It’s Back! A French Country Retreat (Formerly Known as Champ D’Or) Hits Market Bigger & Better for $17.5

 

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You do remember this estate up in Hickory Creek, the stunning French magnifique modeled after Vaux-le-Vicomte, a chateau on the outskirts of Paris, France?

It’s enormous: 48,000 square feet now on 39 acres. Originally built by CellStar Corp. founder Alan H. Goldfield and his wife, Shirley, the estate known as Champ d’Or (or “Gold Field”) is one of the grandest residences in the entire country. The property features endless unique high end amenities including a two-story mahogany library; a conservatory mimicking Tavern of the Green in New York City; an ornate theater complete with stage, twin loges, screen and and a concession stand; two commercial elevators; multiple staircases, powder rooms and fireplaces; a master suite with a steam room inspired by “The Rat Pack”,  hair salon, two-story Chanel-style “her” closet, two-story “his” closet, an indoor lap pool and an exercise room off the huge master bathroom with heated towel drawers. The third story holds a mirrored ballroom patterned after Versailles with complete kitchen plus powder rooms for the ladies and men. The entertaining prospects are endless there, or on the veranda with seating for up to 450 people. There is a catering kitchen and a Butler’s pantry. Downstairs, on the lower level, there is a bowling alley, full racquetball court, garage for 20 cars, and a laundry room with commercial washer, dryer and sheet press. There is also a full wine room and gift wrap room with storage. It doesn’t stop here: there is an outdoor pool and pool house, tennis court, and numerous patios and gardens.

As for actual number of bedrooms, there are about six with six full baths and eight powder rooms: the master wing is on the first floor, the Wedgewood suite with living area and fireplace, breakfast bar, luxurious bath and private laundry room, is on the second floor where you also find another two-bedroom suite, each with en suite baths. There is yet another bedroom compartment on the third floor near the ballroom. This one has living and dining rooms plus a kitchen with two bedrooms and separate en suite baths.

Once again, Joan Eleazer of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty is listing 1851 Turbeville Road, now known as “A French Country Retreat”. Asking is $17,500,000. No more Champ D’Or. Of course not: the Goldfields no longer own it. A new family, a new generation of life and love has filled 1851 Turbeville Road for the last few years as a second home, and they are ready to pass the beautiful baton:

Joan was the first, middle, last and now agent again to list Turbeville. There have been enough agents selling this property to start a brokerage: Joan, Doris Jacobs, Greg Cagle with Ebby Halliday, Joan again, Elaine Whitfield with Dave Perry-Miller, Cindy Frey, Joan. Rogers Healy had it most recently listed for $35 million. Each agent who listed it for the Goldfields spent about $100,000 marketing the property, except for Greg Cagle who spent $150K, or so I’m told.

Joan told me the original owners, Shirley and Alan Goldfield, had decided to sell the home before they even finished it. When she and Robbie Briggs drove up I-35 to Turbeville Road in Hickory Creek in about 2002, they were in for the shock of their life: 48,000 square feet of a flawless 17th century French chateaux  just north of Dallas. Workers were still on scaffolding finishing up all the work. It took the Goldfields almost 5 years to complete the home — nothing, not one stick, was rushed. Shirley Goldfield was a total perfectionist, and every inch of the home had to be utter perfection.

That could be why the home has aged so well. As we toured last Wednesday, I noticed perfect floors, mantels that passed the white glove test, and fixtures that looked like they had just come off the delivery truck. There are hundreds of little details like sound-proof doors to the home theater and storage, storage everywhere. You know the Goldfields even bought a jewelry store in Paris, Texas because they loved the cabinet craftsmanship of the interiors. They brought cabinets and shelving to Turbeville Road to create the Butler’s pantry. There is an island in the Butler’s pantry that opens at one end and stores a full size Brown Jordan serving cart.

There is simply nothing, nothing Shirley didn’t think of.

I tell you this because the home could never, ever be reproduced today for the $17.5 sales price. At one point the Goldfields had Champ D’Or listed for $72 million, and I think they claimed they spent $65 million to build it from 1998 to 2002. I recall Shirley Goldfield telling me she added the doves to the central foyer rotunda after 9/11 — she was at the home, at work with her craftsmen, when news hit about the attacks on America. Shirley loved all things French in the Château de Versailles, particularly its Hall of Mirrors, which served as the inspiration for the mirrored ballroom in Champ d’Or. She liked Napoleon’s digs, too, like the Palace of Fontainebleau, where Napoleon had all of his plates in the hallway. Hence the Hall of Plates, which came with the house, along with selected pieces of furniture and of course the famous black Chanel rug. The Hall of Plates connects the formal living and dining areas to the conservatory. All plates were sold with the house to the new owners.

