CHICAGO — Could Al Capone's one-time home turn into a crash pad?
The gangster's former home in Grand Crossing is up for sale, and the National Real Estate Post, a Northern California real estate company, says it wants to buy it for an unusual purpose: providing a place to stay for those who work in the mortgage-lending business.
"We want to buy it, fix it and use it as crash pad for people in the mortgage-lending industry," said Brian Stevens, president of the National Real Estate Post. "If anyone with a national mortgage license system number finds themselves in Chicago, they have a place to stay."
Mauricio Pena discusses his walk-through tour of Al Capone's former house:
However, the effort has a long way to go: As of Thursday, the gofundme page had raised just $250 of its $230,000 goal.
Still, Stevens is confident that campaign will take off.
"We are going to start promoting next week on social media," Stevens said. "We have a big following, more than 100 million views, so once we start promoting it should take off."
Christine Moscinki, a Hinsdale real estate agent who found the listing and tweeted it out Oct. 23rd, said she is excited by Stevens' plan.
"I love the idea!!!" Moscinki said in an email. She previously started her own fundraising page in an effort to raise money to preserve the property and convert the home into a museum.
In 1923, Capone bought the six-bedroom home for $5,500 after moving to Chicago from New York. He lived there for eight years until he was sentenced to prison for tax evasion.
In 1963, Barbara Hogsette, the current owner, purchased the home for $29,500.The current listed price for the home at 7244 S. Prairie Ave. is $225,000. Hogsette, 77, has been trying to sell the home for several years, and the asking price has dropped dramatically from 2009, when it was listed at $450,000.
Stevens is surprised the home is still on the market despite the history surrounding its former owner.
"Al Capone is a big part of Prohibition history in the country and the city," Stevens said. "I'm surprised it hasn't been made into a landmark or a darn museum."
If someone buys the home before Stevens' company can, all proceeds raised will be donated to Roofs for Troops, a nonprofit organization that provides housing for veterans, Stevens said.
"Even if we don't raise enough money before someone else purchases the home, the money will go to help veterans find housing," Stevens said.
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