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Move Over, McMansions

By Shannon in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 8, 2006 4:45PM

Despondent over not being able to afford your mortgage? Flummoxed at how your rent always seems to be going up? Outraged at how condos are changing the make-up of our neighborhoods? Then you're probably not going to want to hear about the latest trend in the housing market: ginormous mansions formulated for the stinkin' rich.

Today's Tribune Magazine gives a rundown of some spectacular houses under construction in Lincoln Park. Sara Crown Star's new house on Orchard takes up three city lots. Penny Pritzker, heir to the Hyatt fortune, snapped up five lots for her modernist mansion. And topping them all, insurance magnate Richard Parrillo is taking full advantage of Chicago's whacked zoning codes and building a seven-lot, four-story behemoth that will have frontage on both Orchard and Burling. (They must be running out of room in Lake Forest.) The cost for Parrillo's place? $40 million. When asked about the impetus for such enormous displays of wealth, psychiatrist Robert Gordon said, "It's a way of publicly counting how important you are, how rich you are. If you're someone who believes in sexuality being the base of everything, how big your penis is." Now THAT'S psychiatry!

2006-10-destruction.jpgLewis Manilow, former prez of the Museum of Contemporary Art, built a precedent mansion back in 1991. According to him, "[The buyers] want more land, more space and Lincoln Park is a perfect place for them." Except, it's not like the Lincoln Park neighborhood has tons of space to spare. Homes and apartments have faced the wrecking ball time and again in order to bow to Richie McRich (or Dottie McDough)'s palatial whims. Some neighbors aren't planning on selling. We wish them the best of luck.

Truthfully, we're torn on this issue. We feel sick when old houses are torn down willy-nilly, especially to make room for things like this. And to us, city living means making some compromises, not building a compound. But could this be a renaissance, a throwback to the grand old boulevards of Prairie Avenue and Lake Shore Drive?

Image courtesy of flagtothefloor.