Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 October 2020

Pennsylvania estate a bargain at $30m

The Life: An estate in Pennsylvania is on the market at a $50 million discount.
The owner paid $80 million to build and furnish the house. Courtesy Christie's
The owner paid $80 million to build and furnish the house. Courtesy Christie's

Rarely is a US$30 million (Dh110m) estate considered a bargain.

But a 28.3-hectare property in the US is arguably a steal at that price, which is a $50m discount from what the current owner is reported to have paid to build and furnish the house.

The owner of the estate, called Arbor Hill, is Dennis Alter, whom the property website Curbed refers to as a "ruined credit card tycoon". Mr Alter was the head of Advanta, a loan company that crashed and burnt in 2009.

Before the collapse, Mr Alter was known for living large, including flying in Elton John to perform at his birthday party.

His 40,000-square foot home in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, became something of a symbol of the financier's excess. He paid $80m to build and furnish the house, according to local estimates.

That figure may be an urban myth, but there is little doubt Mr Alter spared little expense on the project.

The design by the internationally known architect Rafael Viñoly has been described as mixing "modern with medieval".

Marble was flown in from Italy. One of the bathtubs was even carved from a solid block of marble. Floors are made from limestone and oak, while Venetian plaster and stone from around the world provide accents.

The house features a "grand" two-storey entrance hall, and one of the two living rooms has a marble fireplace. There are also two dining rooms, one of them capable of handling a cosy party of 40.

A 19,913-sq ft "play room" includes an indoor clay tennis court, but an outdoor tennis court and swimming pool are also available for sunnier days.

"The residence is aglow with qualities reminiscent of a museum and may display vast art collections, yet it is also perfect for a more casual and intimate lifestyle," the listing proclaims.

But creating Mr Alter's dream house did not come without some pain. At one point he sued his designers, alleging they overcharged him $6m for antiques.

The Quote: Luxury is the wolf at the door and its fangs are the vanities and conceits germinated by success. - Tennessee Williams, playwright

 

kbrass@thenational.ae

Updated: September 16, 2011 04:00 AM

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