Uptown mansion is a bargain but, like neighborhood, needs work

SHARE Uptown mansion is a bargain but, like neighborhood, needs work

This “historic mansion” in the Uptown neighborhood recently went on the market for $650,000 — a relative bargain for an 11-bedroom, 3,850-square-foot home. It’s also near the dividing line between two street gangs. | Stefano Esposito/Sun-Times

Live like a king without squandering your fortune in this historic brownstone mansion. Easy walk to international culinary delights, jewelry merchant at quaint “Windsor Center.” Enjoy an eclectic, quirky neighborhood! A short stroll from the lakefront.

That might be one way to market the 11-bedroom property that recently went on the market in the Uptown neighborhood for $650,000 — about what one would pay for the average three-bedroom condo in Lincoln Park or Wicker Park.

But buying a new house is always about weighing the pros and cons. In this case, the cons include living near the dividing line between the rival Black P Stones and Conservative Vice Lords street gangs, cops will tell you.

“Almost every day there is police activity here,” said Arman Rad, 21, who rents an apartment next door to the mansion and has lived there since late 2014. “Last month, a guy was shot outside my house.”

A month before that, Rad said, someone was shot in front of his car on the opposite side of the street.

“We’ve put our building on lockdown at least three times in the last year,” said an employee of the neighboring drop-in center for homeless teens who didn’t want his name used.

But consider the possibilities for the large home at 4516 N. Sheridan Road, built in 1905 by a doctor, at a time when Uptown resembled a more sparsely populated Gold Coast.

“Attention developers, universities and colleges, consulates, community organizations!” begins the Koenig Rubloff Realty Group listing. “Amazing opportunity to own an historic mansion with many vintage details intact.”

Those details include a “grand staircase” and stained glass windows. The property, the current home to St. Augustine’s Center for American Indians, also comes with five parking spaces.

Across the street, in the Windsor Center strip mall, dining offerings include Ms. Egg Roll Chinese & Vietnamese Fast Food. A “We buy gold” flag flutters in the breeze near the Just Pawn store.

The building’s current owners declined several opportunities to talk about the property and why they’re selling. St. Augustine’s has owned the deed to the building since 1969, according to Cook County records.

Susan Cole Bainbridge, a real estate agent who recently sold a home in neighboring Margate Park for $1.4 million, said it looks as though the North Sheridan property is priced right.

“It looks like it needs a whole lot of updating,” Bainbridge said.

Similarly sized mansions in the more affluent Buena Park neighborhood just to the south tend to be in the $1.5 million to $3 million range, she said.

And Uptown, perennially on the cusp of a major revival, may actually be heading in that direction now, Bainbridge said. Uptownupdate.com, a popular source for neighborhood news, frequently posts stories about new and on-going building projects, including the brand-new Wilson Red Line stop.

The listing for the brownstone suggests the home could be placed on the local historic registry. Or the whole thing could be demolished to make way for a condo building.

“I would really hope not,” Bainbridge said. “It’s a beautiful building.”

The Latest
Jurrell Baldwin and Bryce Heard return, Jehvion Starwood commits and the Chicago Elite Classic field is revealed.
Francona, who won two World Series titles with the Red Sox and is Cleveland’s winningest manager, hasn’t officially announced his retirement but is expected to do so formally early next week.
The GOP-controlled House Judiciary Committee held the hearing at Fraternal Order of Police headquarters to discuss violence in the city.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer so far is still silent on whether Sen. Bob Menendez, facing federal corruption charges, should step down.