: $2.7 million
The Property: This new English-accented home in Lake View’s esteemed Blaine School district is the first project sold by a developer who came into the struggling residential real-estate market with a strategy of capitalizing on sagging prices.

Andrew Bowyer’s company, Middlefork Capital, bought the lot (and the older home that stood on it) in September 2008 for $860,000—a 28 percent discount from the sellers’ 2007 asking price of $1.2 million. That savings and the advantage he gained from the reduced prices for labor and materials added up to more than $400,000. “That allows you on the back end to sell at a much more favorable price,” Bowyer says.

The architect Gary Beyerl of Burns + Beyerl designed a brick and stone exterior that complemented the neighborhood’s other homes. The sophisticated touches for the interior include barrel-vaulted ceilings in the dining room and master bedroom and a skylit staircase with a seemingly continuous handrail running up three stories. Toward the rear of the house, a glassed-in breezeway between the garage and the family room creates a partially surrounded terrace, complete with a large outdoor fireplace whose smooth limestone mantel is set into the garage wall.

The 15-room house has seven bedrooms, four full and three partial baths, and a three-car garage. It stands on a 32-foot-wide lot (compared to the city norm of 25) a few blocks from the great shopping and dining—as well as the Music Box Theatre—on Southport Avenue. The house was sold in early December; according to Elizabeth Ballis, Bowyer’s agent, it fetched the highest sale price in Lake View for 2010. In mid-January, the Cook County Recorder of Deeds reported that the buyer was a trust and did not identify anybody by name. Bowyer and his Ballis declined to name the buyers.

“A lot of people have asked me if it was really a smart idea, building luxury houses when the market was down,” says Bowyer, who was formerly in a consulting business, “but it was such a logical decision for me. You can get [property for] prices that you pass on to the customer later.”

Price Points: Bowyer now has two more homes nearing completion within a block of this home; he does not yet know what he will ask for them. In April 2010 he bought the property two doors up from today’s home for $399,000 after it had been foreclosed, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. A block east, he bought another site for $518,000 when the owner was facing foreclosure but had not yet lost the property. A new home by a different builder on that same block started 2010 priced at $2.25 million; after three price cuts, it’s now going for $1.999 million.

Listing Agent: Elizabeth Ballis of Coldwell Banker; 312-867-8122 or Elizabeth@elizabethballis.com.

Update: Bowyer has settled on the prices for those two new homes. He has priced the house on the same block as today’s featured home at $2.599 million; the other house, with about 500 fewer square feet, will go for $2.399 million.



3 years ago
Posted by Timothy L.

Attributing the "design" of this home to Mr. Beyerl is not an accurate statement. Mr. Beyerl essentially copied the exterior of an existing copyright protected design by Timothy LeVaughn of LeVaughn and Associates Architects, of a custom home designed in 2002 located at 2036 North Kenmore, in Lincoln Park. A side by side comparison of photos of the the two homes speaks volumes. One of the reasons a developer like Mr. Bowyer can afford to sell a custom home cheaper might well be because he doesn't have to pay full price to his Architects to create original work, and the expenses that go with it.

3 years ago
Posted by Suzie Queue

At a time when bright spots are particularly welcome, this is a great story and the home is a wonderful addition to the Lakeview neighborhood!

3 years ago
Posted by cincy realtor

As a real estate agent in Cincinnati I think this is a lovely home and is an improvement to the industry and the neighborhood.
It is an all and all WIN! Congratulations!

3 years ago
Posted by mvscavo

This article is a piece of great news for our Lakeveiw neighborhood. I live just North of Mr. Bowyer's developments in the Blaine School District and I have watched this house and the two others be developed. Having met his GC and walked through the house several times, I can say that Mr. Bowyer's development was done professionally, timely and with the highest quality. I am glad Mr. Bowyer is having success with his business plan since he is positively impacting our community.

3 years ago
Posted by anc

As a Lakeview homeowner, I appreciate the quality of this development and the elegance of the architecture. It is a brilliant asset to the neighborhood. Excited to see his other homes completed.

3 years ago
Posted by Chicago Realtor

I love to see creative business models enter the real estate market, even in a downward trend and make a successful go at it. I applaud Middlefork Capital for their proactive approach to improving the real estate market and neighborhood. Thank you for publishing a positive real estate story.

3 years ago
Posted by awarren

This is exciting news for the Lakeview neighborhood. As a homeowner in Lakeview, it is refreshing to see new developments in the area like this one. Congrats to Mr. Bowyer for coming up with a successful business plan! I am excited to see the finished product of the next two homes.

3 years ago
Posted by fmolly

Dennis, thank you for showcasing a successful developer in the Lakeview neighborhood. We should all applaud Middlefork Capital for creating beautiful, high-quality homes in our community that families may enjoy for years to come.

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