The home had been on the market for 17 years…with an original asking price of $40 million. But the 58-acre estate in Johns Creek, Georgia – with its 18-hole golf course, wedding chapel, band shell and formal gardens – was just purchased for a bargain basement price of $7.6 million by none other than Tyler Perry.
The entertainment mogul says he plans to demolish the whole compound and build his own home, one that is environmentally friendly and made of concrete, according to the New York Times.
An estate sale was held Friday (see photo above) by the previous owner Larry Dean, 67, who grew up without indoor plumbing in a low-income section of Atlanta, founded a financial services software company, Stockholder Systems Inc., in the early 1970s and became a millionaire many times over.
He and his first wife, Lynda, spent four years and $25 million building their own private Versailles, which they called “Dean Gardens” and finished in 1992. Their architect, Bill Harrison, said each square inch of it was given the attention to detail of a Faberge egg.
The Deans’ dream was to raise their four children here in an atmosphere like “Dynasty,” “only happy,” and then leave the grounds to a foundation that would open it to the public for charity events.
But in 1993, shortly after finishing the house, the Deans separated and the house went on the market. It has languished there for the last 17 years. One potential buyer, Dean said, was Michael Jackson, who wanted the place in 1994 as a surprise for his fiancée, Lisa Marie Presley. But when the media reported Mr. Jackson’s plan and ruined the surprise, he did not sign the contract.
Hundreds of strangers and many friends — most in black dresses or dark suits — showed up for the estate sale Friday night and scrutinized every object, from a $10 snow globe to a $60,000 dolphin-sculpture fountain. And many walked out the $17,500 leaded glass and mahogany double front doors, which came from the Chicago Cotton Exchange, with an artifact from Dean’s past, the Times reported.