List Price: $7.95 million
Sale Price: $5.2 million
The Property: The software entrepreneur Marc Ewing and his wife, Lisa Lee, last week sold their 26-room Sheridan Road mansion in Glencoe for just three-quarters of the price that they had paid for the gated estate nine years earlier.
The house, which stands on two and a half acres of land near Lake Michigan, dates from 1936. The architect William Pereira designed the home for Harris Perlstein, who in 1932 had merged his Chicago company, Premier Malt, with Milwaukee’s Pabst brewing company. Pereira, a Chicago native, then moved to Los Angeles, where he had a prolific career, designing such structures as San Francisco’s Pyramid Center—formerly known as the Transamerica Pyramid—and one of my hometown favorites, the Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego.
The Glencoe house, known locally as the Pabst mansion, has nine bedrooms, nine-plus baths, six fireplaces and, according to the listing sheet, “a breathtaking reception salon [with a] sweeping staircase.” The listing sheet also says that, while technologically updated, the home still “exemplifies 1930s grandeur and elegance.”
In 1999, during the heyday of the dotcom boom, Red Hat—the Raleigh, North Carolina–based distributor of Linux products that Ewing founded in 1993—was valued at $6.5 billion. In 2000, when he and his wife bought the Glencoe house for $6.95 million, Ewing was 30 years old and had an estimated net worth of $670 million.
The Glencoe purchase came several months after the couple (whom I could not reach for comment) had spent $8 million for an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Without making any changes to the apartment, they put it back on the market six months later with a $9.3-million price tag. (I could not determine whether the couple ever sold the apartment.)
The couple’s charitable foundation, whose address had been at the Glencoe house, has supported many Chicago nonprofits and cultural institutions, including Columbia College Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Brookfield Zoo. The foundation has also supported the Duke University Women’s Studies program and a movie about the radical Weather Underground organization.
Price Points: The couple has had the house on the market at various times over the past six years. The peak asking price was $14 million, in 2003. The sale closed on October 26th; the buyers are not yet identified in public records.