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Andrew Beal photo courtesy of Forbes

Recall that when Tom and Cinda first put their 25.5 acre estate on the market, it was listed with broker Douglas Newby for $136 million. That was in January of 2013. The market was just waking up, of course, but behemoth properties are always tricky to sell because the buyer pool is so limited. When Allie Beth Allman and David Nichols got the listing in March of 2015, the price was lowered to $100 million. Which sounds like a lot, but with acres priced at $2 million just for the dirt, that’s $51 million for the land.

The Hicks bought the property in 1997, and they spent more than $100 million extensively renovating the four-story mansion, which was built in 1938. And they added buildings to the estate. In fact, when we toured the home, it was rather like being in a secluded little village of your very own. The long drive keeps out intruders, and security can roam the property.

When the Hicks worked on the home — they were living on Beverly Drive at the time — they doubled the square footage by adding on two wings to either side of the original mansion. They also added a basement housing a 20-seat theater with commercial equipment. And they added a chilled water system to run hot and cold water throughout the house instantly and heat the floors of the master baths.

And you couldn’t just “add on”: the home’s renovation had to carefully reflect the style and mode of architect Maurice Fatio, who designed the home for the original owners: Pio and Florence Crespi. As part of the purchase agreement, Florence lived at the estate until her death in 1999 even though the Hicks has possession.

Which reminds me: the Hicks are looking for a new home base in Dallas, but there is likely no rush to get out: they could always stay in one of the guest houses at Walnut Place!

Alexandre De Champliamaud

Alexandre De Champliamaud

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Peter Marino photo courtesy of Architectural Digest

The Hickses worked with New York City architect Peter Marino and Alexandra de Champalimaud to perfect the expansion and help match Fatio’s original vision for the estate. When they needed stone for the new wings, the original quarry from whence Fatio found stone was re-opened after decades of closure to make sure the stones matched as closely as possible to perfection. The point is, the home easily had more than $100 million in improvements and structure on land valued at $51 million in today’s market. So Douglas Newby was not too far in his original pricing.

So did Andy Beal — 62 year old founder and chairman of Plano-based Beal Bank, a college drop-out with interests in everything from aerospace to high-stakes poker, and a mathematical and investing genius —really cough up $100 million? He is a man known for making deals, a value shopper known as an aggressive bottom-feeder. Most agents I have spoken to believe he negotiated the $100 million asking price of the estate on Walnut Hill Lane. Thus far I’ve heard agents speculate he may have paid $70 to $80 million. Perhaps the Hicks estate was a bit more negotiable than the Crow estate? Or perhaps he did realize the deal was so keen at $100 million?

“Andy Beal is a value investor that’s been interested in the property,” Douglas Newby, owner of Dallas-based luxury boutique brokerage Douglas Newby & Associates, told the DBJ.“But his first choice was buying a home in Highland Park, if he could negotiate the right price.”

 

Hicks Main House-Rear Garden on North Side

Steve Brown alerted us to word that Andy Beal was making a play for the two most expensive homes in Dallas, Tom and Cinda Cree Hicks’ glorious $100 MILLION Walnut Place, formerly known as the Crespi Estate.

Steve said that Beal is considering both the Crespi Estate (move in with your solid gold tooth-brush ready) and the $46 million Crow estate on Preston Road, which was taken off the market in early November, as I told you. It was reduced from $59.356 million to $46m, not sure Steve got that message. The $46 million Crow estate would likely be a tear down and a huge building project for a Mark Molthan, John Sebastian or one of our guys. Enormous.

But it would be someone’s total personal dream.

So I did some digging. I think Steve is onto something. Sure enough, the Hicks home status is cancelled — off the market. Went off MLS on November 24.

Well, why would they do that if they wanted to sell it, you ask?

Simple: keep the price and transaction quiet. Brilliant strategy.

Allie Beth and David Nichols are being quite mum, of course, but I hear that the Hicks have recently been looking at both Museum Tower and The Ritz Residences (Tower II) for an interim home while they decide how and where to downsize in Dallas. Word is they have to be out of Walnut Place by March. It’s really amazing because Allie Beth and David just got the listing in March!

This is all conjecture and chatter, but comes from people in the know, so I’m going to throw it out there.

After all, Steve started it. And I cannot think of a better way to end 2015, a killer year in Dallas real estate, than with the sale of a $100 million Dallas home! (more…)

Love this sassy little write-up on the Hicks estate, which is marketed by Douglas Newby & Associates, from Your Mama at The Real Estalker:

Like we usually do when it comes to dissin’ and discussin’ high-priced real estate in Dallas Your Mama gave the deliciously dishy Dallas-based property gossip Candy Evans a ringy-dingy and asked if she thought there was much of a market for a $135,000,000 house in Dallas.

There may very well be a market for an $135 million house in Dallas, but it’s a small one, as Candy said. You never know, right? Still, as Your Mama pointed out, you’re going to need big bucks and a lot of water to run this place. Natch:

The next owner of the Hicks’ estate may want to know that maintaining the vast estate will require an astonishing amount of water. Even with a private well Mister and Missus Hicks consistently rank among the highest users of water in a state regularly racked by drought. In August 2011 reports numerous multiple media outlets in the Dallas/Houston/Fort Worth area reported that Mister and Missus Hicks used 1.35 million gallons of public water for the month of June alone and in July 2012 the Dallas Morning News reported they consumed a total of 12,315,020 gallons of public water in 2011.

Eeek! That’s crazy! Then again, it’s not exactly like you can xeriscape a 25-acre estate! Maybe it’s time to take a nod from the soon-to-be-open George W. Bush Presidential Center and replace some of the landscape with drought-hardy natives and maybe some wildflowers? Just a thought.