Kenwood mansion sells for record price—but at a loss

Kenwood mansion sells for record price—but at a loss

The fabulously ornate mansion built by the family that created the Goodman Theatre sold at a loss of at least half a million dollars.

The seven-bedroom, 17,800-square-foot mansion on Greenwood Avenue sold this week for $3.96 million. According to the listing posted by Eugene Fu of @properties, the sellers had renovated the house “at a cost of over $4.5M.” (See more photos below.)

It’s not clear whether that figure is on top of the $1.79 million that James and Pauline Montgomery paid for the house in 2003.

Neither Fu nor James Montgomery, a prominent attorney handling civil rights, personal injury and other cases, immediately responded to requests for comment.

Despite selling at a loss, the house grabbed the highest price on record for a Kenwood mansion, eclipsing the $3.95 million that buyers paid for planetarium founder Max Adler’s former home in 2013. The house is on the same block as the home that former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama own and a home that the Archdiocese of Chicago sold in July after owning it since the 1960s.

The house was built in 1892 by lumber baron William Goodman and his wife, Erna. After their son, aspiring playwright Kenneth Sawyer Goodman, died in the 1918 flu epidemic, the couple gave $250,000 to establish the Goodman Theatre, now one of Chicago’s most eminent theater companies. The amount they gave is equivalent to $4 million today.

For the Goodmans, architecture firm Treat & Foltz designed an opulent showcase of wood paneling and columns, ornamental plaster ceilings and enormous fireplaces decorated variously with tile, brick and wood.

On the third floor there’s a makeshift theater space that Kenneth Sawyer Goodman is reported to have used, confirmed the agent for the buyers, Susan O’Connor of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago. It is not seen in the listing photos but was in the house when a reporter toured the building in the early 2000s, before the Montgomerys bought and rehabbed the home.

The buyers are not yet identified in public records.

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