A gloomy global economy has not deterred the purchase of a residence at the base of Red Mountain in Aspen, Colorado for a staggering $43,000,000.
Aspen-based real estate broker Jen Engel announced the closing of the purchase on Monday, July 13th via a press release and blog post. The sale was arranged and coordinated by Christie's Great Estates affiliate Joshua & Co. The 21,477 square foot estate is located on a 4.5 slender acres at 421 Willoughby Way on Red Mountain.
In these lean economic times, this mind-boggling transaction has profound local and national implications. First of all, this transaction shatters the previous real estate record for a single-family home in Aspen by 6.5 million dollars. The previous record was set in December 2007 by Florida real estate and casino developer Jeffrey Soffer, who purchased Saudi Price Bandar’s 14,395- square-foot guest home on 66.6 acres for $36.5 million. According to Engel, the home is one of the largest private real estate transactions for a family home in Colorado history, which is classified differently from ranchland. She also points out that the sale of the Red Mountain estate “is the largest single family residence sale in the United States for 2009.” Considering the current economic recession and the national real estate sector doomed by increased foreclosures and declining nationwide property values, the Willoughby Way transaction resonates with significance for the Aspen real estate market, helping to elevate the elite prestige of home-owning in what Forbes magazine has already knighted as “the most expensive zip code in the United States.” Luxury real estate agents in the Roaring Fork Valley surely have a reason to rejoice.
However, to the proletariat masses outside of Aspen who gawk in hypnotism at Saturday afternoon marathons of MTV Cribs and VH1 Fabulous Life while munching leftover pizza, it’s easy to shrug the sale off as another ostentatious display of wealth by the privileged class. Interesting enough, Joshua & Co has brokered more lucrative deals outside the immediate Aspen area in Carbondale, Colorado. The realtor brokered the sale of the Crystal Island Ranch in 2006 for $47,000,000 and Mandalay Ranch in 2004 for $46,000,000.
In the meantime, some may say Willoughby Way on Red Mountain lacks the pastoral or sylvan acreage of other Aspen properties currently on the market in the $30,000,000 to $60,000,000 price range. Although it does boast a whooping nine-bedrooms and 13 bathrooms, a few other marquee properties for sale on McClain Flats or West Buttermilk boast ranch-like spreads and ample living space with relative proximity to Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass, and Buttermilk. On the other hand, it’s worth speculating the buyer of this rural Red Mountain manor may not be interested in raising a herd of horses, a mob of feather-shedding emus, or putting up with amount of physical labor that sort of thing entails. Close proximity to the restaurants, shops, and nightlife of the immediate downtown Aspen CORE and the ski area on neighboring Aspen Mountain could have been just what the customer was looking for. The 43,000,000-dollar Aspen chateau was not listed on the Aspen MLS. The Aspen Times mentions the Pitkin County tax assessor has appraised the actual 2009 property value at approximately $50.31 million.
It’s too soon to march down to the Pitkin County Assessor’s office to see the actual residence name – not the lawyer firm middlemen or Dallas-based real estate holding group latched to the deed. In the Aspen Times, Newton Bartley, the broker who represented the buyer, said, “It was a straight, cash deal,” and that the buyer became interested in acquiring the property toward the end of this past ski season.
Don’t fret! As soon as we get the skinny, juicy details, we’ll divulge. Look for updates on Aspen.com as more information pours in.
UPDATE: Here's a link to pictures of this beautiful Aspen Manor, courtesy of Charles Cunniffe Architects.
UPDATE: According to the Aspen Daily News, the new owner of this extravagant estate is Lewis Sanders, a former fund manager at Aliance Bernstein. In addition to his Aspen mansion, he owns homes in East Hampton, New York and Palm Beach, Flordia. He also owns a home near the ridge of Red Mountain in Aspen, assessed at a property value of $23.6 million.
Stay tuned to Aspen.com for an upcoming feature on living the Aspen real estate dream.
Excited about a new high profile homeowner in town? Yearn for the pre-real estate frenzy Aspen of the 60s and 70s? Can’t afford to pay Aspen rents or live the dream in Aspen any longer? Get it off your chest by giving us a piece of your mind (or at the very least your favorite Dumb and Dumber quote) in the comments!