2011.09.08 Houses by million$

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

We all get our share of uninvited e-mail, but I’m sure that some businesses attract more than others. Newspapers probably end up with a more interesting variety than most businesses.

For example, you probably didn’t know there was to be a single lane closure on southbound US-23 from just south of the I-96 interchange to Lee Road last weekend.

Were you aware that Endtime Ministries classifies the rise of facial recognition technology under its Mark of the Beast category?

Did you know that as of Aug. 29, the average price of gasoline in Michigan rose 7.3¢ a gallon to $3.76? Hmmm, must be a holiday approaching.

I’ll bet you didn’t know that Mike Busley, founder of Grand Traverse Pie Co., was appointed to the Michigan Travel Commission, and that Geary Bates of Wintersville, Ohio, was named to Ohio’s Amusement Ride Safety Advisory Board.

This is a very small sampling. I would be one of the most informed members of my community if I did more than hit “delete” several dozen times a day—day after day after day.

There’s one junk e-mail that gets my attention now and then. The company does a good job with its heading to avoid the delete.

 “Big Hooters Auction.” “Dead Vampires, John McCain and Donald Trump.” “An Arkansas Castle and Burt’s Foreclosure.”

A few months ago I started receiving the weekly update from Top Ten Real Estate Deals, and I have to admit, it’s a pretty good waste of time.

Take the one that mentions McCain and Trump, for example. On the website you see “John McCain Home Foreclosure.” The details show that it’s the home where he and Cindy raised their family.

A new owner bought the place for $3.2 million and spent another $1.3 million for renovations (11 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms now). It went up for auction last month for only $3 million.

The story ends with this: “Sarah P., couldn’t you have had a little patience? Kicking yourself now?”

That’s in reference to Sarah Palin who was featured in June after she spent $1.7 million on an Arizona mansion. Remember, she’s just “one of us.”

That same issue mentioned Glenn Beck taking a 27 percent loss on his New York mansion originally priced at $6.5 million. All of this pales in light of the sale of Ellen Degeneres’ house valued at $49 million.

For that kind of money, you could buy a 31,000 square foot beach house in Hillsboro, Fla., with 232 feet of beach frontage. The link to the realty company’s website shows quite an array of multi-million dollar properties—dozens and dozens at reduced prices.

Most of the reductions are on the low side—$200,000 off here, $100,000 there—but there’s a “waterfront gem” in Fort Lauderdale that’s going for a million off, now down to $5.9.

An elegant 9,900 square foot villa in Boca Raton is selling for $7.45 million, but what would you expect for dockage that can handle three yachts? The owners are taking a loss on this one: the price has been slashed by $2.45 million.

It makes you curious about the sellers. What do they do in life to earn that kind of money? What’s their life like now when they’re taking that kind of loss?

Back to the Top Ten. What about the Big Hooters Auction? It’s the property and equipment from the Hooters restaurant in Beckley, W. Va., valued at $2.5 million.

There’s more from West Virginia. You can bid on the property where abolitionist John Brown was hung. The 7,000 square foot home is valued at $2.25 million, but you know how housing values stand. The suggested starting bid is listed at $950,000. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brown was allowed to use the original outhouse still standing, but he never got near the water slide in the pool.

Everything mentioned so far falls short of the “world’s most expensive ranch,” a three-bedroom home near Jackson Hole, Wyo., selling for $175 million. That includes land for 35 home sites.

I keep thinking about the enormous places you see from time to time. What makes some people want to build huge, showy houses while others are satisfied with something so much smaller?

If it doesn’t work out with the big one, Top Ten offers an article titled “Life after bankruptcy.”

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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