Foreclosure on the 59th Floor

List Price: $1.310 million
Sale Price: $1.150 million
The Property: Not Chicago’s highest-priced foreclosure, but its highest off the ground, this penthouse on the 59th and 60th floors of Millennium Centre (at 33 West Ontario Street) tops the previous high…

Millennium Centre (at 33 West Ontario Street)

List Price: $1.310 million
Sale Price: $1.150 million
The Property: Not Chicago’s highest-priced foreclosure, but its highest off the ground, this penthouse on the 59th and 60th floors of Millennium Centre (at 33 West Ontario Street) tops the previous high—a five-room condo on the 50th floor of the Park Tower that was foreclosed last year. Prior to its most recent sale, which closed May 21st, today’s condo was part of a block of homes in Millennium Centre that the U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald alleged last June were caught up in a $17.2-million mortgage-fraud scheme.

One of four penthouses at the top of the building, the eight-room, 3,700-square-foot condo “is a pretty spectacular space,” says Arthur Cirignani, the Chicago Realty Partners agent who sold the condo this month for American Mortgage Servicing. Equipped with a marble master bath and a granite, wood, and stainless-steel kitchen, the unit has a 650-square-foot terrace on its upper level that faces north and west. In order to move in, the buyers, who are not yet named in public records of the sale, will only need to do some cosmetic work, said their agent, Brent Stack of @Properties. That’s evident in some video he shot of the place while his clients were waiting to close the deal.

“The key component to this transaction was patience,” Stack said, because of the slow response of the bank—not uncommon with homes involved in foreclosure—to “our numerous offers.” His clients, Stack reported in an e-mail, “were not in a hurry to purchase a new home but rather looking for a great value.” A specialist in distressed properties, he had watched the asking price for this penthouse drop from $1.8 million to $1.31 million in a series of price cuts over the past year. When it got into the price range his clients wanted, Stack said, “we decided to move quickly.”

Price Points: According to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, Margarita Garcia paid Mhde Askar $2,999,950 for the penthouse and two parking spaces in September 2006; on the same day as that transaction, Askar had bought the property from the developer for $2.1 million. By March 2007, the lender, American Mortgage Servicing, had started foreclosure proceedings on the condo, and in February 2008, both Garcia and Askar were among ten people indicted for mortgage fraud by the U.S. attorney. (According to the U.S. attorney’s office, the case is still pending.) Given all that, it’s hard to establish how accurately those September 2006 sale prices represent the condo’s true value.

Millennium Centre has had several other units go into foreclosure. One of those units is currently on the market for $259,900, while another was recently sold for $364,900.

Listing Agent: Arthur Cirignani of Chicago Realty Partners; 312-575-0100 or arc@chgorealty.com

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