Sale of the Week-Pillar of Wicker Park

List Price: $2,500,000
Sale Price: $2,466,700

The Property: Once one of Wicker Park’s grandest mansions, this enormous Second Empire-style home from 1879 was divided into apartments early in the 20th Century and stayed that way until now. A buyer, not yet identified by the seller or public records, made a $2.46 million deal with seller Mike Conover on July 13, less than five weeks after he put it on the market.

The buyer will undertake a massive conversion back into a single-family home according to Conover’s agents, Rubloff’s Jane Shawkey and Anne Ewasko. The house is a local landmark and favorite, thanks in large part to its awesome slate mansard roof and elaborately decorative cornice that tower over one of the neighborhood’s biggest yards.

Conover bought the gigantic place for $150,000 in 1980, when it and the neighborhood were both in pretty bad shape. Wicker Park has been transformed in the years since, and Conover has done a lot to keep the house up. (He lives in one of the apartments.) He did extensive repairs to the outside, but the interior sorely needs attention. While many original details remain, decades spent housing renters has run the interior down considerably.

As is, the house has about 22 rooms; that is sure to change as the new owner knits the house back together. Presumably, restoration will also include refreshing the gorgeous inlay floors, the floral motif that prevails on the exterior, and the eight-foot windows that fill the house with light. The property encompasses four city lots, but because it’s in a historic district, the spacious side yard can’t be sold off to developers.

Price Points: While his agents would not comment on the agreed-upon sale price until the deal closes in September, they did say the buyer will re-convert the house. That could cost at least $1.8 million for the 6,000-plus square feet of space (at a going rate of about $300 a square foot). In the end, the property will have cost something like $4.2 million, putting it well above the top for the Wicker Park and Bucktown area, where the highest prices on record with the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois have so far been in the $2.5 million range.

Strange Historical Twist: Curiously, while the house is known locally as the Goldblatt Mansion, Conover says his research shows that nobody named Goldblatt ever owned it. He suspects that because the first two owners were Jewish businessmen, over time that fact somehow got conflated with the Goldblatt family of Chicago department store fame.

Buyers: Not yet identifiable, as the deal has not closed.

Listing Agents: Rubloff Residential’s Anne Ewasko, (312) 264-5857, and Jane Shawkey, (312) 368-5300

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