A recently sold Gold Coast mansion

Sold: A Mansion’s Slow Decline

Built in 1897, this Victorian graystone once belonged to Charles Peterson, a former city treasurer and a founder of Chicago’s Century of Progress world’s fair. In 1928, he opened his home to the German philosopher Herman Keyserling, who submitted an exacting two-page list of domestic demands before agreeing to stay with Peterson.

Imagine Keyserling’s dismay were he to visit the house today. After Peterson’s death there in 1943, it was chopped up into six apartments. Nearly 60 years later, new owners, not named in public records, paid $2 million for the place. They overhauled the interior, creating a large residence for themselves—it spread across parts of all four stories and included access to a rooftop deck—but kept three one-bedroom apartments.

In 2010, the homeowners put the mansion up for sale, asking $4.5 million. It sat on the market for two years and was lost to foreclosure in April 2012. Last fall, a division of Republic Bank offered the house for $2.55 million. By then it had suffered further indignities: According to one person who got a tour, the plumbing fixtures, kitchen appliances, and other items installed during the most recent renovation had disappeared. Nonetheless, the house found a buyer (as yet unidentified), and the sale closed on December 21 for $2.12 million. “Even with what it needed [to fix it up], people saw a bargain at that price,” says the listing agent, Robyn Brooks of Prudential Rubloff.


A recently sold house in Bucktown

Sold: Chicago Fire Sale

This four-bedroom residence, a recent setting for NBC’s Chicago Fire, was priced at just under $2.4 million when constructed in 2009. After it didn’t sell, “there was tension between the builder and lender that delayed getting the price lowered,” says Property Consultants’ Tony Zaskowski, the builder’s agent. Last fall, the price came down—to $1.375 million, a little less than the balance on the mortgage—and the house sold for $1.257 million in December.


An Arlington Heights home, currently on sale

Deal of the Month: $279,000

Nona Lisitza says she “fell in love” with this townhouse for its first- and second-floor master suites and two-story living room. Now needing a one-story home because of a relative’s disability, she and her husband, Bruce, have this place on the market at a 20 percent discount from the $350,000 they paid in 2005. Lisitza, a Century 21 agent, is handling the sale.



4.2%: That’s the 2013 forecast from Zillow for the price appreciation of homes in River North and the South Loop—a rosier outlook than the 0.6 percent price depreciation the online real-estate company expects for metro Chicago overall. Other downtown neighborhoods may also experience an upswing: Zillow predicts a 3.4 percent boost in the Loop and 3.1 percent in the West Loop. “Being a desirable area that didn’t have as much of a housing recession aids in the expectation of demand going forward,” explains Stan Humphries, the company’s chief economist.


Photography: (top) Todd Urban; (top right, bottom right) Dennis Rodkin