Buyers Get Bargain on Barrington Hills Estate
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List Price: $8.9 million
Sale Price: $7.5 million
The Property: A Barrington Hills estate that encompasses two golf holes, a pond stocked with fish, and more than a thousand trees—not to mention a 30,000-square-foot house—sold Thursday after being on the market just shy of three years. The $7.5-million sale price was 51 percent of the $14.5 million that the sellers, Thomas and Diane Wamberg, were asking when they put the place up for sale on July 30, 2009.
In a video that Crain’s Chicago Business produced when the estate, called Hidden Ponds, was on the market, Diane Wamberg explained that she and her husband assembled the acreage from a few parcels of land. They wanted sufficient room for their seven children and their assorted leisure pursuits, including golf and fishing. (Thomas Wamberg is the chairman of the private equity firm Clark & Wamberg.)
Set amidst equestrian estates—among them, Hill ’N Dale Farm, owned by the racing impresario Richard Duchossois—the Wambergs’ estate “is in beautiful, beautiful surroundings,” says Cindie Patterson, one of two agents who sold the property. “You come in up at the north end of the 70 acres and look out over all that horse property, and then there’s this long driveway that takes you down to the house.”
Photos that accompanied a previous listing agent’s material on the house show that it was built to the scale of the land, with very large formal rooms, a full-size pub, a 6,000-square-foot basketball gym, eight bedrooms, ten bathrooms, and an elevator. The finishes include oodles of wood trim, including many beamed ceilings and parquet floors, as well as fieldstone fireplaces and large crown moldings.
Many rooms have views out to one of the two ponds, Patterson says. The larger pond is stocked with tiger muskie.
The Wambergs began developing the estate on the site of an old quarry and hunt club in 1998. With their children now grown and several of them living far from Chicago, “the plan to have this for the grandkids kind of changed,” Patterson says. Public records do not yet identify the estate’s buyers, and Patterson would only say that they are locals.
Price Points: The Wambergs bought the first parcel, undeveloped, for $1.15 million in 1998, according to public records. I could not determine what they paid for the rest of the land or how much they spent on development, which Diane Wamberg indicates in the Crain’s video was a big project. Patterson declined to estimate their total investment in the completed estate. Fourteen months after another real-estate firm listed the estate for $14.5 million, Patterson and Mimi Burke of Re/Max got the listing and priced it at $12.5 million. Their fifth price cut, to $8.9 million, came in September 2011. “When it got under $9 million, people started getting serious,” Patterson says. “They realized it was an amazing value.” She says there were about 15 showings to buyers who were qualified to pay that price. It took seven months, until March, to go under contract because “a property of that size takes a long time to do all your diligence on,” she says. The sale closed July 12. The estate’s property annual tax bill is $197,393—which would be enough to buy this three-bedroom house in Lindenhurst.
Photography: Bob Milkovich