Kerry Wood Sells the Winnetka Mansion He Couldn’t Tear Down

The Lincoln Park resident sold an Edwin Hill Clark-designed home “as is” at a $500,000 loss.

Photo: Dennis Rodkin

List Price:  $4.2 million
Sale Price: $4.175 million
The Property: Retired Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood’s and his wife, Sarah, have sold a historical mansion on three acres in Winnetka on which a village board had stalled demolition.

The couple bought the six-bedroom mansion for $4.625 million in late 2010, when I reported that it had been in the same hands for 59 years. (At the time, records did not yet identify the buyer.)

In a hearing about demolition last spring, a representative of the Woods and Pugwynn Trust—which is named in the deed records as a co-buyer of the estate—told Winnetka’s landmarks preservation committee that the house has a cracked foundation and is “not in good shape.” He said that plans for a replacement home included incorporating the original’s fireplace and other details, but that restoration had been considered and rejected.

At the time, the preservation committee voted to delay approval of demolition on the home for 60 days—that’s its strongest power; it can’t stop demolition. The preservation committee was interested largely because of the home’s original architect, Edwin Hill Clark, an eminent North Shore architect who designed the Winnetka village hall, numerous mansions in Winnetka and Lake Forest, and Brookfield Zoo. “We were disappointed that we couldn’t do [more],” Louise Holland, the head of the committee, told me. “In Winnetka, houses by Clark are sacred.”

Holland says that with no other options, the committee eventually okayed demolition. Nevertheless, the owners’ application for demolition was withdrawn July 29, according to Mike D’Onofrio, the director of community development in Winnetka. “No reason was given,” he told me.

By the time the Woods withdrew their application, they had already had the house on the market for about a month, with an asking price of $4.4 million. The listing sheet didn’t mention a damaged foundation but said the home was being offered in as-is condition. “Can be site of dream home or renovation of classic estate,” it read.

According to public records, the Pugwynn Trust has also owned property in Scottsdale, Arizona, where the Woods have lived. Around the time of the Winnetka purchase, Wood signed a deal to return to the Cubs; team chairman Tom Ricketts said at that time that Wood was selling his Scottsdale home.

I haven’t been able to reach the Woods or the representative of Pugwynn to ask for comment. The agent on the recent sale has not responded to a phone message.

The 12-room house was completed in 1929 and, according to a daughter of the second owners, has one interior door that has been authenticated as dating to the 1700s. Prior to the December 2010 sale, it had only two owners: the originals, the family of Dudley Cates, a Chicago executive and a leader of the Depression-era National Recovery Administration; and the family of George Bain Everitt, who was the chairman of Merchandise National Bank.

Kerry and Sarah Wood married in 2003. According to the Sun-Times’s Splash, they live in Lincoln Park.

Price Points: The asking price came down to $4.2 million in early November. The sale of the estate closed December 4; the Woods lost nine percent off their December 2010 purchase price. That’s slightly bigger than the loss I reported them taking five years ago; when they sold a house in Old Town in February 2008, their loss was seven percent.

Listing Agent: Paige Dooley of the Hudson Company, 847-446-9600 and paige@thehudsoncompany.com

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