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Hair salon off the master bedroom!

Don’t forget that the Chanel store in Paris was the inspiration for Turbeville’s two-story, all-black-lacquered “closet of every woman’s dreams”, probably the most famous closet in the world. The rooftop pool at the Hôtel de Paris in Monte Carlo inspired the couple’s lap pool off the master. Shirley once told me the central estate dome was inspired by the the renovation of Vaux le Vicomte, which prompted Champ d’Or’s most distinctive feature.

The home is a museum of French culture, but it also chronicles a certain economic and real estate history of North Texas. Turbeville was built during the Plano telecom boom, which fueled CellStar’s stock to go higher and higher and ultimately, pay for Shirley Goldfield’s dream. But like many telecom companies, things turned south for CellStar shortly thereafter: missed earnings, bankruptcy brushes, a reverse stock split, even a an SEC investigation. Things at CellStar were bad, but they could have been even worse: Stanford Financial Group almost acquired the company, as in Mister mini-Madoff R. Allen Stanford. The company was later plagued by an internal accounting scandal. As for the real estate market, Turbeville was built and put on the market almost as soon as the Goldfields moved in in 2002. Just in time for the dawning of the most amazing real estate market North Texas had ever seen… at the time. The estate survived the downturn in 2007 about as well as most North Texas properties: with nothing more than a nicked ego and price change. It was auctioned for sale by Concierge Auctions in 2012. I’ve written about the sales price, but that really doesn’t matter: the sale was in 2012 and the North Texas world has changed.

Dallas Broker extraordinaire Clay Stapp brought the buyer, who is a proud family man with several grandchildren. Joan tells me he bought the home as a vacation retreat for those grandchildren, and they have loved every minute of time spent there. I noticed the collection of kids swim goggles in the indoor master lap pool, the pool towels on the shelves: clearly this is an estate that has been put to full family use. There have been ballet recitals in the theater, parties in the ballroom, bowling nights, racquetball competitions, tennis lessons, swimming and fishing. Turbeville is very much like have a resort at your personal disposal to enjoy family in a country setting away from the maddening crowds, yes, but only 18 miles from D/FW Airport.

About that country setting: life has changed in Hickory Creek, Texas. Oh, it’s still a charming village minutes from Lake Dallas, where you can still see ranches dotted horses and Longhorn. This is country, but it’s changing. Homes have sprouted like corn all down Turbeville Road, some of it on land that was bought from the Goldfields.

As Joan and I discussed, the world of North Texas just south of 1851 Turbeville Road today is a very different world from the 2012 economy the estate was auctioned off in. Very different. Back then, $5 Billion Mile in Frisco, or $2 billion mixed-use at State Highway 121 and the Dallas North Tollway at Legacy, was just a dream in a developer’s eyes. Land prices are rising, and Plano homes are in bidding wars. Toyota is moving it’s headquarters here, to Legacy, opening in 2017.

I had lunch with Sabine Gaedeke today. Her company is building two 14-story office towers at the southeast corner of State Highway 121 and Legacy Drive, between the offices under construction for Toyota, FedEx Office and Liberty Mutual Insurance. Sabine is positively giddy about the Legacy corridor and it’s growth potential, and the mad grab for land in North Texas:

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She said her company identified the Legacy West development as where it wants to build.

“There are going to be a lot of people who want to do business with Toyota and the other firms up here,” Stener said. “All of a sudden this is a market that competes on a world stage.

“We wanted to be part of this.”

As other agents tell me, this is a very different Dallas — make that North Texas — than it was three years ago. Billions of dollars of development is taking place north along the Dallas North Tollway, development spilling west to I-35 and marching on towards Denton.

“It used to be that you couldn’t get a drilling rig with the oil market, not you cannot get a crane with the land rush, ” says Sabine Gaedeke.

The Goldfields sure had the vision, and the current owners of 1851 Turbeville Road, the Tahini’s, have seen it come to pass.

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