Wrought Iron Gates
$135 Million Dallas Palace Is America’s New Most Expensive Home For Sale
While rumors swirled Friday about the alleged sale of a $117 million home in Woodside, Calif., another abode far from the center of the tech universe quietly began attracting attention as the new most expensive home for sale in the United States.
The Crespi-Hicks Estate, which is being quietly shopped off of the Multiple Listing Services, wants a staggering $135 million. The best part: it’s not located in San Francisco, or even New York City. America’s new most expensive home for sale is in Dallas, Texas.
The Dallas estate sits behind wrought iron gates in the ultra elite Mayflower Estates neighborhood. Spanning 25 acres, the compound boasts roughly 42,500 square feet of living space including a five-story main house, a two-story guest house and a three-story pool house. It’s owned by Thomas and Cinda Hicks, former Forbes 400 listmakers whose personal net worth swelled as large as $1.4 billion in 2008.Tom Hicks is the former chairman of private equity firm Hicks and current chairman of Hicks Holdings. He is also the former owner of several professional sports teams including the Dallas Stars, Texas Rangers, and Liverpool Soccer Club.
The Crespi-Hicks Estate, commissioned by Italian Count Pio Crespi, was the last residential creation of architect Maurice Fatio before his death in 1943. When the Hicks purchased the property 16 years ago, they enlisted architect Peter Marino to restore it. The process reportedly took nearly a decade and as much as $100 million.
Among the home’s outrageous amenities are a a library paneled in 19th-century Italian walnut and burl, a main kitchen tiled in 10th-century Dutch Delft manganese tiles, a mirrored art-deco bar room, and an exercise room. The pool house boasts an outdoor living room and kitchen, an indoor catering kitchen, a massive game room, and a home theater spanning an entire floor. The grounds encompass two guest houses, a tennis court, several greenhouses, a tree house, rose and vegetable gardens, and a second hidden driveway entrance onto the property.
“In this home, one experiences an awe-inspiring majesty along with a gentle warmth and intimacy. The formal rooms have accommodated throngs of guests and received United States Presidents and international dignitaries,” writes Douglas Newby, the real estate agent representing the property, adding that the home is “warm and fun.”
According to Dallas real estate blogger Candy Evans, land in Mayflower Estates commands a lofty $2 million per acre, accounting for $50 million of the asking price; the buildings are valued at $85 million. Mayflower Estates is home to Dallas’ richest and most powerful residents, including former President George W. Bush who is rumored to have moved here to be close to the Hicks family. The home is minutes from downtown Dallas.
It’s not necessarily surprising that the opulent spread has come to market now — and toting such a stratospheric price tag. Billionaires have been plunking down extravagant sums for trophy homes the country over since 2011, injecting would-be sellers with confidence to try their hands at turning a hefty home sale profit. Since the beginning of January alone, two confirmed record-breaking sales have transpired: a $27 million Miami, Fla. penthouse purchase (the area’s highest price ever paid for an apartment) and a $75 million Malibu, Calif. beach house purchase (the city’s most expensive sale ever). And if the blogosphere is indeed correct and a Woodside, Calif. house fetched $117.5 million, then the country even has a new most expensive home sale.
At $135 million, the mega mansion’s asking price tops the $125 million Fleur de Lys estate in Los Angeles, which has been the single most expensive home publicly listed for sale since Miami’s Casa Casuarina reduced its price tag to $100 million in November. Other uber expensive listings include the $100 million CitySpire penthouse in New York City, two additional $95 million apartments in New York, and the $95 million Beverly House in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Views just one of home’s luxuries
By Beth Sitzler
It was these features that drew Hazel and Alfred Coelho to the 1.23-acre property, located on a cul-de-sac in the gated Coronado Ridge Subdivision.
“We came here from the Palm Springs (California) area,” Hazel Coelho said. “It was one of the first houses we looked at.
“My husband really liked it. We had built several homes ourselves, so we recognized the quality of the finished work and we liked the floor plan a lot. And we loved the everchangingview.” As luck would have it, the couple was able to sell their California home in a matter of months and began 2007 in their new Las Cruces residence.
Located at the bottom of the cul-de-sac, the residence features a flagstone path that leads past a wrought iron gate into the enclosed front courtyard. Not skipping any detail, the entrance of the courtyard is lined with a Southwest-inspired tile trim.
“It is used around the doors and windows,” Coelho said. “(Coyle) took the indoor theme and brought it outside.” Coelho said the courtyard is a nice feature of the home because it offers privacy as well as a relaxing environment thanks to its waterfall and pond, which provides ambiance, easy-tocare- for landscaping and abundance of covered seating space.
