Matt Damon thinks that somehow he’s some sort of big deal because he bought a zoo. You don’t see me spouting off and making movies about how I bought a farm. No matter that my farm doesn’t have any animals, or any crops for that matter. Matt’s zoo had some animals but they weren’t exactly some super rare breeds there. Bears, tigers, that sort of thing. Again, not really a big deal. But if Matt can buy a zoo and I can buy a farm, perhaps it’s time that you learned about your next opportunity: After this post, you’re probably going to want to buy a lodge.
At some time just before 1918, Harold Zook was hired to design a lodge on the southern shore of Geneva Lake. Not just some lodge, on some lot, on some lake, for some guy. Rather, Clear Sky Lodge on a huge swath of Geneva Lake for the then head of Fox Studios Harley Clarke. The property would consist of multiple buildings serving multiple purposes, but the main house was to be special. It would be modeled after the great Adirondack lodges of upstate New York, and the flair would be unrivaled both on Geneva Lake and likely in the entire Midwest. When the logs were cut in Canada (or Minnesota, depending on which history book you believe) and transported by rail to the city of Lake Geneva and then floated from downtown Geneva to the wooded site on the south shore, onlookers and neighbors had to understand that this was a project where no expense planned to be spared. When Jens Jensen showed up to handle the landscape design, things were obviously getting serious.
Today, the lodge is intact, and a recent owner put untold doses of time, effort, and money into a complete and thorough refurbishment of this sprawling manse. Every surface appears to have been improved, refinished, rebuilt. The work was not completed by some bulk contractor, but rather by artisans, woodworkers, and craftsmen. Walking through the home is like walking through something surreal. Beams and stone form the theme, imported fabrics soften the hard textures of the impressive structure, and the highest end of luxury finishes abound in every one of the lodge’s 18 rooms. There are six bedrooms, all suites. The kitchen is anchored by a La Cornue range, which only means something if you’ve ever been in the market for a $50k kitchen stove. The garage is three cars- beamed and finished in a manner finer than most living rooms, complete with carpet runners for your car’s tires. One must protect the garage floor.
The bathrooms are exquisite, but that is to use a word that does not do them justice. The great room is among the greatest rooms your eyes will ever see, and that’s still assuming you spend lots of time in 9000 square foot log estates on a regular basis. There are six fireplaces, some in bedrooms others in dining rooms, and one- perhaps the largest one I’ve ever dreamt of seeing- is opened in the limestone on the inside wall of that greatest room. The lakeside patio is massive and made of stone, as you’d expect. The lot is 1.3 acres, the frontage just over 100′, and the pier outfitted with two slips.
Those who read me often know I could describe this home for another thousand words, but I won’t. I’ll simply tell you today that I have listed this exceedingly valuable property for just $3.995MM, a price that represents a market value and a number that is untold millions under replacement value. The prior list was $6.9MM, and the new owner of the property is a bank who wishes to see the property sold sooner rather than later. I’ll be available this week for private tours of the home to any buyer who seeks to establish a lakefront legacy at a fraction of the going rate. The home will likely be sold within the week, so any buyers who have even a shred of interest are encouraged to contact me today for a showing and more detailed information. If this lodge is something you have interest in today, we should be seeing it tonight.