A recently sold mansion in St. Charles

List Price: $1.995 million
Sale Price: $1.775 million
The Property: Previously priced by the builder at $4.8 million, this 11,400-square-foot house in St. Charles may seem awfully big to be considered eco-friendly. But as I learned when I visited the house when it was under construction six years ago, the builder, Robert Lord, used a special set of methods and materials to make the home sip, instead of gulp, natural resources.

At the time, Lord described the project as “our lab” for evaluating just how much energy could be conserved by overlapping techniques. As I wrote then, using closed-cell foam insulation was expected to save about 50 percent of the cost of heating and cooling the interior; an exterior insulating wrap would save another 15 percent, and a heavy blanket of attic insulation yet another 15 percent. That’s 80 percent—and Lord wondered whether, once the house was finished, the total savings would be even greater. (There were other green features as well, including a geothermal heating system.) Lord said the house would need to be occupied and operating for about a year before a final determination could be made.

That has yet to happen: The house remained empty more than five years after its completion, before selling earlier this month. In February 2009, Lord’s lender, Royal Savings Bank in Chicago, started foreclosure proceedings. The house has been on and off the market, at successively lower prices, ever since, until selling January 3.

The final sale price was 37 percent of the highest asking price for the house. When I wrote about the house in the spring of 2007, Lord was asking $3.5 million; once it was completed, he raised the price to its high, $4.8 million. He told Crain’s in 2009 that it was worth “as much as $6 million.”

The house stands among tall trees on a 1.7-acre lot in a rolling landscape. It has five bedrooms, six bathrooms and, as you can see in the photos that accompanied the listing, opulent finishes, including heavy-beamed ceilings and almost palatial millwork in the formal rooms.

I wasn’t able to connect with the listing agent, Debora McKay, or the lender. Listed phone numbers for Robert Lord have been disconnected. The buyers are not yet identified in public records.

Price Points: This is not the only showcase mansion that recently sold at a steep discount. Last week, the Chicago Tribune wrote about the steeply discounted sale of Villa Taj, a 30,000-square-footer in Burr Ridge that was once priced at $25 million—and whose basement filled up with six million gallons of water when a pipe burst. The Tribune reported that the home sold for $3.1 million—or 12 percent of its highest asking price—in November.

Listing Agent: Debora McKay of Coldwell Banker; 630-587-4672 or Debora@themckaygroup.com