- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 1, 2006

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump’s property for sale here has all the big-time extras one might expect. Pricey marble and 24-karat gold fixtures decorate bathrooms. There is a gargantuan fountain in the driveway and 475 feet of oceanfront out back.

Perhaps the biggest thing about the home, however, is its price tag: $125 million. And (sorry Donald) that price already has been trumped. A home in Aspen, Colo., is now listed at $135 million. Another home in the Lake Tahoe area of Nevada was listed at a flat $100 million.

The listings represent a monetary milestone in American real estate: the first time U.S. homes have broken into a whopping nine figures, real estate analysts say, and they have done so in quick succession. A May survey of the nation’s most expensive homes by Forbes.com put Mr. Trump’s home at the most expensive and the first to break the $100 million mark. At the time, the next highest listing was a $75 million estate in Bridgehampton, N.Y.

Now, the trio have market followers wondering: Will they sell? And what do you really get for $100 million?

“I’m surprised it took so long for people to realize value,” Mr. Trump said of the listings. “I’m the one that did it, started the trend, and I’m surprised that people haven’t done it sooner.”

Usually the top 10 percent of any marketplace is considered the luxury market, but these properties are a tier above.

“They’re superluxury properties,” said Mr. Trump, the real estate mogul and reality-TV star.

Shari Chase, whose company Chase International has the Lake Tahoe listing, acknowledged the shock value of the prices.

“This is stratospheric for offering prices, but I think we’re going in that direction,” she said. “I think these three properties, they are really the Super Bowl of real estate.”

The term “high end” is too common to apply to the properties, she said.

The listings are extreme. At these prices, bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage are almost irrelevant. The homes, like their price tags, are gigantic.

At the Aspen property, owned by Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the main residence, finished in 1990, has more than 56,000 square feet — about 1,000 square feet bigger than the White House. That is set on a 95-acre site, roughly twice the size of Boston Common. It even has its own car wash and gas pumps.

Need more space? The recently listed Lake Tahoe home, owned by Tommy Hilfiger Corp. co-founder Joel Horowitz, comes with 38,000 square feet of livable space on 210 acres. That includes a private trout-stocked lake and two par-3 golf courses. Features also include a grand staircase replicating one built on the doomed ocean liner Titanic.

Smaller on acres but bigger in square footage is Mr. Trump’s property, called Maison de L’Amitie, which he bought for about $41 million in 2004. He assigned renovations to “Apprentice” winner Kendra Todd. The home’s approximately 80,000 square feet are spread over several buildings. Separate coat closets and bathrooms for men and women off the main entryway make entertaining easy, as does a pantry area nearly the size of a small convenience store. The large pool overlooking the ocean seems like a given.

Sara Clemence, an editor for Forbes.com who wrote its listing report, said properties at the top end of the market have been moving upward for years, but the recent $100-million-plus listings are significant.

“One of the things that surprises me is that all this is happening all at once,” she said. “I’m not sure if all these sellers and Realtors are looking at each other or if they’re just coming to the same conclusion all at the same time. … You can price a property for $100 million and up.

“That said, just because you ask for it doesn’t mean you’re going to get it,” Ms. Clemence said.

The price tags on the homes don’t seem to have deterred a small cadre of buyers. The Lake Tahoe property, called “Tranquility,” and the Aspen property, called “Hala Ranch,” already have entertained buyers, agents said. At these prices, it’s often the agent who brings the property to a particular buyer’s attention, though they also get inquiries.

The interested parties are confidential, but include business people from the U.S. and overseas. To own the properties, however, one has to have quite a bit in the bank. Taxes alone on the Palm Beach property, if sold at its current asking price, would amount to more than $2 million annually, according to the Palm Beach County property appraiser Web site.

Joshua Saslove, of Joshua & Co., a Christie’s affiliate in Aspen, has the listing there. He is not concerned about having such a high-priced property.

“When the right property hits the right buyer, it all happens very quickly. People who look at properties like this by and large know what they want,” he said.

Mr. Trump was surprised to hear his property had competition for the top spot. “Who’s at 135?” he asked.

He didn’t seem upset, though.

“I think my property is worth more than $125 million,” he said. “It’s a bargain.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide