Alicia Chmielewski of Keller Williams Realty had sold plenty of high-end homes with unusual amenities, but never one with an indoor batting cage.
That changed with a sale that closed last week and is believed to have set a record for the highest recorded residential home sale in Tarrant County in more than a decade, according to Chmielewski’s reading of the Multiple Listing Service.
“Basketball courts, yes, but a batting cage, no,” Chmielewski told the Dallas Business Journal in an interview Wednesday. “That was fun — fun facts.”
The 16,238-square-foot mansion, complete with the batting cage and a slew of other amenities, belonged to retired Major League Baseball All-Star Vernon Wells, who lived in it until the sale, Chmielewski said.
For a photo tour of the home, click here.
The Mediterranean-inspired villa at 2251 King Fisher Drive in Westlake’s prestigious Vaquero gated community was listed at $8.5 million, although the sales price and buyer’s identity were not immediately disclosed. Chmielewski would only describe the buyer as a “prominent businessman” and “someone very notable.”
The Dallas Morning News reported Thursday that the purchase was made by a trust controlled Renda Tillerson and Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobil's former chief executive, citing Tarrant County deed records.
Since Texas does not require home sale prices to be disclosed, it’s difficult to verify that the transaction is a record. MLS records show an October 2007 sale of a home listed at $6.8 million, but the actual sale price could have been lower or higher than that, Chmielewski said. She declined to say whether Wells’ property fetched its $8.5 million asking price, but said it’s unlikely the 2007 sale matched or exceeded the June 3 sale of Wells’ place.
“I love setting records,” she said, “and this was one.”
The Tarrant Appraisal District lists the market value of the Westlake home at at $6.48 million.
Wells and his family had the home custom-built in 2010, and this is the first time it has sold, Chmielewski said. Rebuilding the home in today’s market, with the cost of materials and labor, would exceed $10 million, she added.
In Dallas-Fort Worth, luxury properties sat on the market for 54 percent longer in 2018 than the previous year, according to Concierge Auctions’ U.S. Luxury Homes Index. The top 10 luxury homes in DFW averaged 640.6 days on the market in 2018, up from 416 days in 2017.
Nationwide, luxury properties sat on the market for an average of 506 days last year, according to Concierge’s most recent data.
Wells’ property sold after five months on the market.
“For the very high-end homes, it's a completely different marketplace,” Chmielewski said. “Homes like this generally sit on the market for years, so the fact that we sold this one in less than 150 days is unfathomable.”
The buyer’s agent was Barbara Pantuso, also of Keller Williams Realty.
Wells, who retired in 2014, spent most of his career with the Toronto Blue Jays, where he played in three All-Star games and won three Gold Glove awards and a Silver Slugger award. Wells, an outfielder and a product of Arlington Bowie High School, also had MLB stints with the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees.
The 2251 King Fisher Drive property sits on about two acres and has five bedrooms and seven full and two half bathrooms. The home’s interiors feature polished stone floors, rowed columns and high ceilings throughout. A chef’s kitchen features two islands, and the formal dining room has a barrel-vaulted ceiling. The master suite on the second floor has double French doors that lead out onto a private balcony.
Notable amenities throughout the home include a game room with a billiard table, a walk-around bar, an alcove dedicated to arcade games, wine room, and a pro-athlete gym with adjoining batting cage. Outdoors, the villa has a 90,000-gallon infinity pool with a swim-up bar attached to the main covered full bar, an open-air fireplace, a backyard brick pizza oven.
Other amenities include a resort-style spa with a steam shower, therapy tub, infrared sauna, massage room, hair salon and more.
To check out the home, click here.