This 1866 Mansion Sold Before its Debut Party Even Started

It’s amazing how quickly someone can make a move on a $2.125 million property.

A recently sold Gold Coast mansion

List Price: $2.25 million
Sale Price: $2.125 million
The Property: This 1866 redstone mansion on a prime Gold Coast block sold so fast, the party that was scheduled as its intro to a crowd of big-money potential buyers turned into a celebration of it getting sold.

“I wish I had ten of these [to sell],” says Elizabeth Ballis, the Coldwell Banker agent who represented the home. “Everybody loved it.”

High-end homes often host a special preview party for a hand-picked clientele who might be in the market or know somebody who is. Ballis says that the day the invitations went out for a Jan. 31 event at this home, she got a call from a fellow agent, Baird & Warner’s Laura Rubin, who said her clients had been looking on that very block and wanted to see the home. They wound up putting in a successful offer on Jan. 30; the listing wasn’t even activated until Feb. 2, and by then it was moot.

On Friday, Redfin dubbed quick-to-move houses like this ‘flash sales.’ From October through February, Chicago had the second-highest number of flash sales among the top 15 cities where Redfin looked. (But we had less than half the number that white-hot Phoenix had, and we’re twice the size of Phoenix, so flash sales are obviously a way bigger deal there.)

The handsome home with an intricately cut façade and, as seen in the listing photos, a charmingly old-timey wood staircase in the entry parlor was built in 1866 by Charles Palmer. While not directly related to the legendary Potter Palmer (my past research suggests they might have been distant cousins), Charles built several homes for Potter, including this, and these. He’s also the architect of the Berghoff.

There’s no information I could find on the early history of the home. The Cook County Recorder of Deeds files indicate that the sellers, Charles and Mary Lofgren, have owned the house since at least 1986. Charles Lofgren is a packaging executive.

The Lofgrens did some updating during their tenure in the home, including having an attractive Bulthaup kitchen installed. But Ballis says it’s too small for contemporary lifestyles and that the three full and two partial baths are all “small and vintage.” She says the buyers, who aren’t yet identified in public records, indicated they’ll update the kitchen and baths and may do more renovations than that, “but they’re not going to blow it up contemporary inside.”

Intact vintage details in the home include pocket doors, lots of wood molding and wainscoting, and three wood-burning fireplaces. Out back there’s an attached two-car garage and a large deck.

Ballis says the buyers had previously lived on the block—where everything from Oak Street Beach and Michigan Avenue shopping to Viagra Triangle partying is within a short walk–and were looking to move back when they got wind of this home being prepped to go on the market. Their offer worked for the sellers, and the deal—which ultimately closed on March 14–was done a day before the scheduled party.

And, Ballis adds, “we went ahead with the party anyway.”

Price Points: If renovated, the home would have sold “in the threes,” Ballis says. She estimates that renovations will cost about $1 million, though she heard one potential buyer estimate it higher, at $1.5million.

The Recorder’s files do not show what the Lofgrens paid for the home.

Listing Agent: Elizabeth Ballis, 312-867-8122 and Elizabeth@elizabethballis.com

Photography: (fader) courtesy of redfin

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