List Price: $1.65 million
Sale Price: $1.525 million
The Property: Because trees obscure most of its front, you can’t see much of the façade of this Kenwood Victorian. But if you’ve watched Boss, the Starz TV series featuring Kelsey Grammer as the fictitious Chicago mayor Tom Kane, you have seen a fair amount of the home’s interior. Last year and again this spring, it has been used as Kane’s residence on the show, as well as for some other residential sets. (A different property stands in for the exterior of the Kane home.)
The 12-room, 119-year-old house, which had been on the market for two years, was sold on May 3. Along with the deed, the sellers transferred the home’s TV contract to the buyers. It lasts into July, when shooting for the show’s next season wraps up.
Delaying their move into the home by a few months is OK with the new owners, Allison Thomas and her husband, Michael Schatz. Some of their children attend the Lab School at the nearby University of Chicago, and the family, which is moving from Lincoln Park, wanted to be in a new home closer to the school by the start of the next school year. A July move-in works. “While they’re inside, we can get some work done anyway,” Thomas says. “We’re repainting the exterior.”
Neither Thomas nor the sellers’ agent, Robert Sullivan of Urban Search, would reveal how much the TV show is paying to use the home, but they both say that the sellers and the buyers will share this year’s take. “It’s been a pretty good deal for everybody,” Sullivan says.
The sellers, identified by the Cook County Recorder of Deeds as Eric Pelander and Evalyn Gates, first listed the house for sale in Mach 2010 (with a different agent). Sullivan says they had moved out of the house in the spring of 2011 when the show’s production company asked about shooting there for a few months. The company had planned to duplicate the home’s interiors on a soundstage for this season’s shoots, Sullivan says, but when the home remained unsold, producers asked about using it again instead.
At the home’s listing, you can get a better look at the home’s exterior and see the interior as the sellers—not the production company—had it decorated. The house has three fireplaces, parquet flooring, a modern kitchen, and lots of vintage woodwork. Other details have been more transitory. “Every time I come down here,” Thomas says, “[the production company has] wallpapered or painted another room to use it a different way.”
Price Points: According to county records, the sellers paid $752,500 for the home in 1997. Sullivan says that they did a complete renovation, which included all new mechanical systems, a kitchen remodel, and the addition of a family room. They first put it on the market at $2.3 million; when Sullivan took over the listing in September 2011, the price was reset at $1.9 million and later came down to $1.65 million. The final sale price is two-thirds of what the sellers were originally asking.