Don Bacigalupi, the founding president of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, paid $2.725 million on June 30 to buy a four-level, 7,600-square-foot brick mansion in east Lincoln Park.
Bacigalupi's purchase closed six days after it was announced that the museum would no longer consider Chicago a potential site. His purchase is reflective solely of poor timing, said Katherine Malkin of Baird & Warner, the real estate agent who represented him.
"He put it under contract a long time ago, and there was a closing date. He could have chosen to walk away, but he did the honorable thing in going ahead and closing on it," Malkin told Elite Street.
Months ago, Bacigalupi was drawn to the mansion, which he bought from longtime owner Irving Stenn. Built in 1880, the mansion had been run-down when Stenn, a lawyer and philanthropist, purchased it in the 1960s. He embarked on a full-fledged renovation, designed by noted architect Harry Weese.
Today the mansion has original stained-glass windows, pocket doors and fireplaces — all of which have been restored — as well as white gallery-style walls, custom recessed channel track art lighting, oak floors and oversized windows. The mansion also has two decks, a passenger elevator and an attached two-car garage, all on a 50-by-130-foot lot, very large for Lincoln Park.
"(Don) loved the location, he loved the volume and the space for artwork," Malkin said. "And he loved the fact that it was a Harry Weese (redesign). He looked for a long time for this house."
Malkin said Bacigalupi shortly will place the mansion back on the market.
Bob Goldsborough is a freelance reporter.