A Record Sale in Lake Bluff
List Price: $6.39 million
Sale Price: $5.5 million
The Property: The buyer of a secluded lakefront mansion on part of an old Armour family estate in Lake Bluff appears to have paid more for it than anyone has ever spent for a private home in that North Shore town. According to Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), the only higher price on record in Lake Bluff is the $16 million that the developer Orren Pickell paid for the 25-acre Lansdowne estate in July 2007 in order to cut it up into a subdivision of grand homes (although not a single one has sold there yet).
Other than the Pickell sale, there is nothing in MRED records, which reach back to 1980, indicating that any property in Lake Bluff has sold for more than $5 million. Even Lansdowne, a far larger piece of property that included a very big mansion, went for just $1.6 million in 1987.
The record sale closed June 15. Set on 4.68 acres of the former Lester Armour estate—once a 73-acre parcel stretching from Sheridan Road to Lake Michigan—the 16-room home was built in 1980. According to the Lake County Recorder of Deeds, Michael and Jacqueline Winn bought it in April 2002 for $3.4 million. (Michael Winn is the retired CEO of Hollister Incorporated, a Libertyville manufacturer of medical products.) I could not reach the Winns for comment.
Andra O’Neill, the Coldwell Banker agent who represented the property, declined to discuss the sellers or buyers. But she did say that the “whole house was gutted to the studs and redone and expanded [in 2003]. It’s a very beautiful property, a French country home with views of the lake from every room except one or two bedrooms. The pool is on the south side of the house with sunlight there all day, and the tableland has wooded areas [as well as an] expansive backyard. The beach is 299 feet long and all sand, not rocky.”
The property is gated, so my photo shows only the driveway. Photos accompanying the listing reveal the home’s interior, including a curving staircase and balcony in a grand foyer, lots of woodwork, and a lodge-style family room beneath a soaring ceiling. The Winns initially listed the house for sale in April 2010, with an asking price of $7.4 million; they cut the price twice in early 2011 and in April signed a contract with a buyer (not yet identified in public records). The deal closed June 15, at 74 percent of the initial asking price. O’Neill would not say how much the renovations had cost.
The next-highest price in Lake Bluff came in 1997, when the rock star Richard Marx paid $4.7 million for the house next door, a 29,000-square-foot mansion that was designed by David Adler and completed in 1931 for Lester Armour of the meatpacking family.
Price Points: Though this is Lake Bluff’s highest recorded sale price, there are estates in town that may be worth more, although they have not changed hands. They include Crab Tree Farm, the estate of John Bryan (the former Sara Lee CEO) and a controversial Shore Acres mansion formerly priced at $10.9 million but now listed at $7.999 million.