At Lake Forest House Sale, Less Is Less

List Price: $1.45 million
Sale Price: $1.15 million
The Property: This Lake Forest house, a dark glass pavilion done in the “less is more” style of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, sold in July 2007 for $3.8 million…

A recently sold house in Lake Forest

List Price: $1.45 million
Sale Price: $1.15 million
The Property: This Lake Forest house, a dark glass pavilion done in the “less is more” style of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, sold in July 2007 for $3.8 million. Later foreclosed, it sold again on Wednesday for $1.15 million, or 30 percent of what the 2007 buyers had paid.

Those buyers were Marcin and Anna Malarz, according to the Lake County Recorder of Deeds. In February 2010, their lender, Harris Bank, filed a lis pendens—a formal notice that it was starting foreclosure—against the homeowners. In December 2011, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Marcin Malarz and two other people with conducting a $14.3 million Ponzi scheme between 2006 and 2009. The SEC alleged that Malarz—who, according to Crain’s Chicago Business, has left the country—used some of the funds to support “an extravagant lifestyle.”

The 5,800-square-foot home was built on just under two acres in 1969 for Charles “Cork” Walgreen III, a grandson of the drugstore chain’s founder. Only one other property stands between it and a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan; this house has rights to the private beach below. The one-story residence has six bedrooms, six baths, three fireplaces and, according to the listing, another 5,800 feet of unfinished space in the basement.

The wrought-iron front gate is decrepit, but I don’t know the state of the home’s interior. The listing sheet said that the property was “distressed . . . [and] needs work.” Jadranka Signoretto, the agent who sold the house, told me that her client prohibited her from making any comment on it. The Lake County Recorder of Deeds has no document showing when Harris Bank took back the deed to the house, but Signoretto’s listing referred to the property as bank-owned.

Price Points: In early 2011, the house was listed at $4.999 million; if sold at that price, it would have brought in a 31 percent profit over its 2007 sale price. The home remained unsold when Harris Bank listed it with Signoretto on April 20, 2012; it was under contract 13 days later. The sale closed May 30, to buyers who are not yet identified in public records. Because Signoretto would not discuss the home, I can’t estimate the cost of any needed repairs or updates.

Listing Agent: Jadranka Signoretto of Atlas Realty Group; 773-282-7653

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