Flipping the Rich

Last year, 2.87 million homes were foreclosed on in America.  Behind that number is three million stories of hopes and dreams gone wrong.  But not all of the tales are told by the poor, or even the middle class.  

The economic meltdown has also taken a fair number of formerly rich people down a peg. By following the failed Chicago School economic theory of never buying anything with your own money, they ended up losing their mansions in foreclosures.  

You might think that rich people would take better care of their stuff, but the fact is that you can’t buy class.  And just like a lot of middle class people took the advice to just walk away from their bad investments, so did a lot of rich people, leaving the houses to fend for themselves.  Now a Chicago company has launched a web site specializing in fixing up and selling these high-end properties.

MACK Estates is rehabbing Chicago-area mansions and making them available to new owners.  Among the big-name properties now on offer is the Tinley Park home formerly owned by basketball star Antoine Walker.  

Check out the press release following the pictures of the Walker mansion and some of the damage inside.

REO-to-Rental Specialist MACK Companies Launches

MACK Estates Line of Redeveloped, High-End Re-Sale Homes 


Mansion of former NBA star Antoine Walker included in new MACK Estates portfolio of redeveloped, foreclosed Chicago-area homes

CHICAGO (February 29, 2012) – For more than 15 years, MACK Companies has been buying foreclosed homes in Chicago’s south suburbs to then redevelop to new-construction standards, rent and sell to real estate investors as single-family rentals. Having toured thousands of foreclosed homes, one thing Jim McClelland, CEO and president of MACK Companies, can attest to is that foreclosures can happen to almost anyone – even the wealthiest 1 percent.

Such was the case with the 13,000-square-foot home of former NBA star Antoine Walker that was built for approximately $4 million. Located in a Tinley Park, Ill., subdivision near the Odyssey Golf Course, Walker lost his nine-bedroom, nine-bath house to foreclosure in 2010. This January, MACK Companies purchased the mansion for under $1 million. But instead of turning the home into a rental per its usual business model, the firm decided to fix up the home and put it on the market as part of its new line of high-end, re-sale foreclosures called MACK Estates

“Most of the foreclosed homes we purchase are in the $50,000 range, but with the growing number of foreclosures on the market, we’ve come across more high-end properties,” said McClelland. “Walker’s home was in a category by itself. It’s an absolutely stunning home and we knew it could be a tremendous deal for someone after we cleaned it up.”

According to McClelland, his firm spent most of its time fixing up the home’s basement, which had flooded after utilities were shut off during the foreclosure process. After pumping out waist-deep water from the basement, MACK Companies remediated the basement’s mold issues, which required gutting the entire lower level, rebuilding two basement staircases, installing a new kitchen, bedroom, two new bathrooms, including one with a full steam shower and sauna, gym and home theatre system.

“The basement was a total wreck,” said McClelland. “And I’m still not sure what was lurking in the film in the indoor pool. But the rest of the house was in good shape and needed cosmetic improvements and new light fixtures. This was a beautifully built house with everything done the right way. It just wasn’t maintained when it fell into foreclosure.”

According to McClelland, had the utilities not been shut off, the improvements to the home would have cost $400,000 – $500,000 less than the $650,000 that the company is projecting it will cost to redevelop the home. “Most individuals don’t have the resources to bring repossessed properties back to a livable condition,” said McClelland. “But because we have been redeveloping foreclosed homes for 15 years, we have the ability to put the time, money, and effort into bringing these high-end foreclosed properties that have fallen into disarray back to their original, if not better, condition.”

When fully restored, the former Walker home will be listed for $1.79 million and include a four-car garage; fully finished basement; dual walk-in closets in the master suite with full California Closet build out; three custom fireplaces; granite countertops throughout; imported marble and wood floors; Sub-Zero kitchen appliances; an indoor pool and hot tub and of course, an outdoor basketball court.

With the exception of this residence and a five-bedroom, five-bath home in New Lenox listed for $1.46 million, homes in the MACK Estates portfolio range from $210,000 to $599,000 and include four to five bedrooms and 2½ to 4 baths. One MACK Estates home is a new-construction home that hasn’t even been previously occupied.  

“The criteria for selecting the homes for our MACK Estates line is the same for our single-family rentals and turn-key investment properties,” said McClelland. “We want to invest in ‘A’ properties in ‘A’ locations. These homes are all near vibrant commercial corridors with well-funded municipalities and good schools, plus access to transportation.”

For more information on the MACK Estates line of high-end, re-sale foreclosures call 1-855-222-MACK (6225); email estates@ibuymack.com; or visit www.mackestates.com.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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