briggs freeman logoI told you a few weeks ago that Sotheby’s International sued Briggs Freeman, one of it’s own franchisees, due to the beefs of another one of it’s franchisees, Williams Trew Real Estate Services of Fort Worth. Turns out the judge did not grant Sotheby’s a temporary restraining order last month.

Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater threw out Sotheby’s request for a TRO “Because plaintiff has not shown that it faces a substantial threat of irreparable harm between the time its TRO application was filed and when the court can address its preliminary injunction application, the court denies the application. The denial of the TRO application does not suggest a view on the merits of plaintiff’s pending preliminary injunction application.”

Anyhow, I guess Williams Trew decided to take matters into their own hands: On Friday, the 13th of September, Williams Trew Sotheby’s International Realty of Fort Worth filed suit against Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty of Dallas and Robbie Briggs. The beef is tortious interference — WT says Briggs has interfered with Williams Trew’s contract with Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC.

williams true

The lawsuit, filed in 348th Tarrant County State District Court, seeks actual and punitive damages and a permanent injunction barring certain business activity. Here’s what WT founding partner Martha Williams told the Fort Worth Business Press:

“Competition in the marketplace is fine so long as it is conducted lawfully,” said Martha Williams, a founder of Williams Trew in a news release. “We were forced to file this lawsuit due to Briggs Freeman’s refusal to acknowledge Williams Trew’s contractual rights with Sotheby’s International Realty.”

Here is Robbie Briggs response:

Robbie Briggs Statement Re: Williams Trew SIR v. Briggs Freeman SIR Tortious Interference suit

Manson_Court_Astleford_Interiors_Mark_Molthan

Of course this Wall Street Journal article by Alyssa Abkowitz doesn’t tell you and me anything new. We’ve known for weeks — if not months — that high-end homes in Dallas are flying off the shelves faster than Realtors can list them. It’s driven the resurgence of the hip-pocket listing, too, as newly wealthy or recently transplanted millionaires move to Dallas.

Abkowitz did a great job of quoting some of the big names in the luxury home scene, such as Platinum Series Homes builder Mark Molthan, Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s chief Robbie Briggs, and sought-after designer Barry Williams. The Park Cities and Preston Hollow get name-dropped along with gated communities in Fort Worth.

Of course, there’s a dissection of luxury homes and communities in other gas-rich areas such as San Antonio and Houston. It leads me to wonder, though, with so many municipalities on the fence when it comes to fracking, are we reaching the gas boom’s peak?

What do you think?

The Glass Pavilion bathUpdate, 10:23 pm: Am told this house must be sold within the next 30 days!

Happy Easter Monday and I hope you all had a beautiful Easter Sunday! My leak is fixed, Jo is enjoying her family, and I am bringing you an Easter treat that will make your heart beat faster. From Robbie Briggs come inside word that my most favorite home in the entire world is not just on the market, not just reduced, but the deal of a lifetime!The Glass House ext The Glass House LR The Glass House autosThe Glass House dining

Remember the Glass Pavillion? No April Fool’s joke here. The initial asking price was well over $35,000,000 WITHOUT cars or furnishings, then it was reduced to $19,995,000. Now I hear the home can be had for even less — like $13,900,000 and sources tell me may be negotiable even at that price! That’s a wee bit over the bank note. Robbie has all the deets, so go to him right now if you are interested.  (That’s rbriggs@briggsfreeman.com.) Anyone want to create a consortium of buyers for our new second home in Montecito? Count me IN!

As I said when I first wrote of it, this home was my Jedediah Leland/Citizen Kane moment: this house is my “girl in the white dress”. It flashes me back to Mies Van Der Roh’s Farnsworth House, near where I grew up. The Glass Pavilion was designed by Steve Hermann, and it is almost 14,000 square feet! A little big, and I’d need some stock in Windex, but I am still head over heels in love with this property! When interviewed by Santa Barbara Magazine, Steve, presumably still the owner, said he set out to design the  most minimalist house ever designed.Glass-House-1-223x300.jpg Steve

“There’s nothing inhibiting the flow of light and space. You are completely enveloped in nature,” says Steve, a longtime designer of high-end spec homes in Los Angeles, who first embarked on creating the Glass Pavilion six years ago.”The Glass House bath 1 The Glass House cars The Glass Pavilion bath

Set within a 3.5 acre estate of oak groves, this almost entirely glass home allows occupants to be enveloped by nature. As you drive down the long gated driveway, it slowly comes into view, like a miracle.

