Nassau3.23.13 (46).jpgbeach privateIt’s the most talked about second home resort in the western world, located on a shimmering Bahamian beach dubbed the new French Riviera.

Baha Mar is a $3.5 BILLION mega-resort under construction now in Nassau, The Bahamas. Thousands of construction crews are working around the clock, working so diligently they add one full story to the hotel towers every ten days. It is the largest resort under construction in the Western Hemisphere and has been described as Vegas with 3000 feet of beach.

Here’s how majorly buzzed this resort is: I was at a national real estate editor’s conference, talking, actually, to the developer of another major resort in the Caymans. I mentioned that I had visited Baha Mar and was very impressed. Her eyes grew wide.

“You should be,” she said. “Everyone knows about Baha Mar, everyone is watching it. Even developers think it will set total major new standards of luxury in the Caribbean resort world.”

And this came from the competition!

BahaMar_CGI_Birdseye_2Such a development is the colossal Baha Mar mega-resort. The $3.5 billion, yes, with a “B” project is set on 1,000 acres of prime beach front paradise and will soon become one of the world’s largest, most luxurious resorts with everything jet-setting second home owners who love water could desire, and then more.

And then, even more!

The total square footage of the development is expected to hit 3.3 million, with every square inch devoted to luxury. Baha Mar will open formally in December, 2014. There will be four hotels including a luxury Grand Hyatt, Rosewood, and Mondrian and the Baha Mar Casino & Hotel. All of the hotels will surround a 100,000 square foot casino that promises to combine the best of Las Vegas and Monte Carlo. Jack Nicklaus himself is directing construction of a brand new 18-hole Nicklaus Signature golf course. The resort will include 40+ luxury retail stores, 30+ restaurants, bars and nightclubs all set on one of the world’s most spectacular beaches.

Baha Mar is selling 284 private residences total for everyone’s taste. There will be one bedroom condominiums to three bedroom penthouses, and four bedroom total beach villas all overlooking miles and miles of sparkling clear, aqua blue ocean.

Perhaps the best news yet: the lift will be so convenient, you will practically land at the resort. Seriously, Baha Mar has already invested in building more than $250 million new tree-lined boulevards that will connect the resort to Nassau’s sparkling new Lynden Pindling International Airport with only a 10 minute ride. Lynden Pindling is the largest airport in The Bahamas, and was recently enlarged even more. If you fly private, you can depart the mainland and be on the beach by ten. Fly commercial, you can early-bird it from DFW via Miami in the morning, and be on the beach by afternoon.

One of the most interesting facts about this ambitious development is how it is leading the Bahamas out of the worst recession since The Great Depression.

In April 2005, Lyford Cay-based property developer Sarkis Izmirlian put together the newly-formed Baha Mar Development Company and purchased three aging dowager hotels on Nassau’s Cable Beach.

Baha Mar Development worked closely with the Bahamian government and put together plans for a multi-billion play world on Cable Beach that would include private residences, hotels, a casino, retail village, convention centre, state of the art expanded and enlarged golf course, plus of course beach and pool amenities.

But, then, the perfect storm: The U.S. housing market came crashing down, with Europe to follow, like a twin domino.

March, 2009. I remember the mood well, even in “we escaped-the-recession” Texas. (Yes, the tee shirts exist.) Real estate was glum, depressing, and no one was moving unless they absolutely had to or were carried out of their homes feet first. Banks were as dry as the the Sahara.

Baha Mar, rather than folding the tent, looked east for it’s fortune, to the cash-rich Chinese government.

That’s where the magic happened.

China’s Export-Import Bank agreed to arrange $2.5 billion in construction financing and the China State Construction & Engineering Company (the largest construction company in the world) signed on to build the project. The plan called for Baha Mar to feature four luxury hotels and add 2,200 hotel rooms and condos to the country’s current inventory.

By supporting Baha Mar’s development, the Bahamian government created 4,000 more Bahamian jobs, $400 million in Bahamian construction contracts, and $8 million for training Bahamian workers. After all, white glove hotels were coming in and the staffs needed detailed training to kick service up a notch or so..

