Chicago's Most Expensive Home Ever Hits The Market

3 years ago I posted on the biggest homes of Lincoln Park. I have no idea how at that time I missed the monstrosity at 1955 N Burling – of course it’s on that block – which just hit the market as the most expensive single family home ever offered for sale in Chicago at $18.75 MM. Technically this home ties with Ann Lurie’s mansion which was once listed at $18.75 MM but has since been split into two separate listings – one for the main home and one for the side lot.
The home is owned by Timothy Mullen, a private investor, who was the CEO of First Options of Chicago from 1997 – 2002. His wife, Alicia, also worked there as the CIO and senior vice president. Together they “manage the Mullen Family Foundation, which has awarded grants to organizations in the arts, education, and human services” according to this article on BU Today. Tim is also a part owner of the Tampa Bay Rays and apparently donated $100,000 to Rahm Emanuel’s campaign. He is also a big Obama supporter.
The home has actually been quietly on the market – no MLS listing but the press was notified – for the last couple of months, which makes no sense to me. It sits on 5 city lots and is 20,000 square feet including a separate guest house and is described in the listing as

Introducing the most beautiful property in the city or suburbs. A true estate behind private walls. Separate 2 BR Guest House. Incredible lawn & gardens. Situated on renowned Burling on 5 city lots. Award-winning indoor Pool & Spa, 6-car Garage, spectacular Home Theatre. There has never been a residence of this significance on the market. This is not just an estate, it is a lifestyle and far exceeds all expectations… 20,000 sqft incl sep 2 BR Guest House. BR & BA count incl Guest House. Total room count does not incl Indoor Pool, Home Theatre, Gym, Wine Room, Staff Rest Area, Storage. Patios, Terraces, Decks, Loggia, Gardens, 6-car Gar not incl in sqft.

Check out the slideshow below. Here are the rest of the statistics on this mansion:

  • 7 bedrooms
  • 8 full baths
  • 5 half baths
  • 6 fireplaces
  • 6 garage spaces
  • Property taxes are only $156,000

Now I have a question on those property taxes. They are based upon a county estimated market value of only $2.76 MM, which is actually down from the 2011 value of $3.16 MM. Now this sort of thing always mystifies me – especially when it involves someone whose political contributions would imply that they are in favor of the “rich paying their fair share of taxes”. How does this happen?
According to a Crain’s article a couple of months ago:

The Palladian-style mansion was designed by architect Wayne Zediker to resemble a historical villa. It was built on four lots in the late 1990s by tech entrepreneur Robert Bernardand his wife, Elisa, in the early days of the mega-mansion building boom on the blocks south of Lincoln Park High School.
The Bernards sold to the Mullens in 2002 for $9.5 million, which at the time was the record price for a home in the city. A year later, the Mullens bought the next property south for $1.23 million, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. On that property they built an indoor pool and guesthouse, as well as an additional garage.

The home was apparently built by BGD&C Homes because it is featured on their Web site as an example of a Venetian Palazzo. Back in 2007 they were offering to build a custom home at 1917 N Howe for $16 MM on a 60 foot wide lot, using a photo of the house at 1955 N Burling as an example. Then from 2010 – 2012 they scaled back the project to a mere $8.8 MM.

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