LINCOLN PARK — The Lakeview Avenue row houses near Diversey Parkway are being restored to their Georgian glory, potentially as a massive single-family home called Adler on the Park.
The four row houses, 2700-10 N. Lakeview Ave., already have been designated Chicago landmarks. Built in an attempt to bring the charm of British Georgian town houses to Chicago just at the northwest edge of Lincoln Park, they contain a lot of Chicago history as well.
"It's a great, great piece of Chicago history," said Bob Berg, president of Foster Design Build, which is handling the project.
David Adler designed the original row house at 2700 N. Lakeview for Emily Ryerson, widowed when her husband, Arthur, went down with the Titanic in 1912. It was a terrible year for the family of the Chicago steel magnate, as they were returning from Europe immediately after the death of Arthur Jr. in an auto accident.
They booked passage on the Titanic, and after it struck an iceberg, Arthur Ryerson obeyed the order of women and children first and ushered his wife and three other children to the lifeboats and stayed onboard the ship. Arthur Ryerson went down with the ship along with its more than 1,500 other victims. His body was never recovered.
Emily Ryerson, however, returned to her position in Chicago society, and three years later commissioned the project to build a set of row houses for herself and a few artist friends in the Georgian manner.
David Adler was credited with two, his architecture partner Henry Dangler with another, and Ambrose Cramer with the last. According to the "AIA Guide to Chicago," Dangler had to sign Adler's drawings because he never passed the engineering test necessary to become an architect.
Adler, however, gets full credit in the name for the Adler on the Park development, in which it could be reconfigured into one massive 16,000-square-foot home or kept separate as three condominiums. A ballroom and large parlor remain intact and will be retained.
"Anyone who seizes this opportunity now is able to custom design the interior," Berg said. "The opportunity also exists for this home to become three very large, wide-open, luxurious condominiums — each 5,000 square feet — that retain key design features.
"We're going to go down both tracks and see what the market dictates," he added.
The homes are on the market through @properties, with Berg estimating the asking price at $3.5 million to $4 million if separated into three condos, or $9.5 million to $10 million if kept whole. At that, it would be comparable to the Wrigley Mansion down the street at 2466 N. Lakeview, only with "more flexibility" in how it might be oriented by a buyer, he said.
Berg also touted tax breaks that accompany the site's landmark status.
Architect Tim LeVaughn is set to design the renovation however it's arranged. Preliminary work on the exterior is underway, and Berg said crews hope to begin the actual renovation in two weeks, as soon as the city approves permits.
Berg said Foster Design Build "takes on unique, significantly historic properties. We like to save them and help neighborhoods retain their character. We really get excited about these kinds of projects and researching their history."
The ballroom and a circular parlor will remain intact in Adler on the Park. (Foster Design Build)