Titanic survivor's mansion will become residential once again
A dilapidated Chicago mansion, built 100 years ago for a survivor of the Titanic, is in the hands of a restoration-minded developer who's moving ahead on two tracks at once, offering it either as a single-family home or divided into three condos.
The 16,000-square-foot mansion at 2700 Lakeview Ave. in Lincoln Park was originally built for Emily Ryerson and her three children, five years after they escaped the sinking Titanic in lifeboats. Her husband, Arthur, a member of the Ryerson steel family, went down with the ship.
Photo by Dennis Rodkin
The mansion hasn't been used as a residence since 1946, and most of its interior has been carved up and banged up, a Crain's reporter saw on a walk-through. Some historical details from the original design by society architects David Adler and Henry Dangler are intact, including carved plaster busts that top some door frames, ornamental columns in the foyer, and detailed plaster crown moldings in a few rooms.
"On the interior, anything that is architecturally significant we're going to preserve and incorporate into the new design," said Bob Berg, president of Foster Design Build, whose investors bought the property last month. "For everything else, we start over."
Berg said he would prefer to rehab the four-story mansion as a single-family home, whose price would start at $9.5 million, but, with architect Tim LeVaughn, he is also drawing up plans to divide it into three condominiums, priced from $3.5 million to $4 million.
"We'll see which one the market says to do," said Wendy Berg, the developer's wife and an @properties agent. She is co-listing the property with Carrie McCormick, also of @properties. Elevators will be included in either configuration, Bob Berg said.
The building's history and architectural legacy "are remarkable," said Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago. "It would really be wonderful if it could be restored as a single-family home. It's on the scale of what we're seeing built new in Lincoln Park." Miller is not associated with the developer or the building but was part of a successful effort in 2016 to declare a landmark district made up of the row of five Georgian row houses that includes the Ryerson mansion.