Listings for Chicago’s priciest homes is downright batty

This weekend’s newspaper column from The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.) and The Times (Ottawa, Ill.)

Listings for Chicago’s priciest homes is downright batty


June 16, 2012

In the 2008 Batman flick, “The Dark Knight,” the role of Gotham was played by the city of Chicago. (Quite brilliantly, I might add.)

And during it, the role of Bruce Wayne’s home away from stately Wayne Manor was played by the exterior of the Hotel 71 penthouse, perched high above the Loop at 71 E. Wacker Drive.

Now, one would figure that in both Gotham City – and the Windy City – such a luxurious location just south of the Chicago River, would cost an awfully pretty penny.

But late last month, another penthouse popped up on Chicago’s MLS listing that would blow Hotel 71 out of the water.
And might be beyond even Bruce Wayne’s price range.

Boasting 16-foot-tall, 360-degree windows, five bedrooms and a whopping nine bathrooms, the unfinished 89th floor penthouse atop the Trump Tower – aka “Unit PH89 A” – is being billed as “the highest residence in the Western Hemisphere” and also comes with a $32 million price tag that’s the highest in the history of Chicago.

A pretty penny, indeed. And a unique one too, according to Ian Spula, who wrote about Trump for the real estate blog Curbed Chicago.

“In a way, it’s odd that a property of this caliber is even listed on MLS in the first place,” Spula wrote. “These sorts of transactions often play out in another world far removed from the masses … Only bazillionaires drop $32M on place that still needs floors and doors.”

By comparison, in March, Bulls star Derrick Rose bought an 84th-floor condo in Trump for “just” $2.8 million.
Chump change.

Amazingly, $32 million isn’t even close the final price for Trump’s penthouse, which also would include monthly assessment fees of $12,150, property taxes that are “TBD,” and the bill for 14,260 square feet of flooring.

Not to mention, the doors.

When news broke about Trump’s penthouse going up for sale just months after Michael Jordan listed his 56,000-square-foot Highland Park estate for $29 million, it got me wondering about the other highest-priced homes in Chicagoland.

And here’s what I found: Behind Trump and Jordan, the next most expensive residence listed in Chicagoland is a three-floor, $18.4 million condominium owned by actor Vince Vaughn inside the 83-year-old Palmolive Building (formerly the Playboy Building) on North Michigan Avenue.

Ranking No. 4 is a recently constructed $15.98 French Provincial mansion on Winnetka’s lakefront that’s owned by Leo Birov, the founder of Heritage Luxury Builders. And rounding out the Top 5 is a $14.9 million mansion in Barrington Hills currently owned by the Forsythe Building Fund.

According to listings, at least three other Chicago-area homes are current on sale for more than $10 million: A $12 million foreclosed estate in Lake Forest; a $10.9 million, newly built home in Chicago’s Lincoln Park with six bedrooms – and an eight-car garage; and a $10 million modernist home in Lake Bluff that’s owned by the estate of the late financier William Blair.

Interestingly, tht $10.9 million home in Lincoln Park is located on the 400 block of West Deming Place, which also is home to two other mansions that are going for $8.8 and $8.6 million, making the street perhaps the priciest in Chicago.

That’s if anyone is buying, of course.

And according to Crain’s Chicago Business, no one really is. In fact, only two homes have sold for more than $10 million in the past five years and both sales closed in 2007.

“The word is out there,” Trump’s Coldwell Banker agent Chezi Rafaeli tried to assure Crain’s. “You just have to find somebody who is willing to pay this type of money.”

Anyone got a number for the Bat Phone?