Lakefront Winnetka mansion to be demolished

Buyers spent $12.8M for century-old home

645 Sheridan Rd, Winnetka and James Challenger (Legacy.com, Redfin, Getty)
645 Sheridan Rd, Winnetka and James Challenger (Legacy.com, Redfin, Getty)

The buyers who shelled out $12.75 million for a century-old lakefront mansion in Winnetka plan to tear it down and build a new home.

The seven-bedroom home at 645 Sheridan Road, built around 1902, needs repairs and renovations, according to the buyer’s agent, @properties agent Milena Birov, Crain’s reported. “It’s not really livable unless you did a lot of renovation throughout,” she told the outlet.

The home, which doesn’t have landmark protection, was sold by the family of outplacement pioneer James Challenger, who owned it for half of the last century. When the family first listed the home in March, asking about $16 million, they were optimistic about the property’s future even if the home were to be demolished.

“Either way you go, it’s a project,” Annie Challenger, a daughter of James and Ruth “Timmie” Challenger who is a Baird & Warner agent, told the outlet at the time. “Either you love the house and want to restore it as a project, or you decide to build your own and it’s still a project.”

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After the sale closed and it became clear the buyers wanted to tear down the house, Annie Challenger, who represented the property for herself and four other James Challenger heirs, told the outlet that “as much as people love houses, we can’t dictate what new owners do.”

The house, on about 1.7 acres, was the sixth to sell for $10 million or more in the Chicago area this year. It’s also the second-priciest in Winnetka for 2022, trailing a $16 million sale in July.

James and Timmie Challenger paid $200,000 for the property in 1970, the equivalent of about $1.46 million today.

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