And it appears weightless, through the use of massive structural steel beams one of which alone is the weight of ten Range Rovers, as if it hovers above the expansive lawn. As you can imagine, the budget to build this home was virtually limit-less. Rumor has it the owners have more than thirty million jammed in it! It took six years to complete — well, this is California. Would have taken half as long in Texas. The glass panels are all created of Star Fire glass, an incredibly clear glass usually reserved for museum-quality jewelry displays. Kitchens and baths by Varena, Poliform and Antonio Lupi. The home has five bedrooms, five and a half baths, grand hallway and large wine room. (Do you see that walk-through shower?) The glass pavilion includes an art gallery where the owners currently display their vintage car collection. I’m told the 1955 silver Mercedes Gullwing is worth $ 1 million alone. Which gives me an idea: let’s draft a contract and ask that the cars remain with the house! The space is so generous it is capable of holding up to 32 cars within its walnut-lined walls. I mean, you could practically hold the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance in there!

This home is modernism at it’s best. It’s a redefining structure within modernism,  a benchmark building that sets the bar as to what modernism is and can be. And the location,   780 Ashley Road, is in one of the most beautiful parts of southern California, Santa Barbara. Reminds me of my Valencia days...

 

 

The Glass Pavilion bathUpdate, 10:23 pm: Am told this house must be sold within the next 30 days!

Happy Easter Monday and I hope you all had a beautiful Easter Sunday! My leak is fixed, Jo is enjoying her family, and I am bringing you an Easter treat that will make your heart beat faster. From Robbie Briggs come inside word that my most favorite home in the entire world is not just on the market, not just reduced, but the deal of a lifetime!The Glass House ext The Glass House LR The Glass House autosThe Glass House dining

Remember the Glass Pavillion? No April Fool’s joke here. The initial asking price was well over $35,000,000 WITHOUT cars or furnishings, then it was reduced to $19,995,000. Now I hear the home can be had for even less — like $13,900,000 and sources tell me may be negotiable even at that price! That’s a wee bit over the bank note. Robbie has all the deets, so go to him right now if you are interested.  (That’s rbriggs@briggsfreeman.com.) Anyone want to create a consortium of buyers for our new second home in Montecito? Count me IN!

As I said when I first wrote of it, this home was my Jedediah Leland/Citizen Kane moment: this house is my “girl in the white dress”. It flashes me back to Mies Van Der Roh’s Farnsworth House, near where I grew up. The Glass Pavilion was designed by Steve Hermann, and it is almost 14,000 square feet! A little big, and I’d need some stock in Windex, but I am still head over heels in love with this property! When interviewed by Santa Barbara Magazine, Steve, presumably still the owner, said he set out to design the  most minimalist house ever designed.Glass-House-1-223x300.jpg Steve

“There’s nothing inhibiting the flow of light and space. You are completely enveloped in nature,” says Steve, a longtime designer of high-end spec homes in Los Angeles, who first embarked on creating the Glass Pavilion six years ago.”The Glass House bath 1 The Glass House cars The Glass Pavilion bath

Set within a 3.5 acre estate of oak groves, this almost entirely glass home allows occupants to be enveloped by nature. As you drive down the long gated driveway, it slowly comes into view, like a miracle.

And it appears weightless, through the use of massive structural steel beams one of which alone is the weight of ten Range Rovers, as if it hovers above the expansive lawn. As you can imagine, the budget to build this home was virtually limit-less. Rumor has it the owners have more than thirty million jammed in it! It took six years to complete — well, this is California. Would have taken half as long in Texas. The glass panels are all created of Star Fire glass, an incredibly clear glass usually reserved for museum-quality jewelry displays. Kitchens and baths by Varena, Poliform and Antonio Lupi. The home has five bedrooms, five and a half baths, grand hallway and large wine room. (Do you see that walk-through shower?) The glass pavilion includes an art gallery where the owners currently display their vintage car collection. I’m told the 1955 silver Mercedes Gullwing is worth $ 1 million alone. Which gives me an idea: let’s draft a contract and ask that the cars remain with the house! The space is so generous it is capable of holding up to 32 cars within its walnut-lined walls. I mean, you could practically hold the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance in there!

This home is modernism at it’s best. It’s a redefining structure within modernism,  a benchmark building that sets the bar as to what modernism is and can be. And the location,   780 Ashley Road, is in one of the most beautiful parts of southern California, Santa Barbara. Reminds me of my Valencia days...

