If They Build It, Will Someone Buy It? 2038 N. Mohawk in Lincoln Park

We were recently chattering about million dollar custom homes on the North Side that have been built during the last 2 years, even amidst the worst decline in housing prices in Chicago’s history, that presumably were built on spec.

This 6-bedroom new construction mansion at 2038 N. Mohawk in Lincoln Park first came on the market in September of 2010.

2038-n-mohawk.jpg

(This picture was taken just as they were finishing construction.)

At 6700 square feet and on a standard Chicago lot of 25×125, it has a limestone facade.

The house also has luxury finishes such as rift sawn white oak floors, 8 foot walnut doors and Ann Sacks tile.

The kitchen has white cabinets (white is “in” again!) and stainless steel appliances.

2 bedrooms are on the second floor, 3 are on the third floor and 1 is in the lower level.

There is also a lower level media room.

The garage is heated and attached.

How long will it take to sell this new house?

(Keep in mind that several $4 million+ homes HAVE sold in Lincoln Park already this year, including former news anchor Diane Burns’ house.)

Jennifer Ames at Coldwell Banker has the listing. See the pictures here.

2038 N. Mohawk: 6 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, 6700 square feet, attached garage

  • New Construction
  • Originally listed in September 2010 for $4.25 million
  • Currently still listed at $4.25 million
  • Taxes are “new”
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 19×16 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 19×17 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 19×18 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 19×16 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #5: 10×14 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #6: 16×16 (lower level)
  • Media room: 19×17 (lower level)

64 Responses to “If They Build It, Will Someone Buy It? 2038 N. Mohawk in Lincoln Park”

  1. “The kitchen has white cabinets (white is “in” again!) and stainless steel appliances”

    How can they get the cabinets right and the appliances so, so very wrong. Stoopid midwesterners with their taste firmly in their mouths.

  2. $3.5?

  3. But seriously, the kitchen seems a little skimpy on the storage space, unless that pantry is larger than it appear on the floorplan.

    And whywhywhy did they include a tv niche above the fireplace?

  4. Seems awfully risky to build a house in this bracket on spec in any economic climate, which is why the place, while it is really very attractive, is still awfully bland and will still have to be altered to suit for anyone who buys it. When you buy new housing, you want your finishes, not those the builder chooses, especially in this bracket.

    The TV niche, for example, is silly. The bath fixtures are developer-grade and I would want to change them. The kitchen lacks storage and I would do it much differently.

    Still a very nice place with attractive architecture and it will probably sell close to ask, given what people have been paying for LP single family houses.

  5. Please cue the Bare Naked Ladies CD please.

    If I had 4 million dollars,
    If I had 4 million dollars,
    If I had 4 million dollars……I’d be rich.

    Oh and although I do like this place it would not motivate me enough to purchase it and I would likely buy elsewhere. The good news is that unless we hit the powerball numbers few of us will ever have this kind of F/U money to spend on a SFH in Chicago so our humble opinions are useless to this builder.

    Someone will buy it. Calling Clio, Clio where are you, Clio come home!

  6. Looks like a very well built home, I would like to see it in person. True, most all of the finishes are very neutral and probably intended for broad appeal. I would guess any buyer in this bracket can negotiate a change list before closing.

  7. It is a very neutrally decorated house, a clean slate that makes it marketable to many. The problem is the aforementioned many cannot afford $4million : )

  8. Whats the point now, why even buy in chicago anymore?

    why do it when little twinkle toes is going to cancel the fireworks because of “money”.

    des moines here i come!

  9. “why do it when little twinkle toes is going to cancel the fireworks because of “money” des moines here i come!”

    wait a minute – you are leaving because someone who is fiscally responsible is now in office? Are you joking? I hope you are not that retarded (sorry madeline) that you realize this “money” comes out of our (well… mostly my and my neighbors’) taxes. Nothing is free…

  10. Clio,

    wow the narcissism has over taken the logical part of your brain and voided all that top level schooling you were privileged to!

    money is in quotes for a reason not by a fat fingered error.

  11. For 4 million, I want a wider house. Its great but still really narrow…I would think it would feel confining after awhile.

  12. I believe I saw this house on LXTV and it has an elevator in it? maybe not, can’t look up at the moment

    Man that is a really nice house but like a local said, If i’m shelling out 4 million bucks I’d at least like a double lot, I remember from watching the video that the hallways seemed exceptionally narrow

  13. What did the twin next door sell for?

  14. “or 4 million, I want a wider house. Its great but still really narrow…I would think it would feel confining after awhile.”

    then move to the suburbs…..

