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Sandwiths Cut Waterfront Mega-Mansion Price by $10 Million

The couple purchased the home in 2004 and poured an estimated $30 million into improvements, only to see the real estate market collapse nationwide in the run up to the Great Recession.

The Puget Sound Business Journal is reporting the owners of one of Mercer Island's most-expensive homes has cut nearly $10 million from their $28.8 million asking price in the hopes of attracting more interest in a depressed housing market. 

Principal Broker Kris Robbs will reportedly handle the sale of the on the 7-bedroom, 11 1/4-bathroom, 13,650 square-foot waterfront mansion, located at 4137 Boulevard Place. The new $18.95 million asking price is reportedly over $1 million below the valuation from a new appraisal of the property, acording to the PSBJ.

Earlier in August, Gadsden, AL-based managed auction firm but failed to attract any buyers, halting the auction once they reached a reserve price of $15.5 million.

Owners David and Becky Sandwith purchased the home in 2004 and poured an estimated $30 million into improvements, only to see the real estate market collapse nationwide in the run up to the Great Recession.

Mercer Island is and is home to the most expensive homes sold in the state since 2009, according to MLS sales records. Both of those homes also sold at auction: In 2009, the Proctor Landing Estate sold for $15.675 million after it was once listed at $39.5 million two years prior. In 2010, the Lytle Mansion sold for $12 million. It was listed for over $40 million in 2005.

(Ed. Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly states the Proctor Landing Estate was offered for $45 million in 2006. In fact, the estate was offered for $39.5 million in 2007. Mercer Island Patch regrets the error.)

