Mercer Island mansion doesn't sell at auction

Guests enjoy the deck and the view from the Sandwith mansion before the auction begins. - Linda Ball/Staff Photo
Guests enjoy the deck and the view from the Sandwith mansion before the auction begins.
— image credit: Linda Ball/Staff Photo

The sun came out on Tuesday just as auctioneer Lanny Thomas with J.P. King Auction Company began the official auction at the residence of David and Becky Sandwith, located at 4137 Boulevard Place.

Potential bidders, neighbors, the curious and various members of the press had the opportunity to tour the 13,600-square-foot home, while noshing on catered hors d'ouevres before the action started.

"What we're selling here is a lifestyle," Thomas said before opening the bidding.

But as it turns out, no one bought the lifestyle. Not yet, anyway.

Each of the four registered bidders was required to deposit $100,000 with the auctioneer when they registered, which they will get back. Although there was no "minimum bid," there was a reserve on the property — a number that the bidding would not be allowed to go under.

Thomas warmed up the crowd by auctioning a lovely glass vase with the bidding open to anyone in attendance. The vase sold for $225 with the proceeds going to Children's Hospital.

Then he started off with an optimistic $34 million on the home — with no response, dropping to $30 million, $25 million, $17.5 million and finally $15.5 million, when he informed the crowd that must be the opening bid.

J.P. King has the right to sell the property for several months. Tommy Board, vice president of sales for J.P. King, said the next step will be to meet individually with the four registered bidders and see if a sale can be negotiated. However, at least one gentleman who was there and not a registered bidder wants to talk to them, too.

"I'm saddened; it's such a beautiful home," said broker Lou Glatz with John L. Scott Real Estate, who works as a team with her daughter, Lori Holden.

Glatz said this home offered much more than the Lytle home, another Mercer Island waterfront mansion, which sold for $12 million last year.

Holden said the house originally came on the market for $32 million. It was on the market for 689 days, during which time it was unfinished and under construction.

The house was completely finished about six months ago and the last listed price was $28,800,000, Holden said. She said the Sandwiths never lived in the home.

The home has 160 feet of waterfront, seven bedrooms including a sumptuous master bedroom, 11.25 baths, a media room with cushy leather chairs to enjoy a movie, a gourmet kitchen with adjacent family room, outdoor hot tub and swimming pool, an outdoor barbecue/kitchen area, and an outdoor hidden television lift to accommodate a 152-inch plasma screen TV just to name a few features.

For such a large home, it's very livable, with clean, classic lines. Board said he has seen many fine homes in his career, but he was struck by the engineering and the small nuances in the home.

The auction was carried out professionally by J.P. King, a fourth generation family firm, licensed in all 50 states and six foreign countries. Had there been a winning bidder, there would have been a 10 percent buyer's premium and a contract would have been inked immediately.

J.P. King has successfully sold two properties in Washington state; Vendovi Island in the San Juan Islands, and the Spokane Raceway in Spokane. Board wasn't too disappointed by the day's outcome.

"We always keep our glass half full," he said. "It's a very special home."


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