 

 

Baby Briggs So Robbie Briggs had a pretty amazing few days about a week ago. He landed the plumb marketing exclusive for Museum Tower. Then he attended the tasteful, elegant soft opening of MT with his wife, Nancy, walked to the symphony from MT, then had dinner at Stephan Pyles, where they ran into some friends.



“The evening gave me a real feel of what living in the Arts District is all about,” Robbie told me.

That’s not all it gave him! Early the next morning, Robbie and Nancy found out they were  grandparents!

This is Joel Ethan Briggs, born January 11 at 6;21 a.m. at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. The little angel came in at 6 lbs. 13 ounces and very healthy!

So what does this have to do with Museum Tower and Dick Bass? Well, they have something in common: they are grandparents who like to live high!

Alan Peppard’s round up of the Museum Tower opening in the Dallas Morning News revealed that Dick Bass and his wife, Alice, have bought at Museum Tower. Dick and Alice’s daughter Barbara Bass Moroney is married to Jim Moroney, publisher and CEO of The Dallas Morning News. They have five children.

I guess Dick loves that MT is so high, taller than the originally planned 20 stories. This man loves heights. He is the first man to climb the highest mountain on every continent, which he wrote about in his book, Seven Summits. Bass was 55 when he reached the top of Mount Everest in 1985,  making him the oldest to reach the top. Hmmm, 55 in 1985 makes him, what, 83 today? Doesn’t look a day over 60. He’s in great shape because of those heights. Bass is the founder and owner of the Snowbird Ski resort outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, where my family skied for years and still one of my favorite slopes anywhere. We were there once when Bass was skiing, and he was charming. He also once had some ownership in Vail and a home there.

Well, I had to ask Robbie: are you and Nancy thinking of moving into Museum Tower?

“It’s very tempting,” said Robbie. “I haven’t really looked at it for myself, for us, but I’m planning to do that pretty quick.”

Robbie has a home in Maine, not too far (I hope) from our family beach house up there.

“We’re not moving back into a house with our sites on spending time up in Maine,” he said. “I think being down there in the Arts District with grandchildren would be a great place for enjoying them and giving them culture!”

The role of a grandparent, said Robbie, among many is to bring culture to your grandchildren. Mom and dad may try, but they are usually pretty busy.

This is a great thought, actually: my in-laws gave my children all those “cultural extras” — boat trips, historical excursions, museum visits galore from Portsmith, N.H. to New York City and even in Dallas when they visited. And years ago, my mom took my kids to Chicago’s attractions when she still lived there. This is a great role for a grandparent and certainly living in the Dallas Arts District would be like having a playground of culture and art for your grandchildren that would be inexhaustible: theater times three, shows, music, the Nasher (yes, the Nasher), the DMA, and the Perot Museum of Natural Science all within walking distance!

So maybe that’s Museum Tower’s latest bumper sticker: Buy a Condo in the Dallas Arts District and Be The Grandparent You’ve Always Dreamed of Being: Perfect!

 

I have been on pins and needles waiting out this auction, bugging Robbie Briggs and Laura Brady at Concierge Actions all day yesterday. At about eight p.m. last night Robbie Briggs emailed me that “It was a fascinating process, and it appears to be successful.” Today I heard from Laura Brady who said — “we haven’t released details to anyone… the high bidder has formally requested confidentiality about their name and the high bid amount.” Which means the house did sell, we just don’t know for how much and who it sold to.

Great news!

Refresher: the 48,000-square-foot Hickory Creek mansion, known as Champ d’Or, which translates to “Fields of Gold,” was put up for auction by Concierge Auctions out of New York Friday, March 30 with a minimum reserve bid of $10.3 million. Champ d’Or cost about $46 million, took five years to build, and has been sitting on the market for umpteen years. Last market listing was $35 million and at least five local brokers have attempted to shed the house. The Denton County mansion was last appraised for tax purposes at $9.72 million, according to the Denton County Appraisal District. Champ d’Or was modeled after Vaux-le-Vicomte chateau in Paris.

Reading between the lines, I’m wondering if there was a confidentiality clause signed.

I have so many questions: how many bidders were there? Did they meet the reserve? Did they go into private negotiations? Were the bidders actually there? In most auctions, experts tell me they show up 75% of the time, unlike luxury auto auctions. They like to see the process and what they are buying. Sometimes buyers do send their brokers or POA reps.

