On Saturday afternoon, a steady stream of cars crawled the circle drive leading to Michael Jordan’s home in Highland Park.
The visitors, many clad in Bulls jerseys, had come merely to gawk at the iron security gate, emblazoned with Jordan's No. 23.
The gate is the only real sight at 2700 Point Lane. The custom-built megamansion, which Jordan completed in 1995 after buying its seven-acre lot in 1991, is strategically hidden behind a wall of 40-foot evergreens. As fans posed for selfies with the oversized numerals, a security guard barked over an intercom. Step off the property, or she'd call the police.
Nobody, it seems, was there to consider buying Jordan's 56,000-square-foot estate, which has languished on the market since February 29, 2012. Originally listed for $29 million, the nine-bedroom home failed to fetch a minimum reserve price of $13 million at auction in 2013. It's currently listed for $14,855,000, the digits of which total 23.
Thanks to ESPN’s 10-part docuseries The Last Dance, which airs its final two episodes on Sunday, Jordan is more in the spotlight than he's been in years. But will all the attention help him sell that pesky mansion?
It's far from a slam dunk, according to some local realtors.
“I just don’t see how the documentary can help much in marketing a house like this,” says Gail Lissner of Integra Realty Resources. (Jordan's longtime listing agent for 2700 Point Lane, Katherine Chez Malkin of Compass, declined to comment.)
Why hasn't the home sold? The sticker price is a big problem. At $14.9 million, Jordan’s house is one of the five most expensive for sale around Chicago. He's asking more than 20 times the average listing price in Highland Park, $700,000.
“We’ve had some big sales recently — we closed on a $3.6 million home owned by [former Zebra Technologies CEO] Ed Kaplan — but certainly nothing of this stature,” says Lynn Kosner, managing broker of Baird & Warner’s Highland Park office.
The location hurts, too. Most North Shore properties that fetch the kind of money Jordan's asking sit on or near Lake Michigan. But Jordan's is three miles inland, near a Wendy’s and Taco Bell just off Skokie Highway.
Granted, 2700 Point Drive is a lot of house for the money — but it might be too much. In addition to nine bedrooms, the place has 19 bathrooms, five fireplaces, a three-bedroom guesthouse, and three multicar garages.
“It’s a very overwhelming property,” says Kosner.
The estate is also incredibly attuned to the tastes of one man. There’s a game room that seats 20 — Jordan, as The Last Dance reminds us, likes to play blackjack — a cigar room, and a pair of doors from the original Playboy Mansion. There's also a massive weight room, where MJ, Scottie Pippen, and a few other Bulls held their ultra-secret “Breakfast Club" — grueling early-morning workouts that Jordan first used to bulk up and beat the Pistons.
The centerpiece of the home is a full basketball court, painted with the Jumpman logo. And outside, there's a tennis court, a putting green, and an infinity pool with a grass island plopped in the center.
“When you have something so customized, it’s just not as marketable,” says Lessner, who adds that a lot of pro athletes' homes don’t have strong resale value.
Indeed, Scottie Pippen has struggled to sell his own Highland Park mansion, which has come on and off the market several times in the past four years, and was delisted again in March.
The good news for MJ: The real estate market in Highland Park has proved uniquely resistant to the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, with sales over a seven-day average in early May outpacing the 90-day average. "Our average sale price in Highland Park was up 4.2 percent from March 2019 to March 2020, to $527,428," says Kosner. And across the metro area, "we've had like 500 virtual open houses."
Ultra-luxe properties like Jordan's may exist in a more recession-proof bubble, too.
“We’ve actually seen the high-end market stay strong, and I think there’s going to be a greater surge of demand once shelter-in-place ends,” says Laura Brady, the founder and CEO of Concierge Auctions, the company that tried to auction Jordan's home in 2013. “I’m surprised it hasn’t sold yet, because it’s such an amazing, one-of-a-kind property.”
Ultimately, an unharmed luxury market paired with Jordan’s rejuvenated star-power could bring a new superfan buyer out of the woodwork.
“I certainly don’t think it could hurt to have the spotlight on [Jordan] and all of his success right now," says Kosner. "We’ve all watched The Last Dance — and talked about it like crazy."