Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Windy City House Jamie Dimon Can't Seem to Sell

SELLER: Jamie and Judith Dimon
PRICE: $9,500,000
SIZE: 13,500 square feet 8 bedrooms, 9 full and 2 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Depending on what side of the financial fence the children sit, Jamie Dimon–Chairman, President, and CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase–is either one of the smartest men to ever put on a pin striped suit or he's the devil incarnate, a Machiavellian hornet more concerned about the size of his own bank accounts than the health of the U.S. economy.

Whatever the children may think of him, he is one of the luckiest and most financially fortunate men in the world. In 2006 Fortune magazine estimated Mister Dimon's total compensation tallied up to a staggering $41,200,000 making him, shockingly, only the 19th highest paid man in America. By 2008 according to Fortune, amid the economic meltdown of the U.S. economy created in large part by the financial malfeasance of institutions such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Mister Dimon's income had dipped down–the poor lamb–to a mere $36,000,000. According to a September 2009 article on the New York Times blog Economix–which cites the Census Bureau's annual report on income, poverty, and health insurance–that was than 700 times the median household income of $50,303 for Americans in 2008.

Listen bunnies, Your Mama does not begrudge anyone wealth or creature comforts but there is something that makes our soul ache with unfairness and shame that in a country where working families can't afford decent meat or a new pair of shoes for their children bankers by the hundred are raking in far more money than they or their families will ever need. We realize that many of you will not agree and we'll probably take some heat for saying this, but when push comes to shove, a banker really doesn't work any harder than a farmer, a teacher, a small business owner or–dare we say–a writer who types their fingers to the nubbins every day to bring the children some juicy celebrity real estate gossip.

In the fall of 2000, shortly after being named CEO of the Chicago-based Bank One and relocating from his native New York City to the Windy City, Mister and his wife Judith shelled out $4,680,000 for a titanic 26-room mansion on the super swank Gold Coast. At that time the purchase price was, according to Mister Big Time, one of the highest amounts ever proferred for a private home in the history of Chicago. While the purchase of a home of this expense and consequence was an indication to some that Mister and Missus Dimon were in Chicago to stay, the well compensated financier and his wife opted not to pull up their residential roots in New York City where they hung on to a multi-million dollar Park Avenue cooperative apartment.

In 2004 Bank One was purchased by J.P. Morgan Chase and, having been appointed to the position of president of the ever expanding financial institution, Mister Dimon returned to his New York City roots where in November of 2004 he and the wife dumped $4,875,000 for an apartment immediately adjacent to the one they already owned on Park Avenue. It is said–and reported–that Mister Dimon combined the two apartments into one CEO-style spread that includes a sound proofed room where he likes to listen to Frank Sinatra at full volume.

A couple of years later, in late 2006 according to prop records and previous reports, he and the wife forked over $17,050,000 for an approximately 30 acre piece of property in the unincorporated Westchester County hamlet of Bedford Corners, NY. Your Mama doesn't know if the property then or now has a house on it, but it's not a stretch to imagine that since buying the bucolic spread Mister and Missus Dimon renovated an existing mansion or built themselves a large and wildly expensive residence commensurate with their extreme wealth and exhalted position within the Wall Street world.

All of this brings us back around, children, to Mister and Missus Dimon's dee-luxe digs in Chicago. In the spring of 2007, no longer in need of their gigantic Gold Coast townhouse, they heaved the beast on to the market with an asking price of $13,500,000. Thirteen and some million clams for a townhouse in New York ain't but a pittance, but in Chicago the Dimon's desired price made it one of the most expensive properties on the market. However and but alas, more than three years and several cyclopean price chops later, the Dimon's four floor plus a full finished basement townhouse remains on the market as one of the most expensive properties for sale in Chicago with a still sky high asking price of $9,500,000.

Listing information for the lavish family (and live in staff) friendly corner property shows that there are a total of 8 bedrooms and 9 full and 2 half poopers including a blow it out of the box full floor master suite. The imposing, dignified, and somewhat dour looking house that gives Your Mama a vague vibe of an academic building at an expensive east coast college was built in the 1890s and sits just two short blocks off Lake Michigan. Put on a sweater butter beans and try to imagine the icy winter winds that come whipping off that body of water and right up against the windows and doors of this house. A few more blocks away is the pretty and pristine Oak Street Beach, arguably Chicago's best beach particularly if you're among the city's hoity-toity like to be seen in a $200 bikini crowd.

