Isn’t it nice when people who do good also do well? David Van Zandt — the outgoing dean of Northwestern Law, and the incoming president of The New School — is a beloved figure, at NU Law and beyond. Professionally, he’s an innovator in legal education; personally, he’s a great guy. We’re big fans of his here at Above the Law, especially since he once wrote a guest commentary for our pages (on law school rankings).

When Dean Van Zandt announced his departure, Northwestern Law students were heartbroken. But don’t shed tears for DVZ: he’s going to a better place. Hello, New York City! [FN1]

And assuming The New School doesn’t provide its new president with housing, Dean Van Zandt should be able to snap up a fabulous pad for himself here in Gotham. He has put his Chicago mansion on the market, for a very pretty penny. If he succeeds in selling it for anywhere near the asking price, he’ll be able to live large in NYC.

Dean Van Zandt bought the home back in 1996, for $922,550. How much is it on the market for today?

Let’s find out — and ogle some pictures of the house, inside and out….

Dean Van Zandt is asking a cool $4.7 million for the 6,300-square-foot mansion, as reported in the Chicago Tribune. If he gets his asking price, he’ll receive a 409 percent return on his investment — an annual increase of 27 percent (assuming he sells in 2011, 15 years after he bought it). It seems that Dean Van Zandt’s talents extend to real investing as well as academic administration!

UPDATE (1:30 PM): A commenter points out: “A 409% return over 15 years is equal to an annualized return of 11.5% compounded, not 27%.” Still, even taking into account the effect of compounding, a double-digit rate of return is nothing to scoff at (especially in these troubled times).

UPDATE (2:30 PM): Notes another in the comments: “This doesn’t account for the fact that most homes are leveraged purchases, so the true ROI is much higher.”

The Tribune notes that the house has 18 rooms, including six bedrooms, and sits on a double lot (as you can tell from the photo above — note all the open space on the left). Here’s more about it, from Trulia:

Stunning approx 6,300 sq ft 6 bedroom, 6.5 bath home on a double lot on a premiere East Lincoln Park block. 30 ft x 20 ft living room & formal dining room w/12 ft ceilings. Eat-in kitchen w/bamboo floors, walk-in pantry. Appx 31 ft x 22 ft great room w/3 sets of double doors accessing a 25 ft terrace overlooking a side yard of mature trees, shrubs & lawn. Master suite: his & her baths & spacious sitting room w/fplc.

It’s not as expensive as the $34.5 million condo owned by Dominick D’Alleva, which we recently featured in Lawyerly Lairs. But it’s larger — 6,300 square feet, to D’Alleva’s 5,500 square feet — and it’s more tastefully decorated (in my admittedly non-professional opinion).

Let’s take a tour of the dean’s domain, shall we?

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