Deep in the Heart of Texas
Perhaps it is because I am secretly, deep in the heart of Maureen, a naturally mean and nasty, spiteful and envious, individual. Or maybe it’s that I just flat out enjoy making fun of wretched excess. And as The Gilded Age: Part II – The Saga Continues after that Lovely and Lucky Middle-Classian Interlude of the Latter Half of the Twentieth Century is making a run in the theater of the mind that will surpass that of King of Hearts at the Central Square Cinema*, I suspect that there’s going to be more and more wretched excess to make fun of.
Alan and Shirley Goldfield have been trying to unload their eponymous (if you translate Goldfield into French) Champ D’Or estate for a good long time – despite swell features like its proximity to DFW – a 30 minute drive – and a neighborhood Walmart that’s a mere 5 minute hop, skip and a jump away.
But the Goldfields are retired, empty nesters, and six bedrooms, six full baths, and eight half-baths is a lot to keep up. Especially if it’s encased of 48,000 square feet of gold, marble, ormolu, and other yi-hah hoo-hah.
A decade ago, when all systems were go, the “house” was on the market for $69.9 million without takers. A year ago the asking price was $35M. In a few weeks, it’s on the auction block with a reserve price of $10.3. (As the ads for Christmas Tree Shops used to have it: don’t you just love a bargain?)
Even at $10.3M, this one’s not for the faint of heart (or pocketbook). However, given the cost of building the manse of their dreams (an estimated $46M) , the Goldfields are, financially speaking, underwater and up Hickory Creek – where Champ D’Or is located – but probably not completely without a paddle. I don’t think they’ll be foreclosed and find themselves driving a U-Haul containing their earthly goods to a storage facility.
Here’s the details on the house:
The owners spent one year designing and five years building this French château, completed in 2000. The center dome was inspired by the one at Vaux Le Vicomte, the 17th-century château outside Paris built by Louis XIV's superintendent of finances. The wife's two-story closet features a curved staircase modeled on the one at the Chanel boutique on the Rue Cambon in Paris. Trips to New York's Tavern on the Green restaurant led to the design of the tea room. The house also has two elevators, a two-lane bowling alley, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a pool house, a hair salon, a racquetball court and a tennis court. The third-floor ballroom, which is lined with mirrors in a nod to the hall of mirrors at the Palace of Versailles, has its own catering kitchen and can easily accommodate 150 guests. The owners say you can host 450 people on the veranda. (Source: WSJ Online.)
Your very own bowling alley? Talk about bowling alone!
Real estate taxes’ll set you back $189K this year – but that’s tax deductible. For now, anyway.
But it’s not those Texas-sized taxes that have nudged the Goldfields into sell mode:
"I want a quiet lifestyle," says Mrs. Goldfield. She notes that the house was built for entertaining and while they had some memorable parties, she now prefers spending time at their condominium in Colorado... I won't miss the responsibility of taking care of it. The more you have in life, the more you have to take care of."
The Goldfields have tried to give it away to a non-profit, but the costs of maintaining it put it beyond the reach of most/all. (I’m flashing on Champ D’Or as a homeless shelter.)
What the Goldfields may lack in restrained, old money taste – remember, I live in Boston, where restrained, old money taste was, if not invented, then perfected – they make up in heart:
The ceiling of the dome holds incredible significance. With the construction of the estate around the September 11, 2001 attacks, Shirley wanted to paint a sky-blue color and doves spreading roses for peace in America. (Source: JohnB0127, a couple of years ago.)
I actually feel a bit sorry for the Goldfields. It seems that, right after they finished construction, they began having builders’ remorse. In 2003, The Dallas News had an article on it:
"It was a dream, and it probably should have stayed a dream," she said. "I was being a bad steward of God's funds. I probably wouldn't do it again…That $45 million is kind of an unrealistic price tag," Mrs. Goldfield said. "The market for this house is so minute that if it sells, I'll know it's a God thing."
Whether Shirley Goldfield is right about the “God thing” or not, as it turns out, she was spot-on about the price point.
Nearly 10 years on the market!
Is this going to end up being a teardown? Sub-divided into condos?
Forget Champ D’or. This one sounds more like Champ D’oh.
*This cult film, as anyone who was young and in the Boston area during the late sixties/early seventies will remember, that played non-stop for years and years and years. My guess is that at least 50% of the area’s college students saw this flick. Which, by the way, hasn’t aged all that well. My husband and I tried to watch it a few years ago. Yawn, yawn, yawn. I’d rather take a virtual tour of Champ D’or.