Most Expensive Chicago Area Mansion Heads to Auction Block October 29

Serving suburbs like Hinsdale and Oakbrook, I’m no stranger to jaw dropping and inspiring luxury properties but every once in a while a house really gets my attention. That property is “Le Grand Reve” (The Big Dream), located in Chicago’s affluent north shore suburb of  Winnetka, Illinois.  It is truly an architectural wow.  Built by Richard Landry Design Group, Le Grand Reve (a.k.a. 68 Locust Road) was inspired by Château Villandry of the Loire region of France, which is said to be known for its unique and timeless perfection. In addition to all of today’s modern conveniences and technology, the estate includes six bedrooms, six full bathrooms, four half bathrooms, and a phenomenal, two-story, grand entrance featuring a Tiffany stained-glass dome.
If you’ve  been waiting for the opportunity to own a home that rivals all others, even Villa Taj, you just might have your opportunity – the home hits the auction block on October 29, 2011.  Want to get in?  Here’s a few of the auction terms worth mentioning:

  • There is no reserve price but there are incentives for submitting an opening bid above $10mm
  • Those wishing to participate must wire $250,000 entrant fee to Concierge Auctions by October 22, 2011
  • Buyer is “OBLIGATED” to purchase furnishings for a mere $5 mm
  • There is a 10% buyer premium added to winning bid

Despite the fact that the home is currently listed at $32 mm, it was previously listed as low as $23 mm and didn’t sell. That easily sets a ceiling of $20 mm and the floor – if the highest bid was $1 – the very minimum the property would sell for $5,550,001.00 ($5 mm for furniture, $500k buyer premium and winning bid of $1).  My guess is they will be lucky to find a buyer willing to pay more than $10 mm in this economy. One other problem is that they are only offering realtors a 1.5% co-op commission, which would be a measly $300,000 if it sells for $20 mm. I could see some greedy realtors turning their backs on that deal.
Sherwin Jarol, a prominent commercial real estate investor in the area and founder/CFO of Bradley Associates purchased the two plus acre parcel of  land that the home occupies for just over $2.5 mm.   In 2007, two mortgages were recorded against the property for a total of $8.1 mm, another  $3.1 mm recorded in May 2008 another $8 mm recorded in May 2010.  It is reported that the construction costs on the home exceeded $10 mm.  One article cites the reason for the sale is the growth of their two children and need to downsize…yeah, the home might be a bit on the large side for just 2 people but not 4. I just wonder why they built such an extravagant home to live in for only two years.  Could there be any other reasons to sell right now?
Listed originally in January 2010 at a mere $28 mm, it was slashed to $23 mm in November 2010 and taken off the market in June 2011.   On September 7th, the property was relisted by Tim Salm from Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty  this time for $32 mm. Ok, so what renovation’s did they make to account for a $9mm price INCREASE?  Listen folks, it’s nearly impossible to sell a home in Chicago land for over $5 mm.   In fact, according to MRED, it’s been done only 52 times in the last five years, and the highest priced home to sell in all of Illinois was for $16mm for a Lake Bluff property on 20 acres in 2007.  The highest priced home to sell in Winnetka in the last five years was for just over $6.5mm and was a 14,000 sf new construction situated on over 110 feet  of lakefront beach.  What could possibly been done to increase a market value by $9mm?  Did they build another house on the lot and forget to mention it?
As one would expect at this price point this home has all the bells and whistles, and every room that can be dreamed up, including a gift-wrapping/craft room and servants’ quarters.  Or is that staff quarters? A fully loaded gourmet kitchen (yes, gourmet is the definitive word) with additional amenities including a butler’s pantry and kitchen, located adjacent to the grand room and the totally over-the-top elegant formal dining room.  If dinner isn’t enough, guests can visit the wine cellar before retreating to the library for cocktails.  Take note when watching the slide show to notice the quantity and variety of liquor bottles.  I’d need a drink to stomach a $125k a year tax by myself.  Everyday.  Also especially notable is the home spa.  Does it come with a masseuse and pedicurist who later retreat to the servants, err staff quarters?  I’m in.  Serenity now.
Other pretty cool features of the home are:

  • It boasts over 26,500 square feet of space
  • Heated flooring
  • Light….from everywhere
  • Soundproofed theater with stadium seating
  • 9 fireplaces

Grounds include:

  • Limestone walls and gates
  • Impeccably manicured gardens and lawns
  • Extensive covered loggias
  • Heated swimming pool
  • 5-car double height, heated garage (the listing actually says 9 though)

Just to put this house in perspective relative to the neighbors here is the aerial view – it’s the big one:
Le Grand Reve, 68 Locust Rd, Winnetka, IL
Le Grand Reve is represented in partnership between Concierge Auctions and Sotheby’s.

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