This year’s roundup of the highest prices paid for homes in the metropolitan area shows that the Gold Coast deserves its name

Photography: Chris Guillen
Sale Price: $8.1 million

In 1832, the chief economic enterprise in the burgeoning settlement of Chicago was John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company. Nearly 175 years later, the Near North Side street named for Astor (who never lived here) sits grandly atop the local real-estate market, with two of the metro area’s three priciest house sales for the past year coming from a single block of that four-block-long Gold Coast avenue.

For the 12-month period ending June 30, 2006, the most expensive sale in the six-county area was a Georgian mansion on Astor that sold in May for $14.5 million. Designed in 1894 for manufacturer Otto W. Meysenberg by the architectural firm of Thomas & Rapp-and expanded ten years later by Henry Ives Cobb-the 26-room house sits on three lots. The sellers spent six years renovating the 20,000-square-foot house and 5,000-square-foot coach house, says Gayle Tepper, the Rubloff agent who represented them. The property originally listed for $22 million, but was later cut to $16.5 million. (Neither the sellers’ nor buyers’ names appear in public records. In all instances below, Chicago has included that information when available.)

Photography: Chris Guillen
Sale Price: $4.6 million

Half a block away is the year’s number-three sale, a gracious 1922 house designed by David Adler for steel magnate Joseph T. Ryerson. John Regas, the architect who had owned the 13-room home since 1986, listed it in December 2005 for $10.5 million; on Christmas Day, he signed a contract to sell it for $9.2 million to Robert and Donna Lyon (he is the president of Institutional Capital Corporation).

There were two other multimillion-dollar sales on Astor Street during the year. While not in our top five (they went for $3.5 million and $3 million), they are among the 2,408 homes in the metropolitan area that sold for $1 million or more, according to data from the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois (MLSNI). More than a third of those homes were sold in just five neighborhoods or suburbs. The leader was the city’s Near North neighborhood with 291 sales, followed by Lake Forest (166), Lincoln Park (168), Winnetka (141), and Hinsdale (122).

Rounding out the region’s top five sales were:

  • In second place, James Reid-Anderson, CEO of Deerfield’s Dade Behring, paid $11 million for another David Adler mansion, this one in Lake Forest.
  • In fourth place, Randy and Sherry Adams (he runs Bridge Healthcare Finance) paid $8.1 million for the Winnetka estate of insurance magnate and best-selling positive thinker W. Clement Stone.
  • Finally, a 12-room penthouse on East Lake Shore Drive sold for $8 million. Nancy Abrams, the widow of the man who redeveloped the Mayfair Regent hotel as condos and reserved this palatial aerie for himself, had listed the condo for $9.8 million.
Photography: Rob Goodwin
Gold Coast
Sale Price: $14.5 million

The top five sales were all in Cook and Lake counties. In the region’s other four counties, the highest-priced homes of the year were:

  • The personal injury attorney Tom Demetriou paid $6.8 million in January for a 20-room home on 22 acres in Barrington Hills for the most-expensive residence ever sold in McHenry County.
  • In DuPage County, a new Georgian mansion built by Barrett Builders near the center of Hinsdale sold in March for $4.6 million. (The builder James McMahon says he sold a house a few blocks away for $5.7 million. That house, sold privately, was not listed with MLSNI.)
  • In Kane County, a 17-room home built in 1998 on ten acres in the Crane Road Estates area of St. Charles sold in March for $3.5 million.
  • A Naperville house on 5.3 acres with a barn for 11 horses sold for $1.75 million last October, the highest price for Will County (a Naperville house in DuPage County sold for $350,000 more.)

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