Sold: Desdemona’s Domain
The art auctioneer Leslie Hindman has purchased this frilly Lake Shore Drive palazzo. Built in 1896, it is a copy of a 15th-century residence on Venice’s Grand Canal that was, according to local legend, the home of the noblewoman who inspired the character Desdemona in Shakespeare’s Othello. The original owners were Arthur and Mary Aldis. A real-estate executive, Aldis brought the Armory Show, a groundbreaking exhibition of modern art, to Chicago in 1913; his wife was a playwright.
In August, Hindman paid $3 million for the house, which had a list price of $3.95 million. The seller, identified by the Cook County Recorder of Deeds as Bridget Flanagan, first put it on the market in 2008 for $5.8 million. She had bought the place in its centennial year with her now-deceased husband, James, for an amount that is not shown in public records.
The façade, by Holabird & Roche, is intact. But Marie Campbell, the Koenig & Strey agent who represented both Flanagan and Hindman, says the inside “has been redone a million times, so all that’s original are some fireplaces, floors, and tall ceilings.” Hindman says that she plans to renovate “everything” inside to suggest Venice while also providing a contemporary spin.
Sold: The Dean of Deals
SALE PRICE: $1.05 MILLION
In August, Geoffrey Stone, a former dean of the University of Chicago Law School (where he’s still a professor), snapped up a cool bargain on a two-bedroom condo in this Helmut Jahn–designed tower at 600 North Fairbanks Court. Stone paid the full asking price of $1.05 million—which was still 8 percent less than what the brand-new unit fetched in 2008.
Deal of the Month: $255,750
That’s the asking price for this three-bedroom house, on the market as a short sale. The sellers paid $375,000 for it in 2005 and, according to their listing agent, Coldwell Banker’s Jamie Roth (who’s also a friend of mine), spent about $30,000 on various improvements. That means the house is listed at 37 percent off the sellers’ total investment—though Roth says it needs about $4,000 in repairs.
Percentage of Chicago-area homeowners younger than 40 who, at the end of the second quarter of 2012, were underwater on their mortgages—meaning that they owed more than their homes were worth. (The national average for that age group is 48 percent.) Those young homeowners are “gumming up” the system, claimed Zillow’s chief economist, Stan Humphries: By staying in their residences, they are reducing potential inventory for would-be first-time buyers and holding down demand for pricier next-step homes.
Photography: Todd Urban; (Libertyville home) Larry Malvin