Oprah Dumps Her Water Tower Condo At 40% Discount

Not quite 2 years ago Oprah put her Water Tower Place condo at 180 E Pearson on the market for $7.75 MM. That was January 13, 2014 but by July 31 of that year she yanked the listing for this 9625 sq ft duplex. There never were any photos of the unit on the MLS and barely 7 months is hardly enough time to sell a home in this price range. It makes you wonder what she was thinking…
Keep wondering because about 2 weeks ago a developer bought the property in 4 different transactions totaling $4.625 MM. These transactions represented the original 4 units that were combined to create Oprah’s home – units 5601, 5602, 5603, and 5703 – and each was purchased by a separate limited liability company. According to a Chicago Tribune article Centaur Interiors is the developer behind the LLCs and they plan to renovate the property back into it’s original 4 units.
Let’s run through the math here. Oprah’s original list price on this home worked out to $805/ SF but it was just purchased for $480/ SF. In the last year most of the units in Water Tower Place have sold for $400 – 500/SF, though some have sold in the mid 300s/ SF and not just on low floors. A couple of completely renovated units have sold above $800/SF, which is where Oprah’s condo was originally priced. If they can get $857/ SF (the higher of the two units recently sold) that would put them at $8.25 MM, which leaves $3.625 MM for rehabbing the 4 units and profit. It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out in the end.
But here is what doesn’t make sense to me. If Oprah was willing to sell her home for $4.625 MM why didn’t she just list it somewhere between $5 – 6 MM for the last year? Isn’t it possible that with greater exposure someone would have paid more than $4.625 MM for it? I think someone mis-convinced her that going the pocket listing route would somehow get her a better price. Yeah…right.
As Oprah has been cutting her ties with Chicago she has taken a bath on her real estate holdings. According to a Crain’s article she originally paid a total of $3.3 MM for the 4 units and I’m sure she then spent millions on the renovation. And a little more than 3 years ago she lost $2.8 MM on her never-lived-in co-op at 199 E Lake Shore Dr. But I’m sure that all of this is just pocket change for her.
#Oprah #OprahWinfrey #WaterTowerPlace #CelebrityHomes
Gary Lucido is the President of Lucid Realty, the Chicago area’s full service discount real estate brokerage. If you want to keep up to date on the Chicago real estate market, get an insider’s view of the seamy underbelly of the real estate industry, or you just think he’s the next Kurt Vonnegut you can¬†Subscribe to Getting Real by Email using the form below.¬†Please be sure to verify your email address when you receive the verification notice.

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