This luscious home at 5622 Harbor Town up in Bent Tree North, was designed by starchitect Frank L. Meier in 1981. It brings us nicely out of our introspective week gazing at 1963-era homes built the year President John F. Kennedy visited Dallas and met with his sudden, tragic, untimely death. The home is being marketed by the amazing Jacqui Bloomquist of Coldwell Banker Apex.
In 1963, Dallas was still a small city. But by 1981, Dallas was a high-flying business center, having matured during the ’70s. In 1971, the marketing term “Metroplex” was coined, perhaps to pull attention away from the sting of Kennedy’s death on the Dallas name. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the landmark abortion decision of Roe v. Wade, which began as a case in 1970 in District Attorney Henry S. Wade’s courtroom. In 1974, DFW International Airport opened for commercial airline flights and the small airport where Lyndon Baines Johnson was sworn in as president after Kennedy’s death was relegated to, essentially, an intra-state airport. By 1978, our new I.M. Pei-designed city hall snagged world headlines. The real estate market heated to a boil. In 1984, all eyes were on Dallas for the Republican National Convention . Trammel Crow built an addition to his trademark hotel, then called the Anatole, that rumor claims was paid for by the time the convention ended.
Richard Rogers was the son of cosmetics queen Mary Kay Ash. He helped his mother found Mary Kay Cosmetics in 1963 with her life savings of $5000.
In 1980, Rogers commissioned Frank L. Meier to design a sprawling home for himself and his bride on 1.80 acres between Preston Trails and Bent Tree golf course. It provides spectacular views of the Signature 14th hole. The home was commercially constructed, built like– pardon my expression — a “brick outhouse” by Tomlinson Construction Corp. with pure commercial grade construction. The total cost of the project back in ’81 was $3.85 million because Rogers spared no expense for his bride, and it was loaded with long retaining walls, 23 wood columns, pier & beam construction with more than 100 piers, tile roof, wall sheets of plate glass windows with panoramic views of the signature 14th Hole: 8940 square feet of Meier magic. There is a game room, mud room, library and solarium. Four bedrooms, four full and two half baths and glorious formals plus grounds, a pool, pond with boat dock, and emerald green everywhere.
Legend has it that Mary Kay financed the construction project through Murray Savings and Loan, talk about a blast from the past, then deeded it over to Rogers. She apparently put up two Lear Jets as collateral!
Richard only lived on Harbor Town about four years as he and his wife divorced. Mary Kay Ash died on Nov 22, 2001, the 38th anniversary of JKF’s death.
Rogers’ home was sold in the mid 80’s to another owner, then snapped up by commercial real estate tycoon John Lau and wife Debbie.
I hope John Lau’s name rings a bell: he’s a man who has great taste in residential real estate and buys significant properties carefully, deftly, smartly. John bought Chateau Du Triomphe, the 43,000 mansion on Strait Lane that was built by George and Dominique Perrin. Triomphe, sadly, burned to the ground in July, 2002.
The home only had four bedrooms, but they were huge suites, multiple garages, a 20,000 bottle wine cellar, and a 21-seat home theater. Triomphe was known for its grandiosity– the master bedroom alone was 3,000-square-feet, there was a natatorium, seven garages, and umpteen closets. Triomphe was also a well-considered piece of architecture, with the fingerprints of Robbie Fusch (1st go) and five Fusch-Serold & Partners architects to Carol and Will Snyder (2nd go) . Had it not been destroyed, Chateau du Triomphe would have been one of Dallas most talked about homes, gracing the pages of this blog daily. In August of 1997, George and Dominique sold their unfinished dream to Lau. They reportedly had $28 million invested in the home and property and had even purchased/ordered all of the furniture. They listed the property at $14 million. At the time I was told John offered about $8.5 million cash, and it was a done deal. The Perrins, rumor has it, walked away from almost $20 million. Triomphe was listed in 2001 at $44.9 million.
John Lau bought Triomphe for that ridiculous price and flipped it to Jean Boulle, who then finished the home before it met it’s sudden, tragic, untimely death by a massive fire.
This is really all too much to take in. If you are a visitor to Dallas know this: real estate in this town is positively incestuous! All you have to remember to do is go down to the good folks at Inwood Mortgage and ask for $1,795,000 to cover this amazing historical Dallas purchase. Better yet, fly down there in one of your Lears, and put it down as collateral.