Bahamian firms got their contracts, and the China State Construction & Engineering Company got to work. The developer also covered the cost of a fancy new electrical substation, built a central sewerage system, and even a reverse osmosis plant for potable water. Massive on-site generators guaranteed to keep the resort juiced up even after a storm for several weeks. Then the developer did even more economic hand-stands: when work on the $75 million road to the airport, named “JFK” by Bahamians, was stalled and slowed, Chinese workers pitched in and helped to finish it. Despite the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War of yesteryear, this part of the Caribbean likes Americans enough to name a major street after an American president.

Why do you want this second home resort development on your radar?

Baha_Mar_CGI_1_LR[1] BML_ConstructionAerial_DSC_0018_LR[1]If you are considering a second home for purchase in a beautiful beach environment, this is it, baby. Buy now or keep Baha Mar on your radar. 284 residences are available for sale, starting at about $1.2 million, each with a killer water view. Baha Mar has the magic of great climate, sunshine and surf which means if you buy here, you will enjoy the water every day and every day will be like, well, vacation!

“The views are endless,” says Tom Dunlap, president of Baha Mar Development. Dunlap cut his teeth at Walt Disney Co. as vice president of Imagineering, then built a few billion dollar plus resorts in California and Costa Rica. Now he’s the man in charge of constructing every molecule of the resort from 9,000 sheets of drawings!

It is in the design of Baha Mar where you most see the fingerprints of world-class developer Sarkis Izmirlian. Izmirlian’s charge to the teams of architects and designers was to create a place that provided all of the luxuries anyone could imagine in a five-star resort, but preserve the authentic look and feel of the Bahamas. Like the waterfalls and brightly colored stucco buildings that pop out and make you feel brighter just from the ocular jolt. Bahaman art will be proudly displayed and promoted.

“Fads and trends will come and go,” says Izmirlian, “but when you are true to your surroundings, that will never go away.”

When you see the design of Baha Mar, the entire development looks and feels like the Bahamas. When you get a look at the uncompromising luxury of the finishes in the residences, your reaction is that someone really was very careful, thoughtful, almost obsessive about how they planned Baha Mar, as if they were matching the perfect weather.

“It’s absolutely beautiful (in Nassau) every day, ” Dunlap told The Bahamas Investor. “When you build these great resorts, it’s kind of like building a stage set. We are in a location where the people have been in the hospitality business for a long time, and understand the importance of our guests having a wonderful time.”

Baha Mar is becoming the poster child of a development that is doing everything RIGHT: the sophistication and solidarity of the developer, the construction genius of Tom Dunlap, a $3.6 billion USD infusion from China, and top brand names of the major hospitality players committed: Grand Hyatt, Rosewood and Mondrian.

BahaMar_Construction_NightDunlap says Bahamas buyers tend be 80% American, and 10% each Canadians and Europeans. Baha Mar, just this month, began marketing in the United States so you will likely begin seeing and hearing much more about the resort. Baha Mar is also attracting an international jet-setting crowd with purchasers from Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Because of the generally low cost of living in the Bahamas and the virtual absence of property or income taxes, the Bahamas has become one of the world’s top retirement meccas as well as a jet-setter playground.

While some second home purchasers are interested in a resort like Baha Mar because of the rental income a popular resort property can provide, most are looking for a place to create family memories in one of the world’s most beautiful water and natural marine life havens. They want expansive beach front, plus clean, sparkling warm waters, perfect weather and activities 24/7 the moment they arrive. That could be swim, snorkel, scuba, sun and jet ski, or it could be boat rides to explore private islands, lolling on a yacht, golf on signature courses, tennis, fitness, spa, arts and theater.

And always, of course, shopping for the glamorous nights at the casino.

“The affluent buyer is no longer focused on zip codes,” says Laurie Moore-Moore, a Dallas-based real estate consultant at The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. “The uber wealthy have become a tribe unto themselves where they find each other through common activities. They want stories and experiences, not just products.”

“This is a group that has become less local, far more global,” she says. “They find themselves through Wimbledon, The World Cup, Monte Carlo, Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach, sailing and great beaches.”