“We really enjoy the front courtyard in the warmer weather,” Coelho said. “It’s a wonderful place to read the paper in the mornings.” Inside the large, carved front door, guests are greeted by tall ceiling accented with skylights and a breathtaking view of the Organ Mountains courtesy of a large window found in the living room.
“Everyone mentions the view when they open the front door,” Coelho said. Tile covers the floor and a mosaic element with stone inlays and granite chips is located at the entrance, which looks into the living room.
In addition to showcasing a framed glimpse of the Organ Mountains, the living room also contains several large wood beams along the 20-foot-high ceiling. A Southwestern-inspired fireplace is placed in the corner. “He did a wonderful job with all of the formal areas with all of the trim and details,” Coelho said.
Along with Venetian plaster covering the walls, the formal areas include other artistic details. “There is this chiseled-edge flagstone throughout,” Coelho said. “He also did these rounded corners. It has a soft, Southwest feel, but is still very Italian.”
Connected to the living room is the dining room. Coelho said a lot of detail is featured on the ceiling, which showcases a tray element lined with latillas. While the room includes a large window peering out to the backyard and Organ Mountain view, window shades cover it and other windows in the home to block the heat of the sun.
The dining room opens to the kitchen, one of Coelho’s favorite areas. “I love this kitchen,” she said. “It has tons of storage and a big gas, Thermador range with a griddle and pot filler, which comes in handy.”
Granite composed of pink, black and spots of green covers the countertops as rich cabinets with inlays and crown molding fill the room. The cabinetry features fully expanding drawers as well as pullouts.
In addition to the elegant elements and high-end appliances, including a wine refrigerator and warming oven, the kitchen has good lighting, Coelho said. Accompanying a skylight, the room features cast lighting along the top and bottom of the cabinets as well as ornate pendent lighting. Off the kitchen is a bonus room.
“It’s a wonderful room to watch TV with the fireplace and view,” Coelho said. The home features a split floor plan with two bedrooms, which include their own bathrooms, located down a beam-covered hallway.
Across the way is the media room, which includes access to a half bathroom accented in red paint and has a copper sink bowl. In this area is the oversized three-car garage as well as the master suite.
The master bedroom features a red accent wall that Coelho added to make the architectural element around a window pop. There is also a door that leads to the covered patio. Electronic nightshades cover the windows.
The master bathroom has a snail shower lined with tile and etched glass. A five-jet bathtub is located beneath a window between the his-and-her sinks. Walk-in his-and-her closets complete the bathroom. One of the closets connects to the laundry room, a feature that has provided convenience to the couple.
Coelho said the home has a sound system throughout, which extends to the front and back exterior of the residence.
The covered patio extends the length of the home and includes several different areas for dining, grilling and relaxing by a fireplace.
“This is great for parties,” said Coelho, adding that the patio is in the shade in the afternoon.
Coelho said they wanted low-maintenance landscaping, so in addition to the native plantsthat are scattered among the rocks is artificial grass.
While the home features an abundance of amenities, another great feature is the Picacho Hills area, Coelho said.
“The country club is a wonderful place for socializing,” she said. “The golf course is a fine golf course and there is a swimming pool and tennis courts. You can make friends and participate in the sport you like. “This is the best side of the valley to live on.”
Bok Tower to Celebrate its 84th Anniversary
By Phil Attinger
“We’re very excited that Roberto Díaz will be here performing and that we’re continuing to work together in celebration of Bok’s vision for both organizations,” said David Price, president of Bok Tower Gardens. “It’s going to be a wonderful evening.”
Price said it is only fitting to have Curtis Institute musicians perform at the Gardens, since Edward W. Bok’s wife, Mary Louise Curtis Bok, started the Institute in 1924 in Philadelphia.
The music school is funded 100 percent for only 160 students at a time — based entirely on talent — from all ages and economic backgrounds. It also boasts such renown alumni as Leonard Bernstein, Samuel Barber, Juan Diego Flórez, Alan Gilbert, Hilary Hahn, Jennifer Higdon and Lang Lang.
Bok Tower’s Founder’s Day Festivities kick off at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1 with a special moonlight carillon concert performed by Geert D’hollander. Admission is $5 per person and free for members.
Throughout the weekend, visitors will be allowed to enter the wrought iron gates at the Tower and cross the moat to see the Tower and brass door up close.
Tours around the exterior will be included with the usual general admission price during the anniversary weekend.
Shakespeare’s ‘Lost Play’ Cardenio fulfils
Clifford Graham: Cardenio is in many ways a fulfilling play and Roy Sergeant’s staging for the 2013 season at Maynardville will be remembered for some time. I suppose it makes perfect sense, before going into a review of the current production of Cardenio at the Maynardville Open Air Theatre, to touch on the origins of this play and why it is referred to as Shakespeare’s lost play. Director Roy Sargeant in his programme notes points out that the play is the product of research by Gregory Doran, currently the Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, rather than a long lost manuscript found in someone’s attic or buried under a pile of documents in an obscure English archive.
