A gut-rehabbed mini-mansion is challenging the price ceiling in coastal Rogers Park with a $1.8 million asking price. It is counting on the fantasy factor to achieve it—the allure of living meters from a beach in an oversized, modernized American Foursquare. Even then it will be a tall order.
The expanded 6,000-square-foot 1908 house was gutted to the brick and put back together as a new-build with high-end appliances; a new floor plan featuring seven bedrooms; a finished basement; new roof, mechanicals, and tuckpointing; smart home system; and a still-to-be-built three-car garage. “That’s what separates us from the [comparable units in the area],” says listing agent Sonya Lea of KoenigRubloff. “A buyer can walk right in and not have to worry about anything falling apart.” There is a lot more charm in the untouched interiors of nearby vintage homes, some of comparable size, but it is true that things more menacing than creaky floorboards await unsuspecting buyers.
The rehab is 30 to 60 days from completion but I dropped by for some in-progress shots anyway. It was a broker’s open this day and, while far from slammed, there had been several attendees by the midway point. The work is by Venture One Real Estate, which specializes in corporate real estate and mostly operates in the South and West surburbs. Mark Goode is the firm’s president and Bonnie Zagora was put in charge of the project. There are some missing light fixtures and the kitchen and basement—which will be an open rec space—are still active work zones, but otherwise the papered oak floors, installed on a diagonal, just need to be unwrapped.
The home has large windows throughout and a number of flex spaces. One is the main level’s seventh bedroom that would thrive as a library or office. Another is the mud room, which also has potential as a den or office. And, finally, we have the third level’s skylit loft space anchoring two bedrooms where some sort of lounge or media room comes to mind.
“Buyers at this price point want every conceivable convenience and amenity,” says Lea. Which is why the home now has heated marble bathroom floors, a bar and entertaining station in the kitchen, a fireplace, wiring for sound, video, and security, and a new garage modeled on an ornate coach house.
According to Lea, this is the only vintage home on Albion Avenue east of Sheridan Road to ever get a total gut. It has had just two owners in 106 years, a remarkable feat even amid lakefront blocks that have a reputation for lengthy tenures.
Price Points: If the pricing on this home seems aggressive, I’d agree. With a $1 million gulf between the list and purchase prices, there ought to be some wiggle room if the market demands it. No other property in Rogers Park is listed above $1 million. There was a major price slide last time around, when needing work, which saw the asking price drop from $1.495 million in May 2011 to $762,500 in October 2013. “The comps are very challenging, but this is a lot of house and is essentially new construction.” The new taxes aren’t assessed, of course, but the old amount was a little over $10,000.
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