08/15/17 8:51am

What happens when you don’t bulldoze a vibrant urban core for an urban office park?  Austin. What happens 60 years later when you finally realize the huge mistake you made? Houston and Dallas. What happens when you want the very best pied-à-terre in Austin? You head to the Austonian at 200 Congress Avenue. And putting the “high” in highfalutin is unit 50T.

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08/09/17 3:09pm

Queue the James Bond music …

Perched 1,600 feet above the St. Lawrence River, any James Bond villain would be at home plotting the fate of the world in this modern luxe pad.  Just looking at the exterior, it’s no wonder it was the winner of a 2014 Nobilis prize awarded by Provincial Association of Quebec Homebuilders. It’s doubly no wonder it was seen in the pages of Wallpaper and Architectural Digest.

This aerie is located about 90 minutes northeast of Quebec City. By the numbers, it has three bedrooms and two full bathrooms within a generous 4,059 square feet of genius architecture.  It’s listed with local Christie’s rep Profusion Realty LLC agents Guillaume L’Ecuyer and Stéphane Caron for C$1.988 million.  Thanks to a strong US dollar, that’s more like US $1.57 million to you and me.

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08/08/17 5:00pm

 

In 1962, Jed Clampett and family moved from the Ozarks to Beverly Hills after oil was discovered on their land.  So started one of the most endearing television sagas of all time lasting nine seasons and 274 episodes.  In truth, the Kirkeby Mansion was built in 1933 by Arnold Kirkeby who built a chain of 16 upscale hotels. His first property was Chicago’s Drake Hotel and also included the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills.  The architect was Sumner Spaulding and has an 18th century French Neoclassical design ethos. Other movies using the mansion include Mame and Cinderfella.

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08/02/17 9:03am

In 2015 I wrote a pair of articles about Howard Hughes Corporation’s purchase and development plans for 60 acres in the Kaka’ako section of Honolulu (here, here). The development is sandwiched between downtown Honolulu and world-famous Waikiki and is slated for 16 high-rise condo towers with 4,300 units plus over 1 million square feet of restaurants and retail being rolled out in the next 10-20 years.

Work is continuing to chug along, but there is a global softness in the ultra-luxury real estate market. What to do, what to do?  In order to get the last few units sold in their first three projects, Howard Hughes is offering some sweet incentives.  Of course if you’re purchasing one of these seven-figure beauties, these incentives are baubles you could easily secure yourself.  But still … a sale is a sale.

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07/26/17 10:39am

Often when I write about second homes, I’m writing about areas to consider. This time I’m dictating exactly which second home you must purchase.  I’m doing this because it’s one thing to impress your friends by owning a second home, but it’s a complete mic drop to add that it’s a Frank Lloyd Wright prairie style home.

Known as the F.B. Henderson home, this property is situated on roughly one-half acre in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst at 301 S. Kenilworth Avenue. It was built in 1901 during Wright’s brief partnership with Henry Webster Tomlinson and is almost a mirror to Wright’s Hickox house in Kankakee, Illinois.  I like this one better because it’s much closer to Chicago. The home has 5,500 square feet with six bedrooms and four bathrooms. It’s been on and off the market for a couple of years (with a rental period in the middle) and is currently listed with Marilyn Fisher with L.W. Realty for $1.1 million, though she’s quoted in the Chicago Tribune as saying, “The price may come down.”

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07/05/17 9:36am

As a child, my family piled into the car for a summer beachfront vacation on the shores of Cape Cod. The drive from Chicago was as you might expect when two children and a dog are in the back seat.  The dog often stood between us looking out of the windshield while my brother and I took turns pushing the dog’s butt into the other’s face.  Ahh … youth before the iPad.

Our destination was a grouping of small weathered beachfront cottages in East Sandwich, Mass. Imagine my surprise when I saw that a few of those cottages were for sale.  At two bedrooms and one bath, these 400-square-foot retreats only lasted until teenagerdom made them uninhabitable for four adult-size people. At that point we moved on up to the deee-luxe 700-square-foot model.

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07/03/17 3:01pm

Do you look at Walnut Place’s paltry 25 acres and $48.9 million price tag in the same way I look at a tent and sleeping bag?  Do you find having a home in the same county as your garage off-putting? Was the Waggoner Ranch a little too close to Oklahoma?  Well, listen up.

The $250 million Sandow Lakes Ranch is located about an hour from Austin and pretty much dead-east of Georgetown. I say “about” and “pretty much” because at 33,777 acres, it’s hard to be precise.  No, that’s not a typo.  The ranch is 52.78 square miles. Slap a mortgage on that and your monthly nut might hit $1.8 million.

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06/19/17 12:43pm
Bermuda: Endless Views of Pastel Houses and Endless Water

Bermuda: Endless views of pastel houses and endless water.

In case you missed it the first time back in January 2016, on June 16, 2017, this post was awarded “silver” in the “Best International Real Estate Story” category  by the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE).

Bermuda is a cluster of 130 picturesque islands you think is located in the Caribbean, but it’s actually in the North Atlantic Ocean about 650 miles east of North Carolina and 950 miles north of the Bahamas. Bermuda is known as much for its beauty as it is as a tax haven for multinational businesses.

Driving around Hamilton, you’d think the world consisted of bars, restaurants, insurance companies, and banks surrounded by ocean. That’s because while 400,000 tourists visit the island annually, 60 percent of the island’s GDP is derived from financial services.

As much as I detest corporate tax avoidance, I understand that without it, this island would be a lot poorer than it is. Certainly Bermuda has fallen into a sleepiness since its heyday in the 1960s as a jet set destination. While meticulously maintained, large hotels tend to be of that era. Tourists tend to be visiting executives eager for sun, sand, and high finance as well as east coasters wanting something more tranquil than some of the other more touristy islands of the Caribbean.

Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory so driving is on the left, but oddly the Bermudian Dollar is pegged to the US dollar (1-to-1) which makes currency conversion as easy as it gets. The local population of about 67,000 consists of those who trace their lineage to the UK and Africa (a legacy of the slave trade). Like many conquests, the original populace were wiped out by smallpox and STDs brought over by the original Europeans (how cheerful).

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