Good Deals

Real estate auction pioneer Sheldon Good helped reshape the industry

The International Real Estate Federation honored Sheldon Good (right) for nearly 60 years of dedicated service and leadership. (Image courtesy of Susan Berman Associates)
Real estate auction pioneer Sheldon Good helped reshape the industry

American country comedienne Minnie Pearl, best known for the hokey dresses and hats she wore with price tags intact, was affiliated with a chain of fried chicken restaurants bearing her name in the early 1970s.

The Southern Illinois chain was all set to open, down to tables fully set with dinnerware, salt and pepper shakers and silverware, when its parent company went bankrupt.

The chain’s California lender reached out to Sheldon Good, ’55 BUS, who had witnessed successful real estate auctions in Ireland during an International Real Estate Federation (IREF) trip. He recognized the auction technique as the ideal way to sell the Minnie Pearl chain and quickly sold it for $600,000, a considerable sum at the time.

Ever since that famous sale, Good has been known as a real estate auction pioneer.

IREF President Farook Mahmood presented Good with a top award in recognition of his nearly 60 years of dedicated service and leadership in the industry at the group’s 2018 World Congress in Dubai, UAE.

Some of Good’s noteworthy sales in Chicago include the land under Carson Pirie Scott’s former flagship store on State Street, the Aragon Ballroom and the International Amphitheatre. He also negotiated Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ 20-year lease for the Pump Room restaurant and auctioned well-known properties such as Maine North High School in Des Plaines, the remaining land in the Union Stockyards, 11 Goldblatt’s department stores and an office building at
8 S. Michigan Ave.

Yet Good is most proud of his contributions to real estate education—visiting universities nationwide to teach students about the satisfaction of helping others. In the 1970s, Good was called after a dozen heirs disagreed on how to sell a 40-unit apartment building after they had threatened to sue Northern Trust, which served as its trustee. He sold the building for nearly double the expected price. “You never know what the true value of a property is until you sell it,” he says.

Good tells students they can have the same kind of success. “I just want them to be aware of a real estate career or at least investigate it,” he says. “It’s a respected career; you can make a decent living. If you provide the right kind of services, you can make a lot of money.”