A Pair of Houses on Shakespeare Avenue Is Like a Real Estate Comedy of Errors

Two houses, their fates intertwined, in a story that sounds as if the bard staged a play in Chicago’s housing market.

A pair of houses on Shakespeare Avenue in Bucktown

Photo: Dennis Rodkin

List Price (house on the left): $1.499 million
Sale Price: $1.525 million

List Price (house on the right): $1.499 million
Sale Price: $1.44 million

The Properties: In Shakespeare’s plays, there are often siblings whose fates are intertwined. And on Shakespeare Avenue in Bucktown, there’s a pair of newly-built sibling houses whose story lines also wind around one another.

The curtain rises in May 2011, when builder Ronan Heaney bought a large buildable lot on Shakespeare and split it in two. Two months later, he listed for sale one of the two houses he planned to build, at a listing price of $1.725 million. It sat unsold, its price dropping, for more than a year. Then last summer, separate buyers put contracts in on it and on its then-unbuilt twin next door within about two weeks of one another.

The sales of the two now-complete houses closed on April 10 (house on the right in photo) and May 2 (left). They’re a bit like the sisters Kate and Bianca in The Taming of The Shrew, where the marriage of the older one—shrewish Kate—takes a while, but then the younger one—sweet Bianca—marries off pronto.

While the facades bear only a family resemblance, Danny Glick, the listing agent for both houses, says their interior floorplans are near look-alikes, down to the matching light wells midway back from the street that face one another to maximize the openness and light for each sibling.

Although the presence of similar-looking siblings makes for all sorts of comedic chaos in the Bard’s play Twelfth Night, Glick says these both went under contract before the “total mayhem that’s been going on in the market the past 60 days.” But they do indicate the hunger for new construction in hot neighborhoods like Bucktown, he said. While they were under contract the homes attracted dozens of calls from wanna-be buyers “because there’s so little new construction available if you drive around Bucktown, Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, Lake View.”

The side-by-side homes, then, are a little like the twin servants named Dromio in The Comedy of Errors: Everybody wanted a piece of them.

And just to keep this Shakespearean switched-identities thing going, the addresses of the two have been swapped around. The house on the west used to have the address that is now assigned to the house on the east. “It’s been a nightmare keeping the addresses straight,” Glick says.

But of course, all’s well that ends well.

Price Points: Builders are quickly picking up on the revived demand for new-construction homes, both across the country and in Chicago neigborhoods. I wrote a few weeks ago about one company’s string of new-home sales in Ukrainian Village. Last week, a new mansion in Lincoln Park sold for $4.3 million.

And in Bucktown in just the past past six months, Glick says he’s sold eight buildable lots on a former rectory site near the Shakespeare twins. Those lots had sat unsold for more than a year. “Building just wasn’t happening,” he says. Three were purchased by end-users to build their own homes on, and the other three by developers to build homes to sell. (Some buyers took a lot and a fraction, so the eight buildable lots went out as six transactions.) They went in the range of $118 a square foot to $155 a square foot, he says.

Heaney paid about $117.65 a square foot for the Shakespeare site in mid-2011.

Listing Agent: Danny Glick of @Properties , 312-671-1516, dannyglick@atproperties.com

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