“We have new infrastructure, increased airlift and transportation,” says Tom Dunlap. “With the level of public infrastructure and private investment, I believe Baha Mar and The Bahamas are perched to hit a home run when we open in 2014.”

Home run? After my recent visit to the Baha Mar construction site and teases of the housing to come, I’d say it’s out of the ballpark!BML_ConstructionAerial_DSC_0027_LR[1]

 

Let’s play a little Jeopardy, OK?

Corpus Christi, Rockport, Port Aransas, Mustang Island

What are fabulous Texas Gulf Coast destinations?

Yes, that’s correct! These are all great cities and places on the Texas coast that are quick, accessible getaways that won’t break the bank. We’re talking about towns full of culture, history, and wildlife. Great places with tons of things to do, with great restaurants, fantastic fishing, and the laid-back Gulf Coast vibe.

We’ve picked five properties that are available now in this area, and if we could, we’d be spending this long weekend at any one of them!

1) 60 Blue Heron Drive

Mustang 1

2) 307 Bayside Drive

Mustang 2

3) 8 Edgewater

Mustang 3

4) 140 Bay Harbor Drive

Mustang 4

5) 13901 Cabana North Avenue

Mustang 5

Heritage Auctions home 1Fasten your seatbelts, get your reserve ready! I have told you all about real estate auctions, and I predicted we would be seeing a whole lot more. Real estate auctions are a great way, in fact, maybe the only way, to unload big, kinda albatross-y homes, as well as your standard multi-million dollar fare. Best example, of course, is Champ D’Or which sold at auction last March 31 in Hickory Creek.; whose contents were just sold off last week.  Often the owners are high net worth individuals who dabbled, or rather, over-dabbled in building, went a little too high end, or built in a location that turned out to be just plain WRONG!

Then there are vacation homes often owned by high net worth individuals who just want to be done with them. Well, guess who has jumped in to help? Our friends over at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas. Heritage also has galleries in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Did you know that Heritage has slipped right up on Sotheby’s and Christie’s (and, some say, moving up on) to become the world’s third largest auction house? Now the venerable art and collectibles auctioneer has announced the addition of Luxury Real Estate auctions to its growing portfolio of 30+ Auction categories.

The Heritage folks are so smart: not only will this net them more fine art and collectibles to sell, it will net them the very dirt and walls that surround all that stuff like, for example, the contents of Champ. Brilliant stroke!

The timing may also be more than perfect: two of the country’s top real estate auction houses are embroiled in nasty finger-pointing lawsuits. North Carolina-based Grand Estates Auction has charged New York based (and Sotheby’s sort of affiliated) Concierge Auctions of using sham bidders and other fraudulent tactics to inflate its transaction volume, and is seeking $23 million per claim. Concierge sold Champ D’Or here last March and more recently, an estate in Plano. Grand Estates, based in Charlotte, and two couples/home sellers alleged that Concierge published auction results for sales that never went through or involved “shill” buyers. The buyers, in collusion with the company, allegedly failed to register for the auction or pay a $100,000 registration deposit. The suit says deposits were returned in many of the sales. Further, Grand Estate says Concierge allegedly misrepresented its sales numbers and used web crawlers to inflate its Internet traffic. (Say what?) Of course, Concierge had already sued Grand Estates, alleging the firm set up fake email accounts to publish “false and defamatory” stories (what we call troll comments) about its competitor and steer business to Grand Estates. While these two duke it out, Heritage ought to sail right down the runway.

Unlike traditional real estate listings, sellers with Heritage Luxury Real Estate Auctions work with the team to maintain control over the entire sale, setting the date, marketing strategy, and terms of the auction. Relax agents, that team includes YOU. Selling at auction, of course,  creates a competitive bidding environment, where fully-qualified and motivated buyers participate in a transparent, non-contingent sale — all within 60 to 90 days’ time frame from beginning to closing.

Do not, repeat, do not confuse auctions with foreclosures. The Luxury Real Estate auction format accelerates the selling process, creates a sense of urgency with buyers and eliminates carrying costs while the vetting process brings in something every Realtor would kill for:  fully qualified buyers.

