Historic Chicago Real Estate Getting an Update

December 14, 2011

Now here’s a real piece of Chicago real estate history.

The Hyde Park home that once belonged to the victim of the “Crime of the Century” in the 1920s is undergoing a renovation.

The Franks residence is undergoing a massive renovation.

The home, located at 5052 South Ellis Street, is known as the “Franks Residence,” as it was once home to Bobby Franks, the victim in the high-profile kidnapping and murder committed by Leopold and Loeb in 1924.

First, a Chicago history lesson: In May, 1924, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, two boys from wealthy Chicago families, kidnapped a 14-year-old boy named Bobby Franks, the son of millionaire Jacob Franks and a distant cousin of Loeb, with plans to carry out the “perfect murder” just for fun.

Not so perfect: They were caught, and their case became known as the “trial of the century.”

Of the three, only the Franks’ Chicago residence remains today. Both the Leopold home, at 4754 South Greenwood Avenue, and the Loeb mansion, at 5017 South Ellis Avenue, were torn down decades ago.

The Franks homes at 5052 South Ellis, has been vacant for more than 10 years and is in a state of disrepair.

But that’s about to change. Chicago-based Foster Design Build has been awarded the project of renovating the 10,000-square-foot property, including the adjacent coach house and garage.

This isn’t the company’s first high-profile Chicago real estate job: Foster Design Build just completed a rehab of the home located next door to President Barack Obama’s Hyde Park digs. That home, too, had much of the same wiring, woodwork and piping from when it was built in the early 1900s.

“As was the case with our project next door to President Obama’s, we are again working on the details of this new project with the neighborhood group in Kenwood and the City of Chicago’s Department of Landmarks and Preservation,” said Robert Berg, President of Foster Design Build.

“We are looking forward to restoring this landmark home and to tackling this renovation project that has many levels of complexities.”

Can’t wait to see the end result.

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