I asked a veteran local real estate auction expert (who asked to remain confidential) to speculate on a couple of scenarios and tell me what HE THOUGHT went down. Speculation here, folks. What if, I asked, they didn’t meet the reserve yesterday? Let’s say they stalled out at 7 million, he said, you know everyone is staring at each other, they just thank everyone for participating and end the auction. They may take the top bidders aside, say hey we didn’t make the reserve, what are you interested in putting into this property? In other words,  private negotiations begin.

“Pending contract” could mean they are still trying to work out a contract, they didn’t make the reserve and are still negotiating. “Sale pending” may have indicated they made the reserve.

Now let’s say it sold at auction, met the reserve, bingo. Typically, there are no contingencies. If they negotiated privately, the buyer may have said I want to bring in my own inspectors,  etc., which any realtor knows just opens up the door for guess what: more negotiations.

The sprawling estate was drawing widespread interest from buyers across the U.S. and internationally, Laura Brady, vice president of marketing for Concierge Auctions, told the Dallas Morning News’s James Ragland. I know that, because even people from Japan who had seen it on my blog were emailing me about it. A refundable $250,000 cashier’s check was required to register, the number of bidders was confidential. James asked Laura some great questions:

Potential buyers were expressing interest in pursuing “the property for residential purposes, which is how it’s used now,” as well as possibly using it for a business headquarters, she said. Brady said developers also had designs on the property, which is about 40 miles north of Dallas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3817 Mockingbird Lane FW $839

Just talked to Robbie Briggs about the Williams Trew deal with Sotheby’s. Briggs-Freeman owns the Sotheby’s franchise for Dallas and Collin Counties, NOT Tarrant. William Trew got the Sotheby’s application through likely because they are a local firm, he says, and Sotheby’s likes strong local, upscale brokers. But, he said, that is not going to stop Briggs- Freeman from selling real estate in Fort Worth.

“We will be in Fort Worth selling actively” says Robbie, who says he has BFS agents living and working in Fort Worth already. “In fact, many Fort Worth agents are choosing to work with us because we are so dominant in the Metroplex.”

But with Williams Trew soon owning the franchise, Robbie will not be able to open up a Sotheby’s office in Cow Town. There will just be overlap, as there is in other areas of the country. And BFS will continue to dominate the ranch market, he says, covering a three-hour radius outside of Dallas AND Fort Worth.

“Sotheby’s is a fine brand,” says Briggs, “And Williams Trew is a great firm. This will just make the Sotheby’s brand more dominant in the Metroplex.”

Last month, as I sat in her Luther Lane office as Ellen Terry and Dave Perry-Miller hugged and talked about their future together, I do recall Ellen saying that several Dallas brokers had dialed her that very morning, inviting her to come on over. Well. Great Q & A with Ellen Terry and Robbie Briggs in Friday’s Dallas Business Journal with some new details about the merger. Candace Carlisle sure does a great job of covering commercial & residential real estate as well as sports biz. You have to subscribe to read the interview, but here are a few salient points:

-Robbie and Ellen first started talking about her coming on board six months ago.

-Ellen told Ebby two weeks ago about her decision (which is when I heard rumblings) and Ebby said, “honey, you do whatever you need to do. I support you.”

-Sotheby’s was a real hook for Ellen:  “They have improved their brand and I saw what they were doing marketing wise and I found I had stronger and stronger competition. I was already feeling it in the marketplace that they were growing in a lot of the high-end real estate and I figured, if you can’t beat them, join them.”

-Ellen is keeping her listings. 

-Robbie is an ace recruiter. “I’m not leaving because I did not love the Ebby Halliday company. Ebby was my mentor and role model. I had been there 17 years and loved it. … [But] Robbie pursued me heavily and I decided this was a good time to make a move.”

-I speak from personal experience of my own recent car fate: Ellen had better be careful in that Jag. Last week, she had a fender bender on Northwest Highway with Ebby in the car. She also once told Robbie she didn’t know whether to join him or run him over: Says he: “I was walking across the parking lot at work and Ellen pulled up in her Jag six months ago, saying, “You’re marketing is fantastic. I don’t know whether to congratulate you, or run you over.”

And a new development: Ellen’s assistant Caroline Summers, daughter of designer extraordinaire Emily Summers, will be joining Ellen at Briggs Freeman Sothebys.