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Former Motorola exec lists Lake Forest mansion for almost $13 million

Dennis Rodkin

Mar 10, 2024

Ron Garriques who helped transform the mobile phone in the early 2000s as a leader of Motorola’s Razr line, is selling the blufftop Lake Forest mansion he bought to restore during those years.

Ron Garriques who helped transform the mobile phone in the early 2000s as a leader of Motorola’s Razr line, is selling the blufftop Lake Forest mansion he bought to restore during those years.

Garriques and his wife, Karena Garriques, are asking $12.99 million for the Lake Road property, a brick Italianate villa built in 1914 on about 3.6 acres. It’s going up on a private, agents-only network March 10, represented by Patrick Milhaupt, Amy Davidson and Tim Salm of Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty.

Garriques, who after leaving Motorola in 2007 led Dell Computers’ mobile phone unit and, briefly, the Radio Shack retail chain, declined to comment, according to Milhaupt.

The Garriqueses did a painstaking restoration of the house, originally designed by the Howard van Doren Shaw, the architect of many of Lake Forest’s grandest mansions, according to the agents. Since buying the house in 2007, they “have gone through the exhaustive effort to search (for) and replace fixtures, hardware and architectural effects just as they were in Shaw’s masterpiece,” Milhaupt wrote in an email.

The project included re-creating an original wing of the house that had been demolished at some point, installing 19th century light fixtures and locating furniture and artworks that the mansion’s first owners, steel magnate Clayton Mark and Anna Mark, had in the home in the 1910s.

The couple also updated the kitchen and all utilities and dropped the floor of the basement to accommodate a basketball court and indoor hockey rink.

The estate has more than 400 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline.

The Garriqueses bought the house in 2007. Lake County records are not clear on what they paid, but real estate listings sites put it at$9.5 million. In the years since, “nearly every square foot has been touched and either restored, refinished or replaced,” Milhaupt wrotein the email. The agents sent Crain’s only one photo of the interior, a wood-paneled wall of fireplace and bookcases.

The sellers are “downsizing to another architecturally significant home in Lake Forest,” Milhaupt wrote, without identifying the house.

Growing up in New Jersey, Ron Garriques wanted to be an architect and watched certain TV shows in part to observe the old houses where they took place, he told the Chicago Tribune in 2005. At the time, he had been at Motorola for six years and as president of its mobile business had recently announced the once-struggling firm’s goal of passing Nokia to become the biggest mobile phone maker.

That would entail nearly doubling Motorola’s market share, from 18% to 33%, the Tribune reported. Garriques oversaw the 2004introduction of the Razr phone, which had been in development before he took over. Developing the phone, which at 10 millimeters, or about 4/10 of an inch, thick, was half the size of competitors, was Motorola’s “moonshot,” one of its designers told Fast Company years later.

The Razr became the must-have mobile phone in those days before Apple brought out the iPhone, and in 2006 mobile phones accounted for about two-thirds of Motorola’s $42.9 billion in sales, the Tribune reported. Razr’s popularity collapsed in 2007, a casualty of the phone-as-fashion trend in the early days of cell phones, the New York Times reported. Garriques left Motorola that year to head consumer product design at Dell.
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The $12.99 million asking price for the Lake Road mansion, comes in just above the recent-years record sale price in Lake Forest. In2022, buyers paid $12.925 million for the lakefront estate of the late Nancy Hughes, widow of moviemaker John Hughes. If the home sells near its asking price, it will come in not only above the highest-priced sale so far in 2024,
a $9.3 million Gold Coast condo, but above any Chicago-area homes sold last year, when the top price was $12.5 million.

In 2022, four local homes sold for more than the Garriques asking price, topping out at over $20.5 million.

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