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Harry Weese-designed town home sells for $2.25 million

A three-bedroom, 4,100-square-foot multilevel town home in the Fulton River neighborhood near the East Bank Club that was designed by architect Harry Weese sold Friday for $2.25 million.

The town home, whose design has a nautical theme complete with portholes and triangular windows, is one of four attached "river cottages" that Weese designed on the onetime site of a Galena & Chicago Union railroad station, which was Chicago's first railroad depot. It was listed in October for $2.3 million and went under contract after less than a week on the market.

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Public records do not yet identify the buyer.

Built in the late 1980s, the town home has 2 1/2 baths, five indoor levels, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors in the living and dining rooms, an outdoor patio, a rooftop space and 45 feet of private riverfront, along with a concrete sea wall that could be used to dock a boat. All four of the postmodern-style town homes have a very vertical feel to them.

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Now, for the first time since the homes were built, one of them has changed hands. Seller Susan Rinke and her late husband, Jim Whitmer, bought the town home from Weese, who originally had plans for a much more expansive development in the area. In the mid-1990s, Whitmer and Rinke were involved in controversy when they received a low-interest disaster-relief loan from the federal government to repair the sea wall in front of their home, which they contended had been damaged by efforts to repair the Great Chicago Flood of 1992. The couple's efforts angered some of their neighbors in the town homes, who charged that the government's $250,000-plus loan would be used to help fund the home's boat dock.

In February 2014, Whitmer's body was found in the home after firefighters extinguished a blaze there. The house didn't suffer any structural damage, but it did require Whitmer's widow, Rinke, to make upgrades before placing it up on the market.

Bob Goldsborough is a freelance reporter.

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