Detroit’s largest private residence sold for more than $2.5 million, making it the highest recorded sale in the Motor City in the last 10 years, according to public records.
A California-based investor snapped up Bishop’s Mansion in an off-market deal that was finalized Thursday. The 35,000-square-foot residence, completed in 1926, is in the Palmer Woods neighborhood, where the buyer already owns two homes.
“He collects historic homes throughout the country,” said the seller’s agent, Antonio Rodriguez of Re/Max Suburban. “He just fell in love with the house and the architecture.”
The deal was for significantly more than other sales of luxury homes in Detroit this year, according to public records. The Book Cadillac penthouse sold for $1.8 million and the Motown Mansion went for $1.65 million. The Fisher Mansion, built in 1922 for Michael Fisher and his family, sold for $1.25 million.
Also called the Bishop’s Residence, the home had been owned by Bishop Wayne Jackson since 1995. Mr. Jackson, the pastor of Great Faith Ministries International and the founder and president of the Impact Network, bought it from John Salley of the Detroit Pistons.
“It’s a very valuable and sentimental property,” Mr. Jackson said in a statement. “It’s a very spiritual place.”
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His family, which includes his wife, Yvonne, and nine children, certainly could have benefited from the home’s 13 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms. They also hosted several high-profile events at the home, according to Mr. Rodriguez.
The Tudor revival-style home was designed by the Boston-based architectural firm Maginnis and Walsh for the Catholic Bishop of Detroit. The Fisher brothers, who owned the Detroit-based carriage and automobile company Fisher Body, funded the project, which took two years to complete.
Because of its origins in the church, the mansion has quite a few ecclesiastical features. There’s a chapel on the second floor, for instance, and, outside, there’s a copper statue of the archangel St. Michael fighting Satan.
Many of the materials for the home were shipped over from Europe, Mr. Rodriguez said, including marble pillars from Sicily and wood from the
Black Forest in Germany. Franciscan monks kneeling in prayer are carved into the base of the main staircase and are thought to have been created by European artisans, according to local history site Detroit1701.org There are also 10 fireplaces.
For the tile work, the designers looked no further than Detroit’s renowned Pewabic Pottery Co.. At one point, the residence had the largest collection of the tile in the state.
“We had a historical inspector here, and he said you couldn’t build this home for $50 million today,” Mr. Rodriguez said.
The home is part of the Palmer Woods National Register Historic District, which was home to many well-heeled executives who worked for Detroit’s automobile companies. Frank Lloyd Wright and Minoru Yamasaki also designed homes there, according to the website for the district.
The buyer intends to renovate the mansion, Mr. Rodriguez said, which could be up to a $1 million project. He is interested in opening a luxury bed and breakfast there, or just holding on to it as “the Detroit market is coming back.”
The sale was first reported by Curbed Detroit.
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