Anyhoo, The fully renovated and lavishly if not particularly excitingly decorated Dimon digs maintain a fairly typical townhouse layout with utilities mostly lined up along the back wall, formal public rooms on the lower floor, family quarters on the upper floors, and staff and services down in the basement. Before y'all get a'beefin' and a'tryin' to school Your Mama on how townhouses traditionally had staff quarters shoved up into their low-ceilinged top floors, we know. However it is our non-scientific assessment that in order to take advantage of the best light and air available to tightly packed townhouse properties, many if not most newer or newly renovated townhouses keep the top floor for private use and stick the staff quarters downstairs.

The children will note that the Dimon's townhouse is not equipped with an elevator which means LaVeda the Laudress spent many an hour haul and heaving the laundry and linens up and down 4 damn flights of stairs. We don't dare breathe a word about the lack of an elevator to our sassy and demanding house gurl Svetlana lest she start hollerin' and hysterically turning cartwheels of furry and indignation in solidarity with LaVeda's stair climbing misfortune that makes her little more than a damn beast of burden.

The main floor has a large foyer that steps up to a "reception hall" fitted with a gently curving staircase, powder pooper, elaborate moldings and plaster ceiling details, and flooring that is probably some kind of rare and hideously expensive wood but looks in the listing photo like the sort of cah-cuh colored linoleum Your Mama's step-father's step-mother had in the kitchen of her triple wide back in the 1970s.

The reception hall is flanked by the 30-foot long formal living room on one side and the 29-foot long formal dining room painted an unusual but pleasant shade of pumpkin on the other. The living room has a wood burning fireplace which is nice for those severely nippy winter days and nights Chicago is famous for, and both rooms have heavily detailed moldings and curved walls with huge windows that look out on to the street. On the far wall of the dining room are a pair of symmetrically aligned doors. One opens into a library with leaded glass windows and built in bookshelves and the other opens into a hallway that connects to the eat-in kitchen and service areas of the house including an attached two garage. A stair hall off the kitchen serves as a staff and delivery entrance that opens directly onto the street and also allows the staff to discreetly climb from the the basement to the third floor without having to be seen by the high-fallutin' occupants and/or their tony guests.

The master suite sprawls across the entire second floor and consists of a huge, 600 square foot bedroom with sitting area and fireplace, separate paneled sitting room, a half bathroom just off the bedroom plus a lavish pooper with double sinks and a private compartment for the terlit, a long and wide hallway where the two main walk in closets are located, an office with built-ins, and finally a large room with private pooper at the back that can, technically, be closed off from the master suite. However, were the room to be closed off from the master suite, it would only be accessible by traipsing through the master suite or via the back stairway. Iffin anyone were to ask Your Mama–which of course no one did–it's rather coarse for a person wealthy enough to own a home of this magnitude to expect their guests to schlep through the kitchen and up the staff stairs in order to get to their overnight accommodations so our meaningless recommendation is that the homeowner retain that room and pooper for private use.

The third floor family and guest accommodations comprise three bedrooms each with walk-in closet, built-in cabinetry, and en-suite pooper. A fourth, smaller bedroom requires its occupant to wander down the long hallway in order to access terliting and bathing facilities. Two generously sized walk-in closets and a study niche complete the floor. Upstairs on the fourth floor we find a 600+ square foot media room that opens onto the roof terrace, an exercise room and pooper, and a room with a massive built in wet bar. Listen puppies, no one likes to tip back a gin & tonic or four more than Your Mama but even still we always find these vast rooms in private homes devoted to mixing and imbibing booze to be unnecessary and, yes, a bit unseemly. They're sort of like advertisements that you are a drunk.

Down in the basement–which thankfully has a fair amount of windows–there is a discotheque, a wine room, mechanical and service areas, laundry facilities, and a couple of storage rooms. We're going to look beyond and move right past the vexing silliness and utter absurdity of having a "discotheque" in one's home. There are are also two staff bedrooms each with private pooper and a windowless staff kitchen large enough for a good sized dining room table. Your Mama thinks shuffling the live-in staff off to dark basement accommodations is, generally speaking, an ugly and embarrassing practice that too easily and not surprisingly festers a roiling resentment. That said, these two staff rooms in the Dimon townhouse are in fact exceedingly generous in size, particularly compared to the cell-sized holes many rich folks relegate their live in staff members about whom they'll disingenuously tell people are like family members.

Your Mama would bet a dozen donuts that after three-plus long years on the market Mister and Missus Dimon are eager to unload their Chicago townhouse. However, in the event they are not able to sell the house at an acceptable price that will pocket them a few million bucks they do not need, Mister and Missus Dimon unquestionably have the resources and luxury to own and maintain their real estate white elephant from now until the end of time. Like Your Mama said , he's one of the luckiest and most financially fortunate beehawtchas on the planet.

listing photos and floor plan Sudler Sotheby's International Realty

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