Wildcat Ridge mansion sells for whopping $36 million | PostIndependent.com
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Wildcat Ridge mansion sells for whopping $36 million

Rick CarollAspen CorrespondentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS VILLAGE, Colorado Leon Hirschs patience finally paid off. Hirsch sold his Wildcat Ridge mansion on Tuesday for $36.375 million to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, punctuating more than three years of trying to sell the estate using different brokers and even an auctioneer.Weve had multiple offers, said listing broker Maureen Stapleton of BJ Adams Real Estate, which handled both sides of the transaction.The sale goes down as the third most expensive residential real estate deal in Pitkin County. The standard was set in February 2004, when Hollywood movie mogul Peter Guber sold his Mandalay Ranch, located outside Snowmass Village in the Owl Creek Valley, for $46 million to Dawn and Roland Arnall.And in December, Prince Bandar bin Sultan sold his 14,395-square-foot guest home to the Soffer family of Florida for $36.5 million $125,000 more than what Abramovich paid.Tuesdays deal also comes at a time when both the local and national real estate markets continue to reel. Last week, valley-based Land Title Guarantee Co. reported that first-quarter real estate volume totaled $358.1 million, down 52.9 percent from the same period in 2007. Meanwhile, Hirsch apparently got what he wanted, after years of trying to unload the property with an unwillingness to do much negotiating. In March 2005, Hirsch listed the 14,300-square-foot home, which sits on more than 200 acres rising some 1,000 feet above Snowmass Village, for $35 million. He then took it off the market for five months, before relisting it for $37.5 million. In September 2006, Hirsch announced he had hired Chicago-based firm Sheldon Good & Co. to sell the house at an auction scheduled at the St. Regis-Aspen hotel, but abruptly canceled the event the day before it was to be held.Hirsch, 80, even was quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying that its selling price was firm.If we dont get the right price, we wont sell, he said nearly two years ago.Abramovichs purchase price might have been $1.125 million shy of the homes listing price, but it apparently was good enough for Hirsch, who built the mansion in 2003. Stapleton said negotiations began earlier this month between the two parties, both of obvious means. In 1991, Hirschs $123 million in compensation made him the highest paid CEO in the United States that year as the head of U.S. Surgical. In October 1998, the medical equipment and surgical stapler firm was acquired for $3.17 billion by Tyco International, which separated into three companies last year in the wake of a $600 million compensation scandal.Stapleton said Hirsch plans to remain in the area, but in a smaller house. The Wildcat Ridge estates new owner, Abramovich, was ranked No. 16 last year on Forbes list of billionaires, with a net worth of $18.7 billion. In February, he bought a Snowmass Village home for $11.8 million. Stapleton said he likely will hold onto both properties, and live here part-time. Abramovich made his fortune in the early 1990s through what Forbes called a series of controversial oil-export deals.Abramovich will be taking over a house that has 11 bedrooms and 12 baths, along with 32 pieces of custom furniture. His latest purchase also means hell inherit a property tax bill that commanded $87,032 in 2007, according to the Pitkin County Assessors Office. The home was designed by architect Bart Voorsanger. rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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