2011.09.08 Houses by million$

Written 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.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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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