Basalt brokers list ‘estate in a crate’ |

Basalt brokers list ‘estate in a crate’

Scott Condon
Basalt, CO Colorado

BASALT, Colorado – Two Basalt real estate agents feel they have a property listing that is odd enough to get noticed in this stagnant, recession-ravaged market.

Ted Borchelt and Jana Dillard are trying to sell “the estate in a crate” – a 38,500-square-foot English manor. The estate in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, U.K., was doomed for destruction because of a development project. Two American architectural antique dealers rescued the estate, then put it in a few thousand crates.

The wood, stone and other materials of the 236-year-old manor were carefully dismantled, numbered, catalogued, then stored. It’s available for purchase and assembly, like a giant Lego project. The listing price is $5 million, which includes shipping costs to Oklahoma City, where one of the sellers lives, Borchelt said. The actual shipping cost could be more or less, depending on the location in the U.S.

A buyer would need a large vacant lot and a hefty budget for reconstruction. “Basically, you’ll be buying the skin and erecting the skeleton,” Borchelt said.

The manor, known as Cowbridge House Estate, is also available in bits and pieces although the sellers prefer to keep it intact. Borchelt and Dillard, both of Chaffin Light Real Estate, got the listing because of Borchelt’s connections with a family member of one of the owners when he worked at the Roaring Fork Club. The owners, Jack Smith Schick and Michael O’Gara, don’t have a deadline for closing a deal.

“They realize these things just don’t fly off the shelves,” Borchelt said.

But they figure if anyone is interested in this troubled economy, it could well be a resident or visitor to Aspen. “You never know who might be interested,” said Dillard.

The saga of the London Bridge suggests a sale isn’t out of the question. The city of London sold the structurally-challenged bridge to a businessman who reassembled it at Lake Havasu City to attract tourists. He ultimately wanted to lure buyers for retirement homes. The scheme worked.

Even if Cowbridge doesn’t sell right away, it provides a great conversation piece for the two real estate agents. Instead of lamenting about the slow market at gatherings, they can talk about their unusual listing. “It’s so out-of-the-box and fun to talk about,” Dillard said.

The architectural splendors of the “estate in a crate” include 46 carved stone windows, a hand-carved English oak staircase and 28,000 slate roof tiles.

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