  15. Groove, you could just buy this one and with the 3.9 million you save, redo the kitchen

    http://www.coldwellbankeronline.com/property/details/2042971/MLS-07773698/Mount-Carroll-IL-61053.aspx

  16. My friend just bought basically the exact same house (layout and finishes wise) just south of north ave on Mohawk for $1.75MM. There is definitely a premium for being 5 blocks north… and the facade on this home is much nicer, but that doesnt add up to a $2.7MM premium.

    http://www.redfin.com/IL/Chicago/1449-N-Mohawk-St-60610/home/14117508

  17. Bob 2 (Not Bob) on June 2nd, 2011 at 8:39 am

    “The kitchen has white cabinets (white is “in” again!)”

    but aren’t the “in” ones the ultra modern lacquer ones, not this old timey bullshit?

  18. dd – looks like $4M in 2008.

  19. The Mt. Carroll house would cost hundreds of thousands to get into decent shape. Definitely not worth it. But that is a beautiful part of Illinois.

  20. I find it amazing how similar the first floor and basement floor are to a new duplex down. Similar finishes, similar styles. I’d want more than two extra floors for $4M.

  21. “My friend just bought basically the exact same house (layout and finishes wise) just south of north ave on Mohawk for $1.75MM. There is definitely a premium for being 5 blocks north… and the facade on this home is much nicer, but that doesnt add up to a $2.7MM premium. ”

    That house is quite a bit smaller (brochure here http://www.leapre.com/PDFViewer.asp?Brochure=leap/brochures/BR3776432818.PDF for now), and it’s not in Lincoln, beyond just the difference b/t the parts of the neighborhood they are both in.

    That said, I like the house itself better, especially with the price diff. I’d like it better if the price diff were “only” $1mm, too, but might find the location/school thing + the additional space worth $1mm. But $2.5 extra is pretty steep.

  22. “The Mt. Carroll house would cost hundreds of thousands to get into decent shape. ”

    Whats a Mt Carroll? Is that anywhere near Park Ridge?

  23. “The Mt. Carroll house would cost hundreds of thousands to get into decent shape. Definitely not worth it. But that is a beautiful part of Illinois.”

    hard to say for certain. The kitchen needs updating and you’d probably want to add a bath, but if the bones are in good shape and it is in true move in condition, then you can do as much or as little as you want/need over time.

    I really have no idea where Mt Carroll is but according to google, it looks like almost Iowa :D

  24. Mt. Carroll is near the Mississipi in northwestern Illinois. It’s not far from Galena, actually, which you’ve probably heard of. I’ve spent a lot of vacation time in that part of the state, and the forests, bluffs and rolling hills, along with well-preserved 19th-century towns make it a quaint, charming region. (I sound like I should do PR for the state of Illinois).

  25. What is the acceptable color/material for the fridge and stove? I like the white cabinets, but there’s not much contrast in the room.

  26. This is kind of a straw man as to the recent argument cited by Sabrina, in my opinion. The market for teardown SFHs around $1 million to $1.5 million is very different from that for $4 million mansions (I think that the “mc” would be too perjorative here).

    The former is, notwithstanding hd’s protestations, just within the reach of a fiscally responsible couple with two workers with good to excellent careers or a single breadwinner with a very good career in finance, medicine or law. Realistically you need income of about $600k / year and a down payment of about $300k to buy a property like that.

    A $3 million – $4 million property requires an entirely different level of income and/or assets – this is mostly going to be people who have very high incomes ($1 million or above), have a trust fund or have inherited significant family money. It’s also not going to be very many people who have made their own money – lots of older trust fund kids and people living off their parents’ estates. It’s not unheard of, but it’s a lot rarer in Chicago than in New York for a person owning a property like this to be “self-made”. So I don’t think how fact this property sells and at what price is that applicable to properties listed at a third of this one.

    Back to the spec builder issue, if you’re a spec builder, you’re a spec builder. You also presumably have some decent access to capital and some ability to weather downturns. A house like this takes at least a year and probably two to build anyway. Someone in this situation has to make smart decisions and be mindful of the market, but it doesn’t make sense just to stop doing this business because of a bad few years. It’s not like these guys are going to pick a different career after a few decades of spec building.

    I like the finishes, and they are neutral enough to be changed pretty easily. It’s not really relevant if it’s not your exact cup of tea – a few hundred thousand would make a lot of nice changes.

  27. Dan#2:
    I agree Mt Carroll is one of those quaint towns. Iirc Mt Carroll is former site of Shimer College which relocated, most recently to south side of Chicago. I wonder if their former campus is purchaseable for less than a million?

  28. gringozecarioca on June 2nd, 2011 at 9:45 am

    “What is the acceptable color/material for the fridge and stove? I like the white cabinets, but there’s not much contrast in the room.”

