News & Politics

A Bargain at $8 Million

Eunice and Sargent Shriver’s Potomac home was just one of the big houses that sold last year at a discount, but lots of boldface names spent big money.

In a year of slow real-estate news, one sale made headlines—and said a lot about the state of the high-end market.

The Maryland home of Sargent and the late Eunice Shriver sold for $7.8 million—$4 million less than its list price. On seven acres in Potomac’s Bradley Farms neighborhood, the estate has ten bedrooms and 12 baths as well as a tennis court and pool. Yet it sat for nearly a year before attracting a buyer.

With all but the last few weeks of sales accounted for, 2009 saw only 175 homes sell for $2 million or more—less than half the tally during 2006, the year the real-estate boom began to slow down.

Despite the market, big names were making deals. Near DC’s Embassy Row, TV journalist Connie Chung and talk-show host Maury Povich snapped up a seven-bedroom, 11-bath Tudor-style home before it hit the market with a list price of $9 million. While the sale price isn’t public yet, sources report that it went for at least $8 million.

For a look at the year’s other sales involving big money and big names, check out our slideshow. And for more of last year's biggest deals, continue to read below. 

Penthouse Living

Slate founding editor Michael Kinsley and his wife, Patricia Stonesifer, chair of the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents, bought a $2.9-million, three-bedroom condo in the Ritz-Carlton in DC’s West End. It has three levels, three terraces, and a paneled library.

Picking up a river-view condo at the Georgetown Ritz was Carlyle Group exec Gregory Ledford, who bought a $7.3-million, four-bedroom unit from car mogul Jamie Darvish. Meanwhile, socialite Lynda Erkiletian sold her Ritz condo—with four bedrooms, six baths, and a library—for $5.4 million.

In nearby Wormley Row, Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis paid $2.6 million for a two-bedroom unit. Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan spent $800,000 on a two-bedroom in Landmark Lofts in DC’s H Street, Northeast, neighborhood; the building is also home to former DC mayor Anthony Williams. And at the Parc Somerset in Chevy Chase, developer Louis Donatelli bought a condo for $3.2 million.

Scoring Big

Among star athletes making notable deals in 2009 were Capitals winger Alexander Semin and Wizards center Brendan Haywood. Both bought in Arlington—Semin for $1.2 million, Haywood for $1.6 million. In Fort Washington, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Delonte West dropped $1.1 million on an eight-bedroom, seven-bath custom home. Wizards forward Antawn Jamison sold a $1.4-million home with six bedrooms in Chevy Chase DC.

Former Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell, now a backup with New Orleans, unloaded a seven-bedroom, ten-bath home in Great Falls with a pool. Price: $3 million.

Former Georgetown and NBA star Alonzo Mourning collected $1.5 million for a five-bedroom, six-bath Bethesda home with a sport court and elevator.

Political Pacts:

While working on the McCain campaign, Republican operative Nicole Wallace sold her five-bedroom home—with a heated pool—in DC’s Wesley Heights for $2.5 million. Political writer Elizabeth Drew sold her five-bedroom home in Northwest DC to Frederic W. Malek—cofounder of the Internet marketing firm TIG Global and son of the GOP money man—and his wife, clinical psychologist Britlan Gorse Malek. The house has seven baths, a two-story foyer, a library, an embassy-size dining room, and a pool.

No Deal!: Several prestigious properties sit on the market, including Clarens Estate in Alexandria, built in 1820 with nine bedrooms on 3½ acres and priced at $8.95 million, and Folly Quarter Manor in Ellicott City, listed at $17 million for two houses, a pool, a tennis court, and a horse barn on more than 50 acres.

The famed Evermay in Georgetown has dropped its list price by nearly $10 million to $39.5 million. Built in 1801, it has eight bedrooms and 11 baths on 3½ acres. Nearby Halcyon House is going for $19.5 million, down from $30 million. Built in 1787, it has five bedrooms and overlooks the Potomac River.