If you haven’t noticed (perhaps you’re too engrossed in the Alec Wilkinson’s great recent New Yorker piece on the tiny house movement) it’s been an active couple of weeks in the world of absurdly oversized and overpriced homes.
First, there’s the hubbub over concrete tycoon Steven Huff’s twister-resistant, 72,000-square foot “residential chateau” that’s under construction in rural Missouri. Then there was the bargain basement sale — a $150 million asking price slashed to $85 million — of what was once the most expensive private home in America: The Manor, a 57,000-square-foot Los Angeles mega-mansion built by the late TV producer, Aaron Spelling. (His widow, Candy Spelling, is downsizing to a $35 million condo.)
Now, the newest residence to earn the title of “most expensive home in America” has entered the real estate market at $175 million, and it's not the square-footage — or the presence of multiple gift wrapping suites or a 4,000-square-foot garage — that’s turning heads.
At 1,750 acres, it’s the sheer vastness of the place that’s generating all the attention. Unlike the two previously mentioned properties, this particular piece of real estate outside of Jackson Hole, Wyo., isn’t so much a home but a working ranch complete with an equestrian center designed by preservation-minded architect Jonathan Foote.
Named Jackson Land & Cattle, the ranch, despite the record-breaking, mind-boggling price tag (that's $175,000 per acre, folks) doesn’t exactly scream wretched excess. In fact, the property’s three-bedroom main house, a barn conversion, is downright quaint compared to the 14-bedroom Chez Spelling. In addition to the modest main digs and the “preeminent” 52-stall equestrian center, Jackson Land & Cattle boasts three fishing ponds, 800 acres of irrigated meadows, a spring creek, a four-bedroom bunkhouse for guests, majestic views of the mighty Tetons, and entitlements for up to 35 individual home sites in the event that the buyer doesn’t want all of the land to his or herself. Horses and a closet filled with diamond-encrusted cowboy hats are not included in the sale.
Most refreshingly, Jackson Land & Cattle's current owner, casino and resort developer Richard Fields, hopes that any deep-pocketed potential buyers are similarly conservation-minded and won't have plans to turn the land into something like, god forbid, an outlet mall.
Listing broker Jonathan Pierce of Hall and Hall tells Forbes:
We are dealing with a very capable seller who is hoping for a conservation outcome on the property, although certainly not dictating that. It’s a signature property that the entire community would love to see someone come along that shares Mr. Fields’ appreciation for the open space.