Experts tell me that homes that sell at auctions are homes that are simply not going to sell the traditional way: list, sign, MLS, wait for buyer. They may be too specialized, or overbuilt, or in the wrong location, or the sellers have grown tired of waiting. (Sound like Champ?) But never mind all the negatives: if a home is highly desirable and you can get a lot of people excited about it in a short, defined period of time, and you market the bejesus out of it, you can sell it.

More and more sellers, in fact, are coming to auction houses first so they don’t have to hassle with the time and inconveniences associated with listing a property the traditional way.

The Directors of the new Luxury Real Estate category are Nate Schar, who will be working from San Diego, Scott Foerst in Atlanta, and Amelia Barber, holding down the fort in Dallas, where Scott and Nate spend half their time anyhow. Scott  and Nate have a 13 year history of selling multi-million dollar properties by auction throughout North America totaling more than $250 million in sales. Previously, Nate was an asset manager at one of the Midwest’s top wealth management firms, and Scott served as architect and senior project coordinator with both commercial and residential construction firms in the Southeast. Both came to Heritage from — surprise! — Grand Estates Auctions. Amelia comes to Dallas by way of The Hill as in Washington, D.C. where she was a lobbyist. Amelia also managed operations for a national financial trade association.

“Heritage is the first fine art and high-end collectibles auctioneer to offer Luxury Real Estate auctions in this specific format, a perfect fit with our portfolio of services catered to high net worth individuals,” said Paul Minshull, Chief Operating Officer of Heritage Auctions. “These auctions will put the seller in control and provide liquidity in a timely manner.”

The properties presented by Heritage Luxury Real Estate Auctions will be marketed with customized advertising plans regionally, nationally and internationally, including Heritage’s 750,000+ bidder members from more than 186 countries. (How do you spell high net worth? HERITAGE.) The auctions will be marketed out the wahzoo to qualified buyers.

“Our sellers are finding this process a tactful and savvy means of resolving their traditional selling dilemma,” said Scott. “Auctions help maximize the full market potential of Luxury properties.”

So I asked Nate, Scott and Amelia: will this be vacation or primary homes?

“Vacation properties about 80% of the time,” said Nate, “There’s a lot of vacation homes out there and available, thus more inventory to sell.”

Many of those homes are free and clear with zero mortgage debt. Heritage will not be selling private planes and yachts, at least not at this time.

But there will be some primary residences in the pool. The trio plan 18 to 24 auctions per year, with the first one set to rock and roll this fall. I’m off to Maine next week — I’ll take this one!

 

 

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Love Field Guest HouseYou know Airbnb, yes? The sassy vacation rental site that let’s homeowners earn extra money off their homes by renting them out on a short term basis. I had the pleasure of hearing the founders speak two years ago at Inman in San Francisco. They started the concept when they were living in San Francisco, essentially, broke, and made short term cash fast by leasing out their apartment like a hotel. Bingo, a new concept was born.

Only New York City has not proven as friendly to the Airb&b concept. AOL Real estate reports NYC has “effectively deemed the vacation rental website Airbnb illegal, with a finding that a man there broke the law by renting out his apartment through the service.”

There are strict hotel laws in NYC. A judge arbitrating the case for the city’s Environmental Control Board claims using Airbnb violates New York’s illegal hotel law. That law is designed to stop landlords from turning residences into hotels, and prevents citizens from renting out their properties for less than 29 days. Tenants in NYC sub-lease apartments all the time, and that’s legal as long as it is for more than 29 days.

On May 10, a NYC judge fined New Yorker Nigel Warren $2,400 for violation of the hotel law. Not sure why he was snagged – Warren had faced a $7,000 fine for violating building and zoning codes in addition to hosting guests in his condo via Airbnb. According to CNET, the law is only actionable as a secondary offense. In other words, the city will only enforce the rule if a complaint is filed.

Apparently, San Francisco is also watching the hot start-up company for wriggle room around San Fran’s hotel occupancy taxes. 

We have friends who swear by Airbnb and have tried it in three U.S. cities, two foreign countries. Of those five visits, only one was unpleasant.

