Today’s real estate scene sees dozens upon dozens of cookie-cutter homes sprouting up like mushrooms in empty tracks of land. And a majority of potential home owners snatch up these homes from the market, preferring houses that are brand-new so that they don’t have to contend with repairs or renovations. Starting on a clean slate, if you will. But for aesthetic purposes, others who are in the market don’t find these new homes appealing in the least, due to their lack of character.
Instead, certain buyers look to purchasing existing houses whose old-world charm have a certain appeal to them. A few renovations here and there and an old house has the potential to be a true conversation piece and cozy home at the same time. But what of buyers who buy old houses, only to demolish them and erect brand-new ones in their place? Many historians cry foul if the houses that are torn down are beautiful landmarks that have stood the test of time. Yet, many of these home owners still feel the need to tear down these homes in favor of new ones, as practical purposes must often overrule sentimentality.
12 Ray Bradbury’s house (Los Angeles, California)
When fans of celebrated author Ray Bradbury found out that the home that he lived in (and died in) for 50 years was to be sold, they hoped that the new owner would retain at least its façade, since the home was considered a landmark for his fans and members of the Los Angeles Conservancy as well. But seeing as it was purchased by “starchictect” Thom Mayne, who is known for building structures from the ground up, the house was torn down in early 2015. Mayne defended his decision, saying the house was nothing out of the ordinary and that he didn’t know it belonged to a celebrity.
11 Jackling House (Woodside, California)
The 1920s Spanish-style mansion had as its last owner none other than Apple founder Steve Jobs. But being the practical, techno-savvy individual that he was, Jobs opted to tear down the mansion instead of maintaining it, as the upkeep was becoming too costly. And so he obtained a permit to bulldoze the structure, which was built by famous architect George Washington Smith for a wealthy copper businessman. Unfortunately, Jobs passed away soon after the demolition in 2011 and nothing has been built in the site in place of the mansion.
10 Alan King’s home (King’s Point, New York)
The late comedian Alan King’s home in King’s Point, New York was originally owned by famous lyricist Oscar Hammerstein back in 1926. The home, which was in the Tudor style and boasted of a pool, tennis court and private beach, was bought by high-end builder John Kean for $12 million in 2004. Given the nature of Kean’s business, it came as no surprise when it was reported that he would be tearing down the home and building in its place a spectacular modern structure.
9 Coca-Cola Mansion (Delray Beach, Florida)
It’s a shame when the owners of a house that’s under construction suddenly change their minds and decide they don’t want the house anymore. Such was the case when the heir to the Coca-Cola fortune put a stop to the construction of a 40,000-square-foot mansion fronting the ocean when it was 90% done. The developer Mark Pulte bought it back from the owner for $16 million, but decided to demolish it, building in its stead three oceanfront homes for sale.
8 Land’s End (The “Great Gatsby” House in Long Island)
For those familiar with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s renowned novel The Great Gatsby, they might be aware that the estate of Daisy Buchanan, the book’s female protagonist, was supposedly inspired by Land’s End, a Long Island estate in the North Shore. But it came as a shock to the novel’s fans, as well as preservationists that the famous house was torn down in 2011 to make way for the construction of new homes. According to reports, the developer who owned the land was having a difficult time in the financial upkeep of such a massive estate and it had fallen into such bad disrepair, that it was just too expensive to let stand there as mere eye candy.
7 Dragon Head Mansion (Southampton, New York)
Gothic-style homes have become passe in this day and age, as their dark, gloomy interiors and imposing-looking exteriors don’t make for a cozy home. Such was the case for Dragon Head, a 38,000 square-foot mansion with turrets and towers that gave off that haunted house vibe instead of warm abode. Designer Calvin Klein purchased the estate in 2003 for $30 million, but instead of retaining its structure, he had the whole thing torn down and built in its place a modern, understated, eco-friendly house for his family.
6 Dean Gardens (Johns Creek, Georgia)
Entertainment mogul Tyler Perry has under his belt several homes, luxury cars, and even his own island. Dean Gardens was just one of the pieces of property acquired by Perry, who paid over $7 million for the 58-acre estate in 2010. However, Perry never made it his home and he put it up for sale in 2014 to real estate company Lennar Homes. The developer will reportedly demolish the mansion and its surrounding gardens and turn the property into a residential subdivision.
5 Sagaponack Mansion (Sagaponack, New York)
If you’ve got money coming out of your ears like hedge fund manager David Tepper does, buying a mansion worth $43 million is peanuts. Grandiose to say the least, the 6,100-square-foot estate spanned six beachfronts, and had a tennis court and heated pool, yet Tepper was undaunted by his purchase of it in 2010. He apparently had no intention of actually living in the manse, as he had it torn down a few months later so that he could build his own home from scratch on the property.
4 Chetwode Mansion (Newport, Rhode Island)
Back in the day, Rhode Island was the playground of the rich and famous, with the country’s wealthiest owning extravagant summer houses along its shores. But the maintenance of these lavish mansions was too expensive and sadly, many had to be torn down. One of these structures that fell victim to difficult times was Chetwode Mansion, built in 1903 and in the likeness of a French chateau and Versailles Palace. The description alone is testament to how expensive the place’s upkeep was. It was torn down in 1973 and replaced by condominiums.
3 Theda Bara’s home (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Silent film star Theda Bara hailed from Cincinnati in Ohio and though she had her own sprawling mansion in Hollywood, she wanted to make a replica of it in her hometown. The white, 12-bedroom mansion became a landmark in Cincinnati and though it was purchased by Xavier University for its educational programs and social gatherings, it was eventually demolished in 2011 so that it could be upgraded and landscaped. However, plans for the land area have not yet been made public.
2 Astor House (New York City)
One of New York City’s lesser renowned landmarks, but a landmark nonetheless, was Astor House, which wasn’t technically a home—rather it was the city’s first ever luxury hotel. Built by famous millionaire John Jacob Astor in 1836, the hotel was as homey as it was luxurious, a true modern marvel during its heyday, with gas lighting and indoor plumbing. But like most old structures, it got more and more difficult to maintain as the years passed. It was demolished 70 years later.
1 Ira Gershwin’s home (Beverly Hills, California)
Falling victim to the buy-and-demolish trend in Beverly Hills was the former home of famous composer Ira Gershwin in North Roxbury Drive. The home was witness to Gershwin’s musical compositions, as well as his parties with Hollywood royalty as his guests of honor. When Gershwin bought the house, he had it remodeled to suit his tastes and the result was a Hollywood regency-style house with five bedrooms, six baths, and a swimming pool. But this being decades ago, the style of the estate is considered outdated by today’s modern man, hence its subsequent demolition.
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