List Price: $1.495 million
Sale Price: $1.4 million
The Property: This Bucktown house with a rounded facade has been around the block a few times in the eight years-plus since construction began. It’s been through price cuts and a price increase, multiple years in the twilight zone of being distressed but not yet completely foreclosed, and finally, full-on foreclosure. When it sold September 30, it had been standing empty for six years.
I wrote about the house in May 2008 (at a time when, as you’ll see for yourself, our videos were much less polished than they are now). In that piece, I noted that another writer blamed its odd facade for the fact that it had already sat unsold for a while, but I pointed out that at that time, high-end sales in the neighborhood had slowed down steeply.
Six years later, I give in: Okay, that big bend of glass was probably an obstacle to getting it sold. A design flourish that makes 333 W. Wacker a beloved piece of Loop architecture may be off-putting on a house in a dense urban neighborhood.
Evidence for that judgment stands right next door (at right, above): the home’s sibling, built at the same time by the same original team, sold in early 2007, before construction was finished, for $1.39 million. A key difference between the siblings: the one that sold, which stands on an interior lot, isn’t the glass-wrapped extrovert that the long-unsold one is.
In December 2003, a builder paid $765,000 for the 48-foot-wide site where both homes stand now; the next year, the builder took out a $1.68 million construction loan, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. Construction on the pair started sometime in 2005, and in spring 2007 the less-glassy one went under contract and was completed. The glassy home’s asking price at the time was $1.9 million.
That was still the price a year later, when I posted the item I referred to above, although the interior was unfinished. The house’s curved footprint made for some dramatic room shapes, I noted then; you can see some of them in the blueprints posted with the most recent listing.
In January 2009, the lender started foreclosure against the builder, but it wasn’t until July of this year that a court forced a transfer of the deed. In the meantime, the house was off the market for four years, from June 2009 until this past August. That’s when a Limited Liability Company that had acquired the deed in the forced judicial sale listed it, at $1.495 million.
As far as I can determine, the home was vacant the entire time it was off the market, not rented out. The recent listing sheet refers to it as “never occupied,” and when I passed it over the years, I always checked for signs of life but found nothing.
Price Points: I believe that LLC finished the house to the slick look that you see in the listing photos, but because I haven’t been able to reach anyone, I can’t confirm that. If true, it would help explain why the home, whose last asking price (in mid-2009) had been $1.2 million, was listed for 24 percent more this summer. The improved state of the real estate market would play a role, too, of course.