“It was not so much unpleasant, as it was a lovely property just in a very seedy part of town,” he told me last Supper Club. “I think it was an area undergoing re-gentrification.”

We were on vacation, he told me; we were not in the mood to be risky or re-gentrified. This, by the way, is a Love Field area guest house in Dallas, said to be near the CBD. It is on Midway Road. While the listing has 66 reviews, most quite stellar, don’t tell me that Love Field and Bluffview is near the CBD. This guest house rents for $75 a night.

See why Airb&b is so hot? See why hotels are concerned?

LongCove DavidLiles 4723Long Cove is a new, private residential community located just over an hour from Dallas on Cedar Creek Lake. The area is getting a ton of buzz.

Some good news is coming out of East Texas: Long Cove is getting it on. This coincides nicely with some positive news about the second home market: it is no longer dead! Second home sales are up by more than ten percent, while 11% of all real estate purchased nationwide goes for a second homes.

All of which may finally be great timing for Long Cove. The brand-spanking new private residential community on Cedar Creek Lake, honestly, the good part of Cedar Creek Lake, has appointed a director of resident services, David Liles. Liles will oversee the community’s Owners Association and Boat Club, and be the primary point of contact for Long Cove’s concierge-style services such as event programming, golf practice facility, boat rental management, resident boat maintenance, water activities and more.

Cottage 19-7 Lomg Cove Community - Across WaterNaturally, the guy knows the area like the back of his hand. Liles, a long-time resident of Cedar Creek Lake, is bullish on lake-style living. He knows the water and lives literally across the lake from Long Cove. In fact, he gets to work by “commuting” on his paddle board along with his dog, King.

“Becoming a part of a community like Long Cove is an incredible opportunity for me to share my passion for lakefront living, and I look forward to working with the Long Cove team to make this a premier family retreat,” said Liles.

Liles also will work to plan development initiatives, including a marina and additional fun services.

“We are thrilled to have David join Long Cove’s team, and we are confident that his skills as well as his knowledge of Cedar Creek Lake will be well received by our residents,” said Long Cove President Christopher Kelsey, “as he will make their ownership experience even more convenient and family-oriented,”

Long Cove’s mission is to give North Texas families the opportunity to escape from their crazy busy lives, build lasting memories and create family traditions that can be passed on to future generations. It is the vision of Dallas developer extraordinaire Don McNamara, who bought the 130-acre Cityplace property north of downtown Dallas in 1990 when the local economy was in deep recession. But McNamara knew something we are learning today: primo real estate survives any downturn if the ownership is strong enough. More than 20 years after his success with Cityplace, McNamara has a more pastoral dream: develop 1200 acres on Cedar Creek Lake into a luxury home community.

In 2008, when work was just beginning on the golf course, financial history took place: Lehman Brothers went down, and everyone panicked.

“The day Lehman Brothers failed, they shut the work down,” said Christopher Kelsey. “What we were going to do wasn’t going to work anymore.” Switching gears rapidly, the developers decided a 400-home neighborhood at lower price points would be more affordable to construct, maintain and sell. Instead of Jack Nicholaus, there are Seaside-style  waterside cottages, larger home sites and a few big family compounds.

Long Cove is also doing it’s best to maximize shoreline. The firm just broke ground on a six-acre expansion of Cedar Creek Lake, adding more than half a mile of shoreline and space for 26 additional lakefront homesites. Long Cove launched the project ahead of schedule due to the quick sell-out of its first phase of lakefront homesites. The lake expansion is scheduled for completion in summer 2013, and the community expects to complete additional milestones leading up to Memorial Day.

Long Cove is a new, private residential community located just over an hour from Dallas on Cedar Creek Lake. The area is getting a ton of buzz . It was built to give North Texas families a second home experience close-to-home, getaways that promote an unplugged, relaxing and family-oriented experience. What’s the prescription for relaxation? A true lock and leave experience — having your boat ready and gassed up the minute your car reaches Long Cove. Pre-planned catered events, having your kitchen and fridge stocked with the groceries your family prefers upon arrival, housekeeping and maid service, and home maintenance. No one wants to spend their precious vacation hours changing lightbulbs, cleaning baseboards or in line at Wal Mart!

