The Champ d’Or is the biggest house in Texas, which, shockingly, doesn’t even put it in the top fifteen biggest houses in America. While the 48,000-square-foot mansion serves as a monument to the fact that, contrary to popular myth, not everything is bigger in Texas, it’s also undeniably luxurious—it’s got its own bowling alley, its own racquetball court, a two-story closet, and a veranda capable of seating 450 people for dinner, among its many, many, many other amenities. And, as of yesterday, it’s for sale—yet again.
The house, which sits on 25 acres not too far off from the I-35 service road just outside of Denton, was built in 2002 by Alan and Shirley Goldfield, is known as the Champ d’Or because that’s French for “field of gold,” and go ahead and re-read their last name real quick. Clever and classy, right? The former CEO and chairman of 90’s-era cell phone company CellStar spent four years constructing the property, and (according to an apocryphal story that’s too good not to repeat here, after an argument about who would have to walk from the master bedroom all the way to the kitchen for ice cream) quickly put the house up for sale once it was completed. The house cost $46 million to build, and the Goldfields initially listed it at $72 million. Alan Goldfield explained the decision to sell it so soon after building it to Forbes in 2012:
Why build a fantasy land just to turn around and list it for sale? “I’m like a painter who creates a beautiful work of art and then sells it,” explains Goldfield, whom oversaw every step of the design and decorating processes. “People ask me, ‘Are you sorry to see it go?’ And I say, no, because I feel privileged to have been able to create it.”
That’s a cute answer, but the history of the property’s listing is more complicated than a cute answer allows. While the $72 million asking price bought someone an awfully big house, it didn’t really purchase much in the way of seclusion or peace—the nearest Walmart to the property is less than a mile away, and potential buyers who were concerned about furnishing the place up-front would have the option of driving to a nearby Aaron’s Rent-To-Own, as well as a variety of fast-food options. “Expensive” doesn’t necessarily mean “tasteful,” and that may explain why the $72 million asking price didn’t last long for the Champ d’Or.
In fact, the Champ d’Or stayed on the market for years, with its listing price swinging wildly, depending on the overall state of the real estate market and global economy. In 2003, when real estate prices only ever soared, it was listed at $72 million; by 2012, it was knocked down to a mere $10 million. That was the point at which the house finally did sell at auction, though its final sale price may have been even lower than the reserve price.
The buyer in 2012 was the Tabani Family, whom Dallas real estate blogger Candy Evans estimated paid $8.7 million for the property. And thus ended the ongoing saga of the largest, hardest-to-sell house in Texas—for almost two years, anyway.
Now, of course, the house has been re-listed. It’s currently priced at $35 million, and with the North Texas real estate market stronger than it’s been in years, it’s possible that the Tabanis might sell it in less than the 10 years it took the Goldfields to move the house—perhaps even turning a profit in the process. On the other hand, history tells us that the Champ d’Or is not actually the most desirable property in Texas, so if you’re holding an office pool, it might be wise to set your sale date somewhere after 2018 or so, just to be safe.
(image via Sothebys)