LINCOLN PARK — The "pristine" Wrigley Mansion — listed for $7.15 million at 2466 N. Lakeview Ave. — is in such good shape in part because it stood vacant for decades.
Realtor Anthony Disano confirmed Monday that former owner Ted Tetzlaff said it was all but abandoned by the Wrigley family "for 40 or 50 years" with only a caretaker in the coach house to tend to it.
The Wrigleys might have abandoned the building over kidnapping concerns around the time of the Lindbergh baby murder in 1932.
A 1983 Tribune story called it "a local legend" that Philip K. Wrigley moved his family to a new apartment building at 1500 N. Lake Shore Drive in the early '30s over kidnapping concerns.
The chicago.designlinger blog reported two years ago that the Wrigleys were subjected to a genuine kidnapping threat in 1930. According to its version of events, P.K. Wrigley's sister, Dorothy, and her husband, James Offield, received a threat that their daughter, Betty, would be kidnapped unless they delivered a portion of the family fortune. They were living at the time at 1400 N. Astor Place.
What's known is that the Wrigley Mansion in Lincoln Park was built in 1896 by architect Richard Schmidt for beer baron Joseph Theurer, owner of the Schoenhofen Brewing Company. (The residence is sometimes called the Theurer-Wrigley Home.)
He sold it to William Wrigley Jr., the chewing-gum magnate, in 1911, and he sold to his son P.K. in 1922. P.K. Wrigley and his family moved out in 1931, but retained ownership past his death in 1977. It was sold to Nicholas Jannes in 1984 after the city had quashed an attempt to demolish it to make room for an apartment high-rise, then rushed to grant it landmark status in 1979.
"I moved onto the block in 1977, and it was vacant then," neighbor William Lutz said.
It was also briefly considered as possibly the formal mayoral residence, although the city never followed through on that proposal.
Jannes "did some major restoration," Disano said, returning the building to its original glory, but Tetzlaff, former head of the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority, continued on the same course after he bought it in 2004, right down to the brass door hinges.
"You walk in there, and you can't believe it's 120 years old," Disano said. "It looks brand new."
"The entire estate has been well maintained through the years and is in pristine condition," reads the real-estate listing, which includes an online 3-D tour. That includes the gold-leaf ceilings and a 500-square-foot tile mosaic.
Disano said there's been "a lot of interest" in buying the building, which Tetzlaff actually listed for $9.5 million in 2011 before it went into foreclosure. According to Disano, private schools, a hotel, a banquet restaurant and private owners have expressed interest.