Driver Bobby Rahal buys Lincoln Park mansion

Posted Dec. 7, 2010 at 6:28 a.m.

ELITE STREET | By Bob Goldsborough | Retired professional race car driver Bobby Rahal, who won the 1986 Indianapolis 500, moved from Chicago to Columbus, Ohio, in 1981, but the Glen Ellyn native never forgot his roots.

A part-time Chicago resident from 2005 until 2008, Rahal, 57, now is set to make Chicago his exclusive home. He recently paid $3.295 million for a 12-room, 6,600-square-foot Lincoln Park mansion and also has listed his longtime six-bedroom, 13,192-square-foot mansion on 8 acres in New Albany, Ohio, for $4.75 million.

“In 2005, I bought a home on the same street as my new house,” Rahal said in an exclusive interview. “I sold it (in 2008), but it always was my plan to come back to Chicago.; And my wife’s family and my family both are from the area. Chicago’s just a fabulous place to live. We love our house, and we love our street.”

Rahal co-owns the Hilliard, Ohio-based Rahal Letterman Racing Team, just outside Columbus, with talk-show host and good friend David Letterman. Rahal said “right now, my plan would be to keep Rahal Letterman Racing in Hilliard.”

“We’ve got a nice facility there and a lot of people working there,” Rahal said. “I can be there a lot. The distance from Chicago isn’t onerous.”

Rahal also said that he doesn’t plan to keep a home in Columbus after he sells his mansion there. He said he has “had some bites” from potential buyers, but “nothing to the level where I’m ready to say, ‘deal.’”

Built in 2003, Rahal’s new five-bedroom Lincoln Park home has 4-1/2 baths, three fireplaces, a limestone facade, a dumbwaiter, a lower-level media room with a wet bar, custom lighting, custom window treatments, a top level English conservatory and roof deck with skyline views, and a landscaped yard with two decks.

The house first was listed for $3.95 million in early 2009. It was reduced to $3.75 million in November 2009, $3.5 million in January and $3.395 million in February.

Rahal noted that he first had lived in Chicago in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and that the city “certainly is a much nicer place to live now than it was back then.”

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  1. MBer Dec. 7, 2010 at 8:26 a.m.

    Rahal is one of the classiest guys in all of sports, so it’s great to have him back. Hopefully, his race team can get back on the track- they’ve been Indy 500-only for a couple of years now, a victim of the sponsonship woes that plague IndyCar.

  2. AJ Cooper Dec. 7, 2010 at 10:14 a.m.

    No idea who this was till I read the article. Welcome back though!

  3. RL Wagner Dec. 7, 2010 at 11:30 a.m.

    I first met Bobby when he was still living with his parents in Glen Elynn and a very struggling Trans-Am driver. While working in Broadview, Bobby was always coming around looking for ad monies to support his struggling racing team. He was always such a nice guy that I just new that he would be successful. Now look where he is; coming back to Chicago, his son, Grahm, now an Indy car driver. He has a beautiful family and a very successful business. Continued good luck, Bobby, and enjoy your new home and here is wishing you all the best in 2011!!

  4. George Dec. 7, 2010 at 11:41 a.m.

    Now that Daley is not running for mayor, Diann Burns and Oprah are moving, and Stroger is out, some people are coming back to Chicago. Even on a part-time basis.

  5. jaykaysr Dec. 7, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Is an Indy car driver an athlete?

  6. Jon Dec. 7, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Is he bringing his Inka BMW 2002?
    His buddy Don will keep it sweet for him.

  7. Dave Dec. 7, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Wrong George! Did you read the article? He first lived here in the late 70`s and early 80`s. Daley became Mayor a little later. He said that Chicago is Certainly a MUCH nicer place to live NOW then it was then which means……. Daley must have done alot right. Which by the way, he did. This is coming from a hard core Conservative. I have never voted Liberal but Daley Loves My City (CHICAGO) as much as i do so I voted for him. I dont agree with some of his ideals but i alaways have loved the way he has taken care of this city and the Real citizens in it. Not the few areas infested with punk Gangbangers but us real Chicagoans.

  8. wig Dec. 7, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Dave, I like how you capitalized gangbangers you idiot. Way to give them more attention then they deserve. Daley did some right, sure. But he’s so protected we’ll never know exactly what he did wrong. Keep the blinders on Dave… and chill with the caps!

    BTW, welcome home Bobby. Can we fly down LSD in your ride!?!

  9. Dennis Trbovich Dec. 9, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Jay yes i would consider a race care driver as a athelete You have to be in good physical and mental shape to do your job.