karen November 02, 2011 at 05:14 AM
Who ever wrote this article didn't do their homework very well... not only did they misrepresent the article written in the Puget Sound Biz Journal on the Sandwith home, they didn't even bother to do research to get updated photos of the home. Shoddy reporting at best.
Kendall Watson November 02, 2011 at 05:48 AM
Hi Karen, I take issue with your inaccurate complaint about this story. Inaccurate because the photos were taken by my hand on two separate occasions a matter of months ago, in August 2011, when I toured the home and witnessed the auction, and this May (waterfront view). You also offer no information to suggest how exactly the story "misrepresent"s the article in the PSBJ. I would invite substantive criticism of the story, and certainly you seem to have a difference of opinion —Yet you offer none. I look forward to learning more about your complaint.
Kris Robbs November 02, 2011 at 03:27 PM
As the Broker reprenting this Property, there are many issues I would have with the Article. This Magnificent Property was designed and built for a family with all the ammenities you would expect to find in a home in this price range. It is not a "Mega-Mansion". Altough it is large, it is a very comfortable, warm home. No detail was overlooked as it was designed for easy living. Also the auction was not a reserve auction and the price stated was never agreed to by the seller and does not include the buyer premium of over 10% on the top. On the reported original listing price for the Proctor Landing property, that is also incorrect. I was also the Broker on this property and it was never listed above $45M. The decline in real estate values due to our economic problems in our country has be difficult for many and it does not help to have articles written that exaggerate the facts. I am always happy to answer questions on the real estate market and the Properties I represent. Kris Robbs, Managing Broker, Principal. Just call 206-949-8611 for correct information.
Kendall Watson November 03, 2011 at 06:09 PM
Kris, I strongly disagree with your implication that the journalism here seeks to "exaggerate the facts". I would, however, like to first acknowledge a mistake by reporting the Proctor Landing Estate was offered for $45 million. According to NWMLS records, it was offered for $39.5 million in 2007. Thank you for the correction, which I made to this and a related story. As I explained offline, however, here's why your multiple claims that there are "many issues with this story" is without merit. RE: "Mega Mansion" — when a "home" is 1) roughly a half-dozen times larger than the local median (visible on most days from the Columbia Center observation deck in Seattle, several miles away); and 2) the lot is nearly 2 acres in size; and 3) is on the waterfront complete with a dock and covered moorage, then the term "Mega Mansion" starts to gain some currency, in my humble opinion. We also spoke about how the auction was conducted by JP King auctioneer Lanny Thomas. In my opinion (and echoed in the Daily Journal of Commerce and the Mercer Island Reporter) based on what I witnessed there is simply no way to describe the Aug. 30 auction other than a "reserve auction". Nowhere do I make claims that A) any of the prices stated at auction were agreed to and B) a buyer and seller reached an sale agreement (linked above) — that's why I didn't report on the required 10% downpayment (not a premium, as you state) & ergo was irrelevant to my story, and in my judgment remains so.
Kris Robbs November 03, 2011 at 07:13 PM
Let's just say it would have been wonderful if you could understand all the facts. JP King was not running a "reserve auction" unlike others. There was a 10% Buyer Premium which had nothing to do with the cash upfront required to participate in the bidding. I think in these times it would be helpful if you and others would try to promote the positive instead of the negative. But you do your job and I will do mine which is to sell this home and present it in a way that most accurately describes reality. http://www.jpking.com/index.asp?p=3793&aid=3793 the facts
Kendall Watson November 03, 2011 at 07:47 PM
I stand by my description of the auction as reported in my earlier story, "Mercer Island Waterfront Mansion Fails to Draw Bids at Auction", http://mercerisland.patch.com/articles/waterfront-mansion-fails-to-draw-bids-at-auction#photo-7570144 Again, what I call the "downpayment" & you call a "premium" & wasn't relevant to my story as there were no buyers. I appreciate your positive perspective.
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA November 04, 2011 at 12:38 AM
This kind of Real Estate transaction is especially difficult to report to the satisfaction of all involved. For one thing, there are too many differing viewpoints involved. Jerry
Kristen November 04, 2011 at 12:58 AM
Kendall, What bothers me about this article is that it may be perceived as a judgmental and insensitive account of a serious matter impacting not just a "couple," but a family who are a part of this small community. The slang term "mega mansion" is not in Webster's dictionary or thesaurus, thus it invites further negative connotations than simply stating that a property is large. Again, it just sounds judgmental and as if you are poking folly at a fellow family in our community. I started reading the Patch in the hope that it would represent a friendly, grass roots source of information in our community. You can defend your facts all you want, but I don't believe that I am the only reader who perceived something mean-spirited or mocking in the choice of words and overall tone of your column. My message might be simplistic or perhaps naive, but I do hope that the Patch maintains a higher level of neutrality and assumes the best for the people in our town.
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA November 04, 2011 at 02:24 AM
A very interesting discussion to this long-time Mercer Island residential architect. It would be helpful if Kristen and Karen were further identified, it was explained what their interests are. J-
Kris Robbs November 04, 2011 at 02:44 AM
I do not know who they are but I agree. Thank you Jerry for your input. You have been, and are, a valued voice in the real estate and design world here on Mercer Island.
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA November 04, 2011 at 05:34 AM
Thanks Kris for the very kind words. We once owned a lovely lot on Boulevard Place but sold it and built further South. J-
Joanne November 04, 2011 at 06:43 AM
I have several comments on the comments :-). 1) Until this house sells, it will be in the news and how it is presented is out of the seller's control. This is the double-edged sword of press coverage. 2) Kris' job is to sell the property so it's in her interest to make sure nothing negative is said. 3) There are people who value mega-mansions or Mc Mansions so this is a subjective term for a rather large home. If you don't want that moniker, keep the square footage down. 4) It's a reality that large, expensive homes on Mercer Island have not sold for full, listed price and that's news. 5) The Sandwith's made their house news when they participated in a Wall Street Journal article last October - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303341904575576782381948758.html. In my opinion, that coverage was far more negative than was written in this article.
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA November 04, 2011 at 02:23 PM
My comment on the "several comments on the comments :-)" just above- I can only agree. Seeing the hyperlinked WSJ coverage added to my knowledge of the facts. And who is Joanne?
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA November 04, 2011 at 08:22 PM
As to House Prices Falling- here's a link to a today's Seattle Times Lead Article on the subject. As always, as to whether it's good news, it depends on whether you're buying or selling. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2016682452_homesales04.html

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