Situated on more than six miles of pristine shoreline in Cedar Creek’s deep waters and spanning more than 1,000 acres, the Long Cove property has been untouched for nearly 80 years. Long Cove offers special homesites for waterside cottages, lakefront homes and family compounds, which can all be built-to-suit, accommodating the unique needs of each resident. Amenities at Long Cove include boat valet and concierge, lakefront swim club, a fishing and canoeing pond, hiking and biking trails, outdoor gathering spaces and fire pits, tennis courts, full fitness center, amphitheater and more.

And oh yes: paddleboarding. David, you are not the only one who can steer a vessel! Candy on paddleboard

 

 

 

 

 

 

jpg580_calistoga-ranch.jpg extIn California, they have even sold out of the most famous outdoor showers in the world!  The  award-winning Calistoga Ranch in the Napa Valley has sold out of its private residence club offering.

It seems Americans love their vacation homes again. Vacation home sales in the United States increased 10.1 percent in 2012. 553,000 units were sold as compared to 502,000 in 2011, according to fresh data released recently by the National Association of Realtors.

“We had a strong stock market recovery, which helps more people in the prime ages for buying vacation homes,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said. “Attractively priced recreational property is also a big draw.”

Attractively priced with creative options. According to the NAR which tracks these things, 11 percent of all home transactions in 2012 were vacation homes.

No one knows this better than Joshua Dempsey, Director of Real Estate at Calistoga Ranch, a unique private residence club in an enchanting wine country setting. Though it took 8 years (thanks to the recession), all 140 interests of this unique private residence club have recently sold out.Calistoga Ranch shower

jpg580_outdoorlivingroom2-1Calistoga Ranch is a most unique and magnificent private resort. The award-winning property is managed by Auberge Resorts and is tucked into a private canyon in the upper Napa Valley on a 157- acre site with abundant streams and a serene lake. Among the many amenities at owners’ disposal are numerous hiking trails that wind through the surrounding hills for miles.

Located just north of St. Helena in the Napa Valley, Calistoga Ranch encompasses 50 guest lodges and 15 owner lodges. The spa is rated among the best in the world by Conde Nast Traveler and other renowned travel publications. The acclaimed restaurant sits beside a bucolic lake providing a perfect perch to soak in the beauty of nature. The property also features an on-site Cabernet vineyard and a mountain wine cave. One of the many features that distinguish Calistoga Ranch is the Vintner Program which provides privileged access to a select group of local winemakers through a series of educational and culinary events designed exclusively for the benefit of owners.
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About the homes: The residences are about 2400 square feet with beautiful kitchens, living rooms, and two bedrooms. The master has an enticing outdoor shower garden. Each room has walls of windows to take in the magnificent natural surroundings. The lodges are connected by a series of decks and are centered around a covered outdoor living area with a comfortable seating and dining area and a large fireplace…..sort of like a campsite, but a very elegant campsite.

Great care was taken to design the residences around existing rock outcroppings and trees. In some instances, ancient oaks and redwoods actually ‘sprout’ through the decks and shower gardens of the lodges. The architect, Scott Lee of S.B. Architects, designed these eco-sensitive residences.

The entire Napa Valley is hot in terms of real estate sales. Josh tells me $4 to $5 million properties are now moving quickly thanks to limited supply and increasing demand, much like what we are seeing in Dallas. But in Napa, of course, price points are much higher. Due to tough restrictions on land use and on subdivision, you cannot purchase and subdivide fewer than forty acres in Napa Valley. If you seek an elevated view property, there is a 160-acre lot minimum on the mountains which cradle the valley floor. Basically, it was decided years ago that Napa would not become a sprawling San Francisco suburb, and zoning was put in place to preserve the agricultural interests (which would be the wine) of Napa.

Hence, the creation of a private residence club which offers lower upfront costs with all the services and amenities of a 5-star resort managed by Auberge.

