Suburban Slums? The Atlantic warns that the subprime crisis is just the tip of the iceberg. Fundamental changes in American life may turn today’s McMansions into tomorrow’s tenements. This is one scary story (don’t read it at night with the lights off). According to the article, foreclosures are ripping through once-safe and tidy neighborhoods, leaving havoc in their wake.
At a newer development near Charlotte, North Carolina, 81 of the community’s 132 houses are in foreclosure: “Vandals have kicked in doors and stripped the copper wire from vacant houses; drug users and homeless people have furtively moved in. In December, after a stray bullet blasted through her son’s bedroom and into her own, Laurie Talbot, who’d moved to Windy Ridge from New York in 2005, told The Charlotte Observer, ‘I thought I’d bought a home in Pleasantville. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that stuff like this would happen.’” Yikes. Read the entire story here. (Thanks to Maya at Springtree Road for forwarding this article to me.)
Oversized House Syndrome? If there is such a thing, Dru Schmitt and his family have it. The Palm Beach Post reports that the St. Louis multi-millionaire bought three waterfront properties near Boca Raton, Florida, and razed them to build one crazy-big, 23,000 square-foot estate (see photo above).
The Wall Street Journal describes the mega-mansion as one done up in French-Country-Manor style, “with four kinds of rare onyx in the bedroom, music piped underwater in the resort-style pool, a computerized television system holding 850 movies and hand-shaved walnut floors. The doorknobs and hinges alone cost $160,000.” And they all lived happily ever after in their ostentatious display of wealth, right? Wrong. The Schmitt family only lasted a matter of days in the house before moving out again, complaining that it was “too big.” It’s on the market now and can be yours for $24.9 million. To see interior photos, go here.
Multimillion-Dollar Ghost Towns? The Wall Street Journal is also reporting this week that “Rich Neighborhoods Can Be Lonely.” Why? Because most of the mega-rich have multiple residences, so many of their homes are sitting empty for a good portion of the year. They also travel a lot. So some of the nicest neighborhoods in America can feel like ghost towns. (Thanks to Gary at Seasoned Believers for forwarding this to me.)