Movie Producer George Furla Selling Chicago Penthouse For $7 Million

The Fordham at 25 E Superior seems to have it’s share of high rollers buying and selling condos these days. In July an 8100 square foot penthouse on the 47th floor sold for $6.4 MM – the third most expensive condo sale in Chicago in the last 12 months. Now a spectacular 50th floor penthouse at the Fordham, owned by movie producer George Furla (I’ve never seen any of his movies and have only heard of one or two but the job obviously pays well), has just been listed for $7 MM.
At 6500 square feet this Fordham penthouse occupies the entire floor and also has 2000 square feet of private terraces. But it only has 3 bedrooms (2 of which are only 12/11 x 13) and 4 baths. Obviously most of the space is in the living areas, like 29 x 18 living rooms and family rooms. Here is the description from the MLS along with some of the particulars of the unit:

The Entire 50th floor- Top floor, brand new Penthouse available for sale. 6500 square feet plus 2000 sqf private terraces. Completely & luxuriously build out, Every detail has been addressed from best quality materials, cook’s kitchen,professional milwork, walnut floor, to the sumptuous master suite. Highlighting the exquisite space are multiple terraces with panoramic city views. Private penthouse 1st floor parking.

  • Monthly assessments of $6800
  • Annual property taxes of $8539
  • Comes with 2 parking spaces

I sure hope Joe Berrios is paying attention. I’d like to understand how George Furla gets away with property taxes lower than mine (and I can assure you that my home is not worth $7 MM). Those property taxes correspond to an estimated market value of around $534,000! Meanwhile, public records indicate that the space was purchased for at least $2 MM in September 2004 (it might have been purchased as more than one unit). An old Wall Street Journal article claimed that George Furla actually paid $3.15 MM for the unit in 2005. (I could probably get to the bottom of this but I’ve already invested way too much time in this blog post.) It was purchased as raw space and has only recently been built out. And to add insult to injury the assessor’s Web site indicates that for 2012 the estimated market value is going down!
As you can see in the slide show below the design and decor of this sky palace is quite impressive – ultra modern and elegant. Very tasteful and quite unique.

So there’s a rather interesting listing history to this place:

  • Realtor #1 had a very confusing listing from December 2005 – April 2008 starting at $5.5 MM and dropping it in two stages to $4 MM and then raising it again to $4.9 MM. During this time period the description indicated that “Owner is willing to build out with mechanicals and walls in place for $5.9 or as finished product at $6.9.” During this time period the unit was only 6200 square feet.
  • Realtor #2 came along from April – December 2008 listing it as raw space with approved plans starting at $4.6 MM and gradually dropping it in several stages to $3.6 MM. The co-lister was named George Furla. Coincidence? I think not. Son? I don’t see the resemblance. Nephew? Who knows.
  • The listing disappears for a month and resurrects in January 2012 as raw space at $3.55 MM. It holds that price until May when it gets cancelled. During this time George Furla junior becomes the listing agent and the prior listing agent becomes co-lister but they have switched brokerages.
  • In May – November 2012 it comes back as a new listing for $4.5 MM for a white box (just drywall and mechanicals in place). Same agents.
  • 4 days ago the listing reappears with realtor #3 for the current price of $7 MM, apparently completely built out. It’s also 250 square feet larger than it has been for the last 7 years but maybe the new realtor measured it and found it they had been understating the square footage

So you decide whether or not you think this unit is worth $7 MM. The slideshow below is for the 8100 square foot unit on the 47th floor that sold for $6.4 MM. According to the listing “The owner spent $10million to create the most luxurious full floor residence designed by Scott Himmel.” It is clearly very elegant but more traditional than George Furla’s unit and the kitchen and master bath do not strike me as nearly as nice.

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