    Yep. I have had both white with white, and white with stainless steel, never an issue with contrast in 3D. The brown floor with white walls makes it a bitch to take a photo, for an amateur. But for a professional photographer inexcusable. Shit photo of possibly the most important room.

  29. “Realistically you need income of about $600k / year ”

    To buy a house for, say, $1.1mm? With a $300k dp? C’mon.

    Certainly more than $250, even with “only” an $800k mortgage, but $600? Really? I guess if 3 kids + private school is part of the equation, but otherwise, that’s *very* conservative.

  30. “I have had both white with white, and white with stainless steel, never an issue with contrast in 3D.”

    Agreed. But that’s just because we both are not up to Elle Decor standards, Ze. If we had *real* taste, we’d see how prole and dated that kitchen–and SS appliances–really are.

  31. JJJ, you are the master of strawman arguments. In your argument against strawmans, you errected an argument, alleged that I would protest your strawman, and then you proceed to knock that strawman down. Well done!

  32. gringozecarioca on June 2nd, 2011 at 9:56 am

    anon.. Is there a running joke I missed on the TV fireplace niche? I like it. Easy to close if you don’t, send James to Home Depot to get me some 2*4′s and a sheet of drywall :-) I think smartly done.

    The thinness of the place would be my problem. $4 mil I ain’t happy feeling tight. Funny that place facing Lincoln Park Zoo someone linked to once still $ for $ my favorite. White kitchen too.

    Question…Privacy. Are you waving to your neighbors on the roof here?

  33. “It’s not like these guys are going to pick a different career after a few decades of spec building”

    Here is proof positive from a great builder that I admire. Perhaps someday I’ll be able to afford to hire this firm to build my dream home.

    http://www.environsdevelopment.com/index.php/site/prior/

    1995 – 2003 he averaged 5 homes per year with the exception of 2001
    04 – 7 homes
    05 – 9 homes
    06 – 7 homes
    07 – 9 homes
    08 – 10 homes
    09 – 8 homes
    10 – 6 homes
    11 – 2 homes

    They cut back but can find a way to make money even at lesser volume of houses. I am sure that it also helps profit margins today as they mainly do homes over $4Million vs. the old days when they were around $1 – $2 Million.

  34. “‘Realistically you need income of about $600k / year’

    To buy a house for, say, $1.1mm? With a $300k dp? C’mon.”

    I should have noted that I was citing what I consider to be pretty conservative requirements, and, to be fair, I was thinking about the top of the range with that number, so a purchase price of around $1.5 million. I edited out $400k at the low end of that range (for a $1 million house), which I also think is about right. Folks buying in that range should have more than the minimum (presumably, these days, to get a good rate) 20% down payment, but I think that you would need to get close to $600k in income to meet what I would consider to be appropriate ratios with a $1.2 million mortgage on a $1.5 million home. This gets into the jumbo / super jumbo thing again, but the mortgage rates really start to go up for loan balances above $1 million. A couple with incomes in that range is also probably getting hit pretty hard with AMT and losing most of the traditional deductions.

    So, I admit it’s conservative, but I’ve found that 3 times income still holds up pretty well as an affordability level. In my opinion, certainly no “normal” buyers should be buying a $1.5 million house with less than $500k of income.

  35. gringozecarioca on June 2nd, 2011 at 10:00 am

    “But that’s just because we both are not up to Elle Decor standards, Ze.”

    Na na ne na no!! If I had an hour I’d find that combo in some Roma Casa Euro Mod magazine and then we would be uber euro trash ahead of the curve chic! Or we could wait 5 years until Elle goes back to white cabinets and SS appliance…

    See growin up in the schmata business you learn quickly why they have to change and promote other styles so fast.

  36. “I really have no idea where Mt Carroll is but according to google, it looks like almost Iowa.”

    And just north of Forgottonia.

  37. “Is there a running joke I missed on the TV fireplace niche?”

    Yeah. And, apart from “TV over the fireplace” being a derided “feature” of commodity box condos, it leaves it too high to really watch. Think it’s actually okay, in a niche, in certain circumstances, but not in the “formal” living room of a $4mm place, nor in a media room setting, more like a game room or another room (bar/tavern) where watching tv would be a secondary activity.

    “Are you waving to your neighbors on the roof here?”

    Yep, but it looks to be a bit too far to share the hookah, unless you get it custom made.

  38. “JJJ, you are the master of strawman arguments. In your argument against strawmans, you errected an argument, alleged that I would protest your strawman, and then you proceed to knock that strawman down. Well done!”

