From One Highland Park Estate to Another
List Price: $3.25 million
Sale Price: $2.65 million
The Property: Three years ago, Jim and Wendy Abrams bought and began renovations on the 17.5-acre Highland Park estate that the United States had seized from the jailed insurance executive Mickey Segal. Now the couple has sold their former residence, a 14-room home on an acre-plus of land that nearly abuts their new estate.
The couple had listed the house for sale in the late spring, presumably because renovations are complete on the Howard Van Doren Shaw–designed mansion on the onetime Segal estate. Amy Dowell, one of their listing agents, would not discuss the couple’s situation, and Wendy Abrams did not respond to a request for comment. The property went under contract in about 65 days, Dowell says, and the deal closed September 2nd.
Built in 1939, the house is a brick Georgian with lots of shutters and a large southern wing that ends in a double-level porch. It has five bedrooms, five-plus baths, a two-story family room, and a very large kitchen with a barrel-vaulted ceiling. Photos that accompanied the listing showed several elegant rooms with vaulted ceilings, curving staircases, and extensive wood paneling, ceiling beams, and moldings. The kitchen was renovated within the last ten years, Dowell says. Formal gardens lie in front of the house, and a vast lawn and tall trees surround it on the other sides. The house retains beach rights to Lake Michigan, with access through a gate at the end of the street.
Jim Abrams is the chief operating officer of Medline, a Mundelein medical products company that was founded by Wendy Abrams’s great-grandfather a century ago. Wendy Abrams is a prominent environmentalist who spearheaded the summer 2008 Cool Globes installation in downtown Chicago. Her brother Andy Mills is Medline’s president and lives in another lakefront Highland Park mansion about two miles north. Medline was the owner of the Michael Reese Hospital campus on the near South Side, which the City of Chicago agreed to buy for $85 million in 2008 as a potential site for a 2016 Olympic Village. After Chicago’s Olympics bid failed, City Hall announced that a mixed-income community will be built on the site. Chicago’s first payment on the Michael Reese site does not come due until October 2014.
Price Points: According to the Lake County Recorder of Deeds, Jim and Wendy Abrams bought the house for $1.575 million in August 1998. I cannot determine how much they might have spent on their extensive renovations.