150-Room Mansion Still on Market After Auction Fails to Sell It
PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) _ A millionaire who once said he wanted his 150-room mansion to ″scream money″ put it on the auction block Saturday, but prospective buyers were reluctant to speak up when it came time to bid.
The top bid for the 55,000-square-foot Gordon Hall home - complete with heliport, movie theater and 72 telephones - came to only $3.4 million, said auctioneer Linda Arvin of Waynesboro, Tenn.
Hall did not accept the bid, and talks continued afterward with a few possible buyers, Ms. Arvin said.
Hall was hoping to get at least $9.8 million for ″the biggest, the best, the most prestigious mansion in the United States,″ said real estate agent Scott Jalowsky.
Now, Hall is willing to settle for less than that, Jalowsky said, but the real estate agent insisted that the home was was not a white elephant.
Ms. Arvin attempted to start the bidding at $20 million but had to come down to $2.5 million before she got a bid.
Afterward, she and Jalowsky disputed why things went wrong.
″I think we had an ego trip here really, by the Jalowsky realtor,″ Ms. Arvin said. She said the auction was hurt by his talks with other prospective buyers who never intended to attend the auction.
Jalowsky said he had always made it clear that he would sell the house to anyone who came up with an acceptable bid, in or out of the auction process.
However, he acknowledged after the auction that ″it wasn’t as successful as everybody hoped.″
Hall and his former wife paid $2 million in 1983 for the 25-year-old home on Sugarloaf Mountain in this Phoenix suburb. Hall, who began and later sold the now-defunct 24-Hour Nautilus fitness center chain, added 20,000 square feet to the home as part of an $8 million rehabilitation job.
The marriage broke up before the rehabilitation was finished, but Hall remarried and lived in the house with his new wife and three children. Asked why Hall was selling the property, Jalowsky said, ″It’s time to move on.″
The 15-bedroom, 37-bathroom house has been on the market for six months - which Jalowsky said is not unusual for a luxury home - with no takers at an asking price of $20 million. Hall decided to auction it before higher capital gains taxes take effect in January.
On the outside, the home looks like a resort hotel. Marble steps illuminated by 7,500 tiny overhead lights lead to huge glass entry doors. Just inside is a scale model of the house and grounds, in case anyone gets lost.
The movie theater has a commercial-sized screen, and also inside are an ice-skating rink, an exercise room, an arcade with 11 video games, a ballroom and a glass-domed ″gathering room″ longer than a football field is wide.
The kitchen was remodeled six times in the past year before Hall decided the black-and-white scheme was right. It has six microwave ovens, four refrigerators and two dishwashers.
Most of the house is light and airy with pale walls and tan marble floors interrupted by deep area rugs. The library has few books, but its fireplace is framed by a pair of elephant tusks under a pair of rhinoceros horns.
The $1 million security system has 24 television screens in the main control room.
Outside are a helipad, a junior-Olympic sized pool with a fountain flowing into it, a tennis court, a racquetball court that doubles as a bomb shelter, and a playground. A guest house is attached to the main house by an arch over the entryway.
On Friday, Hall walked through his mansion with two prospective buyers, but Jalowsky said the owner would not talk to reporters.