    I’m not totally sure that you know what a strawman argument is, but you may. Sabrina is using this property as a lead-in to address the discussion about teardowns over the last few days, but I really do think that picking an upper bracket property changes the discussion, and that was my point. I still view her as bearish on local real estate, and I think that this property might have been picked to support that view (and to demonstrate that teardown and large SFH building activities are currently irrationally exuberant).

    Your argument almost every day is that prices of SHFs on the North Side don’t make sense, because they are too high for two people making $75k each to afford. You cite your compartmentalized experience as an argument that these prices are out of wack because no one can afford these houses. That’s not true, and it’s not like I am ascribing to you an argument you haven’t made repeatedly here.

  39. “I agree Mt Carroll is one of those quaint towns. Iirc Mt Carroll is former site of Shimer College which relocated, most recently to south side of Chicago. I wonder if their former campus is purchaseable for less than a million?”

    southbound, it is now the site of the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies.

    http://www.campbellcenter.org/

  40. gringozecarioca on June 2nd, 2011 at 10:21 am

    “Think it’s actually okay, in a niche, in certain circumstances, but not in the “formal” living room of a $4mm place”

    Appears I wrongly assumed that was the office. Thought it was an AWESOME office. See, THAT’S where the thinness kills this place.

    Pretty though, and it is in Lincoln!!!!!!!!!! ROFLMAO!!

  41. JJJ, rates on super jumbos (as long as you are willing to go with ARMs as most jumbo lenders don’t like 30 year rates) are VERY attractive. 5/1 ARM on a $3 million loan (req’s 45% down payment) is around 3.375%. $1.5 mill loan with 20% down would be in the mid to upper 3′s on a 5/1 ARM.

    Most of the folks I see buying houses like these tend to be self made upper level or C execs, business owners, or established partners or doctors. Very few trust fund types.

    Typical income I see of people getting $1 million mortgages in Chicago is a solid $400-$500k. Folks I see buying $2+ million dollar properties tend to make $1-$2m per year.

  42. “Thought it was an AWESOME office.”

    Yeah, that would be. Especially with a 9′ slate pool table, ala eyes wide shut.

  43. “JJJ, rates on super jumbos (as long as you are willing to go with ARMs as most jumbo lenders don’t like 30 year rates) are VERY attractive. 5/1 ARM on a $3 million loan (req’s 45% down payment) is around 3.375%. $1.5 mill loan with 20% down would be in the mid to upper 3’s on a 5/1 ARM.”

    I agree that they are good, but last time I looked it was about a 50 bps bump on a super jumbo 5/1 ARM with at 20% down payment over the same jumbo 5/1 ARM with 20% down (and, like you said, the super jumbo lenders usually want to see well more than 20% for the best rates). Not a huge premium, but definitely an additional expense. Is this accurate?

    “Very few trust fund types.”

    Probably an age thing – most of my friends are early 40s or under, so the mansion owners skew towards the parentally gifted. Us folks who need to work are not generally in upper bracket (whatever that means in this market segment) properties. I’ve also found that most people aren’t going to tell you if they have a trust fund (although this might be disclosed to a mortgage broker as a source of income) or a lot of family money, and it’s less obvious if there’s some other reasonable explanation for their income and wealth.

  44. These oversized new construction ‘luxury’ houses all start to look the same to me. Yes it’s huge, yes it has overly high ceilings, yes it has an excess of bathrooms.

    The excess of interior square footage comes at the expense of a yard! You get a roof deck on the garage and maybe a little claustrophobic brick patio.

  45. yo all, won’t this make a pretty good comp? if so isn’t this place a good 20-30% overpriced?
    http://www.redfin.com/IL/Chicago/1728-N-Cleveland-Ave-60614/home/13346707

  46. miumiu: perhaps, but if anything I’d say that the place on Cleavland (closed at 2.9) provides some support for my rough estimation of this place on Mohawk fetching around 3.5. The place on Cleavland, while very nice, has been lived in (albeit only for two years), whereas the Mohawk place has never been used. And the Mohawk place is a better location (even though…and I can’t believe I’m typing this…it’s technically a block west). I’d say the “brand new” factor is worth between $100-200k, and the location is about $400-500k better (relative to the price range of these homes).

  47. I never thought brand new mattered for a home. It is not a car. But, I might be wrong on that and it must be just me. I actually prefer a home that has been lived in to make sure everything is functioning. As for the location I trust you anonny. I am not familiar enough with the area.

  48. http://www.redfin.com/IL/Chicago/1927-N-Cleveland-Ave-60614/home/13347408

    I think this is a better comp, that sold at 3.4M. Let me add the the person that lived here bought it for 4M CASH in late 2009, and then decided to move and just ditched it.

