Is This the Least Expensive Frank Lloyd Wright House Ever Sold?

After a number of deals fell through, a Frank Lloyd Wright row house just east of Garfield Park in Chicago has finally found a buyer, reports Crain’s Chicago Business. Last August, the listing agent, Joe Schiller of @Properties Christie’s International Real Estate, told AD that he was struggling to sell the property despite its $75,000 asking price—seemingly inexpensive by most metrics, but especially given the architect who crafted the residence. “I usually don’t have trouble selling real estate, but this one is a challenge,” he said at the time.

exterior of a building

The exterior of the row houses is landmarked and can’t be changed outside of repairs.

Photo: Joe Schiller

There was a logical reason for this. The one-bed, one-bath home is abandoned and gutted down to the studs. A virtual tour of the home shows an interior in desperate need of some TLC, though perhaps it also represents an exciting opportunity for a Wright aficionado eager to breathe new life into one of his earliest works. “We need to find some Frank Lloyd Wright fans who appreciate the historic value of the home and are invested in the process of restoring it,” Schiller said. According to Crain’s, Andy Schcolnik, a local developer and trained architect, has answered the call and is in contract to purchase the home.

“It’s going to be a money loser, but it’s a labor of love,” he told the publication. The row house is a part of Wright’s Waller apartment complex, an 1895 project commissioned by Edward C. Waller, a real estate developer. According to the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, the five adjoining buildings were built as low-cost housing, with each building containing four one-bedroom apartments. Built before Wright’s 30th birthday, the project was one of his early commissions shortly after starting his own practice and leaving his position as head draftsman at Adler and Sullivan. “These apartments are considered among the earliest examples of subsidized housing in Chicago,” reads a plaque outside the complex. “The simplified design of the façade indicates the young architect’s departure from traditional design toward the abstract, modern principles for which he was later internationally known.”

studs inside an abandoned building

The interior has been taken down to the studs.

Photo: Joe Schiller

abandoned building taken down to studs

The sellers hoped to find someone who is willing to fix up the historic property.

Photo: Joe Schiller

According to Crain’s, the sellers are Thomas Garrity, Sam Fiorenzo, and Jerome Guerriero, who purchased the home in 2003 for $88,500 with plans to restore it, though the project became overwhelming and was never completed. Neighbors who share walls with the rundown unit are eager for a passionate buyer who can get the home to hospitable condition.

While it wasn’t reported exactly how much Schcolnik is purchasing the property for, it is about a third of what the sellers paid, or around $26,500. At this price, it is among the least expensive, if not the least expensive, Wright residence sold in recent years. However, Schcolnik expects to put at least $200,000 into renovations and is actively looking into Wright’s original plans in an effort to replicate and restore the home as faithfully as possible.

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