Sold: The Gold Coast Condo at the Center of a Bougie Legal Battle

The $4.5 million home, once owned by a Pritzker, has spellbinding views, 4,900 square feet of space, and dated finishes.

Photo: Dennis Rodkin

List Price: $4.5 million
Sale Price: $4.5 million
The Property: From the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, this co-op on the 29th floor of the Drake Tower was the center of a prolonged legal battle between two upper-crust queens of Chicago.

It all centered on whether the renovations of the 30th-floor aerie of philanthropist and Rockefeller descendant Abra Prentice Wilkin had caused water damage one flight down in this condo, where Lorraine Pritzker lived. Lorraine was the second wife of Abram “A. N.” Pritzker who, with his brother Jack, started the family on its road to super-wealth beginning in the 1930s.

The lawsuit dragged on in the courts for several years and spawned spinoff suits; I’ve been unable to determine the exact resolution. Lawyers involved at the time have not responded to requests for comment.

At any rate, Lorraine Pritzker died in 1996, a decade after her husband, and her three-bedroom, 4,900-square-foot co-op was sold.

Those buyers never updated the home before selling this year on October 31, according to their listing agent, Marie Campbell of Koenig & Strey (one of a pair of Chicago real estate agencies that on Tuesday announced they’ll merge and become Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group). But Campbell says the home “showed beautifully and has spellbinding views in all four directions; there’s nothing impeding your view.”

The listing photos showed only a few of the rooms, and none of the five baths, which could be looking quite dated if they hadn’t been redone since the Pritzkers did them a few decades ago. The kitchen, which Campbell believes was by Bruce Gregga, looks a bit long in the tooth.

“I know the current buyer plans to do a lot of remodeling,” Campbell said. She would not identify buyer or seller, and the public records are no help because the building is a co-op; records of sales in co-ops are harder to crack than those for condos. The home is one of three oversized co-ops at the top of the Drake Tower; there are five floors in all up there, but both above and below this home, owners have created two-floor combos.

Campbell said she intended “no irony” in her listing when she referred to the home as “legendary,” given its central role in a long-running legal spat.

Price Points: The residence first went on the market in 2009 with an $8 million pricetag. That later came down to $7.5 million, and then in mid-2010 it was taken off the market. It came back on in April 2012 with an ask of $5.75 million, which in June dropped to $4.5 million, and later that month it went under contract.

The final sale price of $4.5 million was 56 percent of what the sellers had been asking four years earlier. Campbell, who represented the property the whole time, says the 2009 ask was “appropriate at the time, when there had been another sale [in the building].” I don’t have a record of that sale.

Listing Agent: Marie Campbell of Koenig & Strey, 312-983-1347 and mcampbell@koenigstrey.com

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