  49. flo, indeed. I sure like the fireplace on the patio at 1927.

  50. Whatever they sell it for, it won’t be the most expensive house on the block. Drove past on the way to a thing–who is building the *monster* house across the street?

  51. Here’s a brand new comp, closer to the lake so that annony is more comfortable.

    http://www.redfin.com/IL/Chicago/1907-N-Lincoln-Park-W-60614/home/21769696

    Redfin is fun when you turn off the upper price bracket filter! Guess I should amp up those options plays or just go straight to the lottery.

  52. “Here’s a brand new comp”

    Brand new and 4 years old at the same time.

    Wisconsin is one serious wind tunnel right there and tho the plaza is better than the bus turn around, it still ain’t that great.

  53. 1907 LPW is an interesting listing. It’s an odd little sub-hood right there with the hidden coul-de-sac (I cut through on my way home from Renali’s a few weeks ago, and realized that I never even knew it existed). They need to plant several trees around the new SFHs. That plot (and location) seems better suited to have built an awesome low/mid-rise (e.g., a small lobby and parking garage on the ground floor, with 6 – 10 full-floor condo units). In any event, I’m glad to see that they’re finally hitting the market (and hopefully becoming occupied).

  54. “That plot (and location) seems better suited to have built an awesome low/mid-rise (e.g., a small lobby and parking garage on the ground floor, with 6 – 10 full-floor condo units).”

    Would have needed re-zoning. Wasn’t gonna happen.

    They took way too long to get the assisted care facility torn down and ground broken on those places. And you are right, even if they’d moved fast enough, they’re the wrong product in that spot.

  55. Can’t remember which recent thread it was that talked about teachers, but I figured this is as good a place as any to post this:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/fat-city_567621.html

  56. chuk, very worthwhile article, but it’s not within the “teachers” discussion. Rather, that one’s for the academic discussions (plural, because at the college level, it not only impacts taxpayers and students, as with k – 12, but academics; and yes, unions and various other policies impact teachers, but mostly to their benefit, whereas newly minted PhD’s are the largest growing group of highly educated indentured servants in this country, off of whose backs universities make bank).

  57. “Brand new and 4 years old at the same time.

    Wisconsin is one serious wind tunnel right there and tho the plaza is better than the bus turn around, it still ain’t that great.”

    You are pretty particular, aren’t you?

  58. Chuck, most young academics will not have as nice perks and retirement packages when they retire. Also unlike in humanities, in many disciplines like science, engineering,… the faculty bring in much more money than their salaries through grants which schools take hefty overheads from, or say in finance through MBA programs. Furthermore most academics in top schools work more than 10-12 hours a day easily and work their weekends as well. In fact, if other jobs were paid as much on what one produces rather than a constant fee paid for spending 9-5 in an office, believe me there would be way less waste.

  59. gringozecarioca on June 3rd, 2011 at 4:10 am

    miu… Serious question. What could possibly occupy 10-12 hr days? Writing a book?

  60. “Also unlike in humanities, in many disciplines like science, engineering,… the faculty bring in much more money than their salaries through grants”

    That WAS the case. Sure, today, research academics bring are under pressure to keep the money pouring in. But the real profit centers (or at least revenue generators) at most schools are in the humanities. This is because many of not most of humanties courses – at least the lower division ones fulfulling requirements – are handled by adjuncts. It used to be the case that a few classes in each subject would be handled by grad students – that’s part of the deal for their stipend, and their training. But now, in addition to the grad students, the ever-growing multitude of newly minted PhDs are handling much of the course load, typically making between $2-4k per course (with 2 or 3 being more common). The highest paid adjuncts, some teaching 4 courses both semesters, make no more than $32k/year, often with little or no benefits. It’s enough to make one want to found a college!

  61. gringozecarioca on June 3rd, 2011 at 5:07 am

    U of CC… Get your World Coming to an End degree.

  62. “You are pretty particular, aren’t you?”

    You new around here?

    At least no one is claiming those houses arent in real LP because they’re west of Clark.

  63. Environs is nothing short of excellent, and the principal / architect there basically invented the open floor plan high end Chicago SFH design you see today in the mid 1990s. He has been in business for 20 years (him, not his father etc).

    Truth be told, they are so up market now it’s a little unfortunate. The homes they did in the 1990s are the best deals going in my view. Even today, they don’t stay on the market long. One just went under contract from 1998 vintage in a week or so from list. Unheard of in this market. These were 700 to 800k in the mid/late 1990s now trading around $1.1 or so. Well below replacement for the construction quality.

  64. [...] See our prior chatter here. [...]

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