A glimmering pearl tucked in the unspoiled expanses southeast of Parker is suddenly getting a lot of attention.
At the beginning of July, most Douglas County residents had never heard of Serenity Ridge, a sprawling estate on 70 pristine acres near Flintwood and Democrat roads. That quickly changed when Carl and Christine Battista, a husband and wife real estate team for Keller Williams DTC Luxury International, began to spread the word that the property would become the largest private U.S. residence to go up at a no-reserve auction Sept. 27.
“It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people to buy at their price,” Christine Battista said. “The owner doesn't have any set price and there are no hidden costs.”
The three-story home and surrounding land was put on the market in 2007 with a price tag of $22 million, but didn't attract serious attention from buyers because of the housing crisis. It was put up for sale again July 1 for $18.37 million.
With the disclaimer that the “property is available for and subject to sale prior to auction,” the tantalizing announcement of the no-reserve auction promptly attracted the notice of news agencies and bloggers.
The Battistas, along with Joshua & Co., an affiliate of Christie's International Real Estate, and Supreme Auctions, have honored countless requests for more information in the hopes of finding the ideal buyer. Christine Battista led on an exclusive tour of Serenity Ridge July 14.
`The whole nine yards'
The estate contains the wonderments for which one might hope: hidden rooms, silk carpeting, a bowling alley, a pair of full-time caretakers, and private tunnels to posh, self-contained guest quarters.
Those invited to enter the grounds must pass through a massive security gate, after which they are greeted with the sight of fishing ponds, a meditation house and, of course, the 47,114 square-foot home with peninsular wings. The sheer breadth of the abode is difficult to comprehend, and difficult to view in its entirety.
Interior elements are lavish, but not overdone; many of the rooms are tastefully ornate and pleasantly comfortable.
“It was built to feel really small and intimate in all of the rooms and not feel large and cavernous,” Christine Battista said.
Unlike most mansions of its size, Serenity Ridge was not specifically built to reflect one-person's tastes. The décor and furnishings, which come with the house, abide by neutral palettes, she said.
Perhaps the most alluring component is the panoramic views of the Front Range from just about every window on the west side. The house sits neatly atop a hill near Douglas County's boundary with Elbert County.
For a place that is among the largest in Colorado and has “the whole nine yards,” it surprisingly wasn't even on the radar of Denver area real estate agents who deal in luxury properties, Christine Battista said.
The owner is retiring and downsizing property holdings — factors that prompted the auction — but his family has a deep connection to Serenity Ridge, and parting with it is an emotional experience.
Originally built in 2001 by then-Hewlett Packard executive John Costanza as a combined residence and corporate retreat, Serenity Ridge boasts two boardrooms. Costanza, however, never lived in the home and sold it nearly one year later.
Battista was not permitted to disclose the seller's identity, but property records show the estate belongs to Cal Turner III, who headed Dollar General Corp., a company founded by his father and grandfather, before stepping down in 2003.
For more information on Serenity Ridge and the Sept. 27 auction, go to www.thebattistateam.com.
Features of Serenity Ridge: 24 bathrooms, 11 bedrooms, five full kitchens, bowling alley, indoor swimming pool, fishing ponds (two), movie theatre, 9,300 square-feet of outdoor covered living space, conference rooms (two), meditation house, garage space for 30 vehicles, elevators (two), silk carpets, secret doors, performance stage, safe room, ice cream parlor, temperature-controlled wine cellar, permission for equestrian uses and waterfalls.