“Fractional ownership is poised to grow,” says Josh, “with developments that offer all the right ingredients: an unsurpassed location, thoughtful development, attractive amenities, limited supply and fine management.”

It has to be a location and concept so special it is almost unattainable, like most of Napa now. So who are these buyers? Josh says they are diverse, ranging from baby boomers to young families with children. They come from all over the world, enjoying the ease of partial ownership but getting their wine country fix. About half of the owners are from northern California. Others come from Chicago, New York, Texas, and Southern California. There are three Canadian owners and a smattering of Europeans. Many have or have had multiple homes.

” Instead of spending several million dollars on a single destination home, one owner has chosen to purchase fractional homes in Tuscany, the Colorado mountains, and here at Calistoga Ranch, allowing him to maximize his vacation experience without having to tend to the typical chores often related to second home ownership,” says Josh. “That’s called zero maintenance vacation living.”

Calistoga Ranch participates in a reciprocity program with Auberge Resorts that includes four properties: Esperanza in Cabo, Element 52 in Telluride, Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina, and Pronghorn in Bend, Oregon. As far as availability of your shared home when you want it, here again Calistoga has a uniqueness that makes it the perfect product for fractional ownership.

“Our clientele is more diverse,” says Josh. “We are not a beach or ski town with everyone crowding into a spring break schedule.”

Owners have more diverse preferences, which means some may desire spring in the wine country, others a fall harvest, while the Texans may just want to escape the summer heat.

Disappointed you missed the offering? Josh has a resale available now for $399,000. After all, August in Dallas is just around the corner…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s why, I guess the folks promoting this nice little ranch in Van Alystyne, Texas put this guitar crooner on the website for the ranch.  Like, front and center. Five bedrooms, four and a half baths, this place is billed as 30 acres of a horse rancher’s paradise with an executive home, pool, hot tub, riding arena, stables, bunk house, and will only set you back $899,995.

Wonder if that includes live entertainment from this dude nightly?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

T. Boone Pickens may be a legendary Texas oil and gas executive, and a huge force behind wind energy, but there are no windmills on his Preston Hollow estate in Dallas, Texas.  There are gardens, sculpted and manicured French gardens that will make you think you are in Versailles so much that “mais oui” will roll right off your tongue! He is now selling his Dallas estate in the heart of Preston Hollow for $7 million. And it is not listed in MLS. The home was built in 1996, but then when T. Boone and his wife, Madeleine bought it in July, 2005 for about five million, it was redone to the max. And I do mean the max. From a four bedroom home with a master on the first floor, it was taken to a three bedroom home with an expanded second floor master. In fact, the new master bathroom is so large it features a writing desk — what a splendid idea! The new master closet is larger than most starter homes.

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The 8215 square foot house home has terrific bones, designed by Dallas starchitect Wilson Fuqua and built by Jim Shaw.  In fact, I remember when this home was under construction as we lived nearby — it took almost two years. The gated Mediterranean estate features magnificent French gardens and dramatic outdoor entertaining areas, all designed by Paul Fields of Lambert’s, with crepe myrtle, rose gardens, fountains, statues, the experience almost musical, crescendo’ed by a huge sparkling pool and full 500 square foot cabana that looks inviting even on the dreariest of Dallas days. The grounds are just shy of one acre, smack in the heart of Alva Court. Somewhere on the property are also quarters for the housekeeping staff. Everywhere you turn, there is impeccable attention to detail and quality and the soft French interiors are so my cup of tea. To start, the custom designed iron and glass entry doors lead you to handsome antique French Quarter limestone flooring in the gallery and living room, forged iron grand stair railing with gold leaf detail, Waterworks and Sherle Wagner fixtures EVERYWHERE. The country type kitchen has vertical grain wood plank floors, and this home may well have been one of Ann Sacks’ best customers with the antique terra cotta tile backsplash throughout the kitchen. Get a load, too, of that La Corneu Chateau 150 60 inch custom range. There is architectural lighting to highlight great art everywhere. Three bedrooms, four full and several half baths, the original master is still down, making this a perfect home for empty-nesters.

Well, empty-nesters with a platinum retirement fund.

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