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If the railroads vital to the Crespi family’s cotton trade had run through Waco and not Dallas, Pio and Florence Crespi might have hired Maurice Fatio to build their estate there, instead of Walnut Hill Lane in Dallas.

And nobody would be agog today at the news that the Crespi estate, which has changed hands several times in the past couple decades, had sold to another prominent Dallas family this week. Both the Realtor  — Allie Beth Allman — and the most recent owner, Mehrdad Moayedi, signed non-disclosure agreements and can’t give details. A sales price is unknown, but the estate’s last list price was $38.5 million


Note: This article has been updated with information obtained after first publication.

Concierge Auctions will be auctioning off a Dallas landmark property, the former Crespi Estate now known as Walnut Place, as it was christened by its previous owner, Tom Hicks. The 1938-era, 29,000 square foot estate was commissioned by Count Pio Crespi, built of Indiana limestone by Maurice Fatio, and significantly restored by Mr. and Mrs. Hicks, who acquired the estate in the late 1990s and spent about 16 years and close to $100 million on the near-perfect expansion and remodel.  

Dallas-based banker, financier, investor, businessman, and professional poker player Andy Beal bought the estate almost a year ago from Hicks. The location: primo Preston Hollow. George and Laura Bush are nearby. The address is almost as long as the driveway: 10000 Hollow Way Road.

The auction takes place Dec. 20, with Dec. 19 as a preview day. Allie Beth Allman, who has had the property since March of 2015 when it was listed for $100 million, is the listing agent. It was the owner, she told me, who decided to bring out the auction gavel.

There is no reserve. That means, there is no baseline bid required to begin, such as at, oh, let’s say $20 million.


Hicks Walnut Place

We have heard rumors ever since he bought the most expensive piece of real estate in Dallas from Tom Hicks that he wanted to sell it.

Well, now he has gone and made it official: Andy Beal listed 10000 Hollow Way Drive, just west of the Dallas North Tollway at Walnut Hill Lane, on January 10 with the agent who sold it to him, Allie Beth Allman. Asking price is $48.9.

The estate is the same size as it was a year ago when Beal snapped it up — all 27,029 square feet —  and Beal is selling off every lick of the land of 25.25 acres. Only difference: the kitchen has been ripped out.

There has been much speculation that he would divide and split up the land, parsing the vast acreage into developable lots (think the Creeks of Preston Hollow) and sell the home on a 5 or 7 acre parcel. But for now, it appears he is selling it all lock, stock and barrel, including that torn up kitchen Beal ripped out to replace.

The price is also not surprising. We had heard the estate, once priced at $135 million when Douglas Newby had it, sold for somewhere in the $50 to $60 million range, which could have included furnishings and antiques.

Indeed, the sales price is LOWER than DCAD value, which has two properties (one a 20 acre plot, the other a 5 -ish acre plot) valued at a total of $61,278 ($4,152,000 plus $57,126,000).

So this could be the biggest bargain in town.

“He doesn’t seem to have a problem with the price,” Allie Beth Allman told Steve Brown. “He has other plans.

“I don’t ask any questions — just do what he says.”



We’ve been blogging about it for weeks now, and I have to give credit where credit is due: Steve Brown at The Dallas Morning News was first to publish that Andy Beal was interested in buying Walnut Place, the former Crespi Estate on Walnut Hill Lane that was listed by Allie Beth Allman and David Nichols for $100 million. I had heard Beal was going back and forth between Walnut Place and the beautiful Crow mansion at 4500 Preston Road. We know the Hicks are getting close to finding a new home in Dallas, and Allie Beth Allman tells me the 35,275-square-foot (67,689 including terraces) estate closed officially this morning when papers were signed. And Beal paid for the home in cash. She will not disclose the sales price, nor comment on my incessant questions about the Crow estate or sales price, but she did tell me that Andy Beal bought all of the estate, all 25.25 acres, and he plans to keep it intact.

“He doesn’t plan to split it,” she told me.

Bravo Andy Beal!

Allie Beth Allman is an amazing agent, and I had to ask her, how does she feel after pulling off the largest sale in Texas history — actually, in Texas and Oklahoma and probably in the whole southwest U.S. history?

“I don’t feel any different,” she said. “I went to back to work immediately. I had an agent calling me during the closing about another property.”

And while she could not divulge what the final selling price was, she did say that both parties were thrilled.

