A lakefront mansion in Winnetka sold for $10 million yesterday to buyers who have applied for a demolition permit but may not tear it down.
It’s the second Chicago-area home sale sold for double-digit millions in the past month, after there had been none since July 2016. In December, philanthropist Ann Lurie sold her Dearborn Street mansion for $12 million to the Latin School, which has a building next door.
The Winnetka property, a 20-room home on 2.7 acres with 160 feet of private Lake Michigan beach, was first listed in August 2016 for $15.9 million. It sold for about 63 percent of that; by the time of the sale, the asking price had come down to $12.9 million.
Crain’s reported in November that the buyers, Philip and Janice Beck, had applied to the village of Winnetka for a permit to demolish the 110-year-old mansion. Last night Jena Radnay of @properties, who represented both the Becks and the sellers, Len and Gaye Wislow, said that demolition may or may not occur.
“I know they want to modernize the interior,” Radnay said, “but we don’t know yet if that will include demolishing the house.”
The Becks could not yet be reached. The website where Winnetka lists the status of all demolition permits indicates that the Becks’ application for the Sheridan Road property needs a Historic and Architectural Impact Study before a decision can be made on the demolition application. Village officials could not yet be reached today.
When she first listed the house, Radnay posted this drone video that showcases the property’s broad beach, vast swaths of lawn and swimming pool. Yesterday she said the site “is the Taj Mahal of the North Shore,” in part because of “its location, location, location and that beach.”
If the house is demolished, it will rank as the priciest North Shore teardown in recent years, topping the $8.5 million Glencoe home whose unidentified buyers tore it down last fall, as the Chicago Tribune reported in December. In 2013, Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts and his wife, Cecelia, paid $7 million for a lakefront home in Wilmette that they tore down to replace with a new one.
The record price for a North Shore teardown is the $11.45 million that Byron Trott paid in 2002 for the Winnetka site where his 14,000-square-foot home now stands, from a seller who tore the house down before selling. Trott is chairman and CEO of BDT Capital Partners, a $10 billion firm that has investments in such industries as coffee and physical therapy.
Buyers pay high prices for teardowns on lakefront sites, Radnay said, because “there’s a finite number of those properties.” She said a second offer came in on the Winnetka property after the Becks and the Wislows had a contract and that she expects to see a few more big lakefront deals in 2018.
“The stock market is good,” she said. Some of the people who are benefiting from the market’s runup “will be using that money this year.”
The size of Trott’s house has been corrected.