The original play was known to have been performed by the King’s Men (a London Theatre company) at the court of King James I as early as 1613. It is attributed to William Shakespeare and John Fletcher. The work was probably based on an episode of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote involving the character Cardenio, a young man who has been driven mad with love and betrayal and lives in the Sierra Morena. After 1613 the play seems to have disappeared and appears only sporadically under varying titles. No original text for the play survives.
However the play as it is presented using Gregory Doran’s text, re-imagined after William Shakespeare could be said to be in the style of Shakespeare. No matter, it is a very good play none the less. The synopsis of the play reads like a Mozart Opera, love triangles become foursomes with an evil don hell bent on seducing every vulnerable wench in sIght. Well yes, there is a lot of that, but there are some very human threads to the plot which enrich the story and keep the audience guessing throughout. It’s hard to be sure just how much of the play is the work of Messrs. Fletcher and Shakespeare, but perhaps it’s best to forget the complex provenance and just sit back and be entertained.
Set design by Dicky Longhurst is simple but effective. Wrought iron gates and window bars are reminiscent of Moorish architecture. Costume is detailed and for the most part accurate to the time. Roy Sargeant’s vision is clearly defined in the Spanish qualities that imbue the production. Light references to Catholic ritual, wild fiesta dances and obsessions of sex and death leave us in no doubt as to the plays’ Spanish temperament.
And of the ensemble? Some dazzling performances made Cardenio a pilgrimage I would have been happy to make on my knees. Francis Chouler’s Fernando, filled with menace and glimpses of a tyrant in the making, provides a pivot for the rest of the cast to react to. Jenny Stead’s Luscinda, filled with measured innocence, is charming, allowing audience sympathies to grow at each twist in the plot. Terence Bridget comes close to stealing the show with his sometimes comic, often bumbling take on the role of Don Bernardo, Luscinda’s father. Marcel Meyer as Pedro brings an air of reason to the plot.
But for me it’s the pairing of Armand Aucamp (Cardenio) with Francis Chouler (Fernando) that heightens the production as a whole. They were last seen together in Mary and the Conqueror (Artscape Spring Drama Season 2011). The chemistry between these actors seems to spur them on to greater performances.
Cardenio is in many ways a fulfilling play and Roy Sergeant’s staging for the 2013 season at Maynardville will be remembered for some time to come. Pack your picnic and make the pilgrimage. Cardenio is a must see! Cardenio is in rep with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Maynardville Open Air Theatre in Cape Town until 9 March.
Victorian charm to be restored to a Whalley Range park
A £4.5m project has started at Alexandra Park, Whalley Range, to restore its Victorian charm and bring it up to date.
The year-long process is the biggest investment in the park’s 143-year history – and one of the largest ever in Manchester.
Contractors have already opened the park’s boarded-up lodge and wrought iron pavilion buildings for the first time in around 20 years to start restoration work.
New tennis courts and football facilities will also be built and improvements will be made to the lake.
A head gardener’s role and four apprenticeships for youngsters to train in horticulture will also be created.
Overall, the project will create three distinct zones – ‘natural’, for wildlife, ‘formal’ to reflect the park’s Victorian heritage and ‘activity’ for sports.
The lodge – a miniature gothic-style mansion near Claremont Road – will be used for community meetings and office space.
The pavilion, in the middle of the park, will include new changing rooms and a cafe overlooking the lake – and is due to be open this summer.
Work will start later in the year on stripping back trees and adding new flowerbeds along the Victorian promenade next to Claremont Road.
Different parts of the park will be fenced off while renovations take place.
The Caribbean Carnival, held in the park every August, may have to be moved this year. But it is hoped more community events will be held there once work is completed.
An umbrella group, Alexandra Park Community Sports Club, will also be set up to represent the cricket, lacrosse, running and football teams based in the park.
Teams and volunteers will play a major role in deciding how the park is run.
The huge project is funded by £2.2m in Heritage Lottery Funding, £1.8m from the council and £545,000 from sports bodies.
The search for funding began 10 years ago –with one failed Heritage Lottery Fund bid rejected in 2008 before a successful one in December 2009.
Senior council officer Eddie Flanagan, who has worked on the project since 2003, said: “This project has been a long time in the making, but residents have never lost their enthusiasm, even when our first bid was knocked back and that’s carried us along.
“To come through all that and now finally see work starting is incredibly exciting.
“Another exciting part of the project is finding a model where the community have more of a say in how the space is used and money is spent, which will be a first for Manchester.
“The primary purpose is getting more people in to enjoy the park in a light, airy space which caters for a wide range of