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Megahome market update: prices take a fall

Despite conflicting reports, a 1932 Mercer Island waterfront estate adjacent to Proctor Landing in the East Seattle neighborhood is apparently being sold for well under its original asking price. The 15,000-plus-square-foot, 1.3-acre waterfront estate is listed by the real estate firm Ewing and Clark and includes an indoor swimming pool, game room, sport court, and home theater with a carriage house, a guest house and a dock with a boat lift.

A woman at the Ewing and Clark firm reached by telephone last week, said that an offer subject to conditions had been accepted on the home, but later called to say that she had been incorrect and that no offer had been accepted. However, the listing no longer appears on the Ewing and Clark Web site or John L. Scott, but as of late Sunday the listing appeared on the Windermere real estate Web site with the status indicated as “pending inspection.”

The asking price of the brick Tudor-style home is $23.9 million — a 40 percent drop from the original asking price of $39.5 million in February 2007.

The home was listed not long after a similar Island luxury residence was on the market for $40 million. The asking price for that home, which remains on the market, has been trimmed to $34.5 million.

An even larger estate under construction on Boulevard Place has just been listed for sale for $32 million. The home, situated on 1.67 acres off West Mercer Way, had been reported as the largest single residential structure on the Island. The home was to include an indoor pool and gym. Some of the neighbors filed an appeal with the city to limit the size of the home last fall.

The city later upheld a code interpretation by the city’s Development Services director that allows private recreation areas as part of Island homes.

In July of last year, the homeowner submitted revised plans to build an indoor gymnasium rather than an outdoor basketball court. Plans showed the total square footage of the home, if the gym is included, to be about 25,000. Plans also showed an auto court of 2,500 square feet, a 6,500-square-foot pool and several patios, walkways and balconies.

A 6,300-square-foot gym was to be a part of the seven-bedroom, 12-bath home. Plans showed that the indoor basketball court would include a retractable batting cage and simulation golf room.

Last November, the Planning Commission voted 3-0, with one abstaining, against an Island attorney’s appeal to a code interpretation allowing the design issued last August. The ruling maintains a position taken by Development Services director Steve Lancaster that permits residential homes on the Island to construct private recreational areas such as indoor gymnasiums, bowling alleys or swimming pools.

Island attorney and Boulevard Place resident Michael Murphy had appealed the decision. Murphy said that he planned to continue fighting the development by appealing the Planning Commission’s decision in superior court. Murphy said that such facilities should not be a part of Island homes because they resemble a facility to be found at a school, but not a home.

Municipal law allows citizens to contest such administrative code interpretations. The Planning Commission, a seven-member board of Island citizens, either affirms the interpretation or approves its own.

“The amenities are consistent with a school gymnasium or commercial sports complex, not a single-family home,” Murphy said in November.

Along with the two homes described above, the Island has just three other homes listed for more than $10 million. In early 2007, there were five homes listed for sale over the $10 million mark.

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