The surgeons group that has been trying to sell a historical Lake Shore Drive mansion since 2015 put it back on the market Feb. 9, signaling that the deal it struck in June has fallen through.
The 12,000-square-foot mansion, built in 1914 at 1516 N. Lake Shore Drive, is one of two neighboring buildings owned by the International College of Surgeons. The organization first put it on the market in September 2015, asking $17 million. The asking price eventually dropped to $6 million.
In June, listing agent Crystal Tran of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago marked the property listing “pending (contingent),” which typically means the buyer cannot close the deal until a contingency is settled. Tran did not respond in June or today to requests for comment.
The asking price is $6 million, the same as in June.
Given the historical nature of the building and its Lake Shore Drive streetscape, as well as the failure of a developer’s 1990s proposal to build a 42-story residential tower on the site of the two mansions, it’s a strong possibility that the June buyers could not get approval for their plans for the site.
A few times over the past several months, the listing’s status has been changed among “listed,” “pending” and “pending (contingent),” which suggested the deal to sell the building was wobbling.
Max Downham, executive director of the International College of Surgeons, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In 2015, Nick Rebel, director of the ICS’s US section, told Crain’s the group no longer had staff enough to fill the two mansions at 1516 and 1524 N. Lake Shore Drive, which it has owned since the early 1950s. Only five employees worked in 1516 at that time, Rebel said, down from 15 in the 1980s. He said the group would move them into 1524 when 1516 sold.
One of only seven mansions that remain from North Lake Shore Drive’s early-20th century heyday as a strong of palatial homes, the four-story, 12,000-square-foot mansion at 1516 was designed by the New York architecture firm McKim Mead & White and built in 1914 for Edward Tyler Blair and Ruby McCormick Blair. He was the son of an early Chicago hardware merchant, and she was a niece of Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the mechanical reaper. Their son William founded what’s now Chicago-based financial services firm William Blair.
In the early 1950s, Chicago surgeon Max Thorek, a founder of the Geneva-based International College of Surgeons, bought the mansions at 1516 and 1524 N. Lake Shore Drive and gave them to the society for its headquarters and museum, Rebel said. The larger north house, which houses the museum, was designed by Howard van Doren Shaw to resemble the Petit Trianon at Versailles, the 18th-century home of Madame de Pompadour, the official chief mistress of King Louis XV.
During the years they’ve been trying to sell the mansion at 1516, Tran and Rebel have both said it will need a costly round of rehab and updating. They have told Crain’s for past articles that […]
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