“The Hicks are thrilled, the buyers are thrilled,” said Allie Beth. “And you know I’m not happy if it’s not that way at every single closing, regardless of the sales price. We are talking about someone’s home and they should not just be happy but be thrilled with the entire process.”

If they are not, she says, then I haven’t done my job. And Allie Beth Allman ALWAYS does her job.

As for the Crow estate, she has a listing agreement and it is on the market and available for $46 million.  It was off the market for the holidays, she told me.

I have to laugh at those who said, and some who actually wrote, that this estate would never sell. It took David and Allie Beth only 9 months to sell a $100 million property.


Until the Waggoner Ranch closes, this is the largest real estate sale in Texas history, and certainly will be the largest in Dallas history for years to come. The last largest sale in Dallas history was 5323 Park Lane, when Kelcy Warren bought the nine plus acre estate of Joyce and Larry Lacerte, designed and built by Cole Smith, decorated by Sherry Hayslip, and listed with Ralph Randall at Ebby Halliday. 5323 Park Lane was originally listed in 2008 for $45 million, then lowered to just under $40 million as the nation’s real estate bubble went bust. According to my sources, it sold for about $29 million-ish, and sharp Kelsey even asked for an outside appraisal. His buyer’s agent was Rosie Waters of Allie Beth Allman and Associates, who is married to football legend Charlie Waters, who works (or worked at the time) for Mr. Warren.

Dallas real estate — I LOVE IT! Jump for the story on Walnut Place, complete with photos, that we ran back in March of this year.Hicks Main House- Foyer and Grand Stairway (more…)

Hicks Walnut Place

UPDATE 10:35 am: I heard from Thomas, who explains he was picked by Marketwatch as one of 21 representatives for 21 cities across the U.S. to write about their city’s real estate market. He is the Dallas representative and just got a crash course in SEO:

“My last article had about 6,400 views total and I started to think, what do people want to read about? Ultra-expensive, celebrity type homes of course! This article has 67,000 views in 18 hours.

 The ground rules are simply that they want us to write about the city’s real estate market: whether that be an interesting property or a change in prices, etc. I am on a warpath to become a top Dallas realtor, so this was a perfect opportunity! “

That would be Dave Perry-Miller agent Thomas Randall, who wrote a piece for the online Dow Jones’ product MarketWatch: (more…)


Alan Peppard reported Sunday on something I have been meaning to tell you: The Tom Hicks Crespi Estate on Walnut Hill Lane has been reduced in price, somewhat. As Alan reports, the Hicks have decided to sell their estate with less land for less money: 10 acres, and 42,500-square-feet of the most luxurious living in Dallas or the entire state, for that matter.

Previously we reported here, first of course, that the Hicks estate was on the market for $135 million. At that time it took the prize for the most expensive estate for sale in the United States. That was for all 25.25 acres, a lot of grass and trees (and some ponds) even in the honeypot of Old Preston Hollow. In fact, I wonder how much damage the Hicks had from last weeks’ storm– hopefully none.

Alan reports that Doug Newby now says you can have the house and all the structural trimmings on 10 acres for a mere $60 million.

But aha, Unique Homes Magazine claims that the whole shebang was reduced to $98 million in 2014, for less land. How much less? I’ve got an email into my NAREE colleague Camilla McLaughlin over there to find out. (more…)

Watson Circle IHOWThere is so much more to this home than meets the eye. Of course, what meets it isn’t bad, either. It looks a bit dated from the outside, though classic red brick and white Tuscan columns are a classic, timeless favorite.

First of all, LOCATION! You know how I preach this, and though this is about one-quarter mile east of the Dallas North Tollway, this is still primo Preston Hollow. Yes, you will hear the Tollway but Tom Hicks (up the street) probably hears it sometimes, too.

And NAME DROPPING! Guess who once lived across the street: baseball great Mickey Mantle, who died in 1995.

Watson CircleAcross the Dallas North Tollway you will find Patrick Snuffer, the aforementioned Thomas O. Hicks, Trevor Pearlman, Harold Simmons, Kelcy Warren, Tom Leppert, Caroline Wyly, the Folsom Family, T. Boone Pickens, and of course Mark Cuban. Baxter Brinkman is just down Douglas. The home is basically priced at lot value — and let me tell you, lots are very rare and in high demand these days. At $1,095,000 you are basically getting a whole house on .85 acres for free. (Even acres up in my non-Preston Hollow, that-I-still-call-Preston-Hollow, ‘hood are selling for over a million per acre.) I’m told the juicy whole acres in the middle of the Honey Pot are now edging towards $1.5 for pure dirt.

So like I said, perk up folks. This home is worth a serious look. Kitchen and master bathroom have been redone and decked out, kitchen with $35,000 worth of high-end appliances and a totally “gourmet” look but still looks like Julia Childs’ era. Basically, you are getting a 1950’s frame with new guts: in 1998, electrical, HVAC and plumbing were updated. That’s also when the major updates were completed.

Built in 1951, the home does have the bane of most of North Dallas; housing inventory: low ceilings.

On a bright note, they are easier to clean at 8 ft. heights.

Watson Living room Watson Circle LR 2 Watson Circle dining room Watson Circle den Watson Circle kitchen Watson Circle kitchen 2 Watson Circle studyThe home also has more than 4,000 square feet all on one floor. Four bedrooms, three full and one-half baths, and two living areas. It could be the future location of an estate or billionaire’s 10,000 square foot “environment”; nearby Douglas is lined with $4 million dollar mansions. You could add a pool and tennis court plus quarters and still have plenty of room for softball.

The master bathroom was added in 1998, and it is a knock-out. Travertine everywhere, multiple walk-in closets, and a huge dressing room complete the master wing as a total spa-like escape that June Cleaver could never have conceived in her wildest dreams in than twin bed.

Let me put it to you this way: if you are a couple, or alone, have multiple homes or travel, or have one small child plus Nanny, this is a great buy right now. The rooms that count for you are first-class, and you’ll be literally sitting on an investment in dirt that the stock market could not match. At least, not in my opinion.

Watson Circle master Watson Circle master spa tub Watson Circle master bath 2 Watson Circle bedroom Watson Circle master shower Watson Circle patio Watson Circle patio 2Then there is the outside: the owners have built a climate-controlled storage center on a slab foundation with its own electrical and A/C system. No more Private Mini Storage! This could be converted to an office or artists’ studio.

The lot is also a perfect rectangle, measuring 153 feet by 231 and loaded with oaks, elms and crepe myrtles. Sit a spell in the backyard and you will not believe you are five minutes from Preston Center and 7 miles from downtown Dallas.

Listed with dynamo agent Kyle Rovinsky of Virginia Cook. You know what I’d do? Buy this home and paint the brick white, make it look like a one-story Tara! Go down to Inwood Mortgage, get a loan, and have them toss in a little bit more for some white paint.

Maybe a little extra to cover up those peachy keen walls: oh 1982, I remember you so very well!











4425-Highland-Drive-575x368 (1)Oh these sleepy summer months when everyone is out of town at their summer home, like in Santa Barbara. What a perfect time for someone to slip out of their “no-longer on the market home” at 4425 Highland Drive, and slip into another home in Highland Park?

I am told there were no less than 5 White Glove Storage & Delivery trucks in front of the house yesterday, and they took all his stuff to another home in Highland Park with the utmost care, my sources tell me. Now I had heard Troy was moving up to Preston Hollow. Guess he changed his mind and stayed in Highland Park?

Aikman’s house was once the most expensive residential real estate in North Texas at $24 million. Now, it’s peanuts what with Tom Hicks’ spread on the unofficial market for is it $135 million (did I type that right?). Recall that Aikman sold a parcel of his estate last May for an estimated $10 million to Brian and Barbara Pratt, who plan to build on the property, and in fact may have started.  The lot was listed at $11,500,000 for only 109 days. The lot was never ever in MLS, but I think the sales price is close to ten million. 4419 Highland Drive includes a cabana, a deck and sport court and 39,239 square feet of dirt to build on,  a hefty Highland Park lot of 159 width by 258 depth.

Potashnik house

History of 4425 Highland: In February of 2009, Troy bought this lot from from Brian and Cheryl Potashnik for about $5 to $8 million. When he sold the lot last May, he lowered the price of his 10,000 plus square foot homestead to $14 million.

Brian Pratt is chairman, president and CEO of Dallas-based Primoris Services Corp, which appears to be a serious commercial infrastructure contractor in engineering and construction consultation and services, with some impressive clients. Oil field services perhaps?