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    This Spec Home Rates a New Definition

    A Madison, Wisconsin “spec” home is a residence that has been designed and built by a Madison, Wisconsin entrepreneur who has no pre-existing sales order. Madison, Wisconsin spec homes are bold ventures: they have to be built with confidence that the design and execution will be attractive enough to generate a sale. To return a profit that’s worth the risk, the sale has to be realized quickly enough to offset the considerable costs advanced.

    Dictionaries can be a little confusing about what “spec” is shortened from. Most ascribe it to “speculative,” but some (like Wiktionary) think it has to do with the builder following his own specifications.

    I’d like to suggest a new third possibility—at least for one particular spec home. News about it comes to us from Bloomberg’s Business site, under the heading, “California Dreaming.” It’s about a spec home that’s being built on a grand scale…okay, maybe “grand scale” is too modest: it’s being built on an astronomical scale…a gargantuan scale…maybe more like a mega-galactic scale!

    Because the asking price is going to be a half billion dollars.

    Now, Madison, Wisconsin real estate watchers may have thought that when Johnny Depp’s luxury property in France (the one that was actually a whole village) was listed a couple of months ago, we’d hit a sort of apex of residential real estate extravagance—but clearly, we were mistaken. A $500,000,000 asking price could buy you a lot of French villages like Depp’s. It could approach a province (albeit, maybe a fixer-upper province).

    The California Dreaming spec home is, land-wise, a surprisingly modest offering. Only about 4 acres or, as the builder puts it, “1.6 hectares” (I believe this indicates a hopeful nod to potential foreign buyers). So, what will this home—which won’t be completed for another 20 months—offer that our run-of-the-mill Madison, Wisconsin spec homes don’t?

    For openers, the four acres (or 1.6 hectares) are in Bel Air, which is already a somewhat pricey neighborhood. All the hectares are situated on a hilltop with 360-degree views of the Pacific Ocean, Beverly Hills, downtown L.A., and the San Fernando Valley. Still, with the average residence sale in even that neighborhood weighing in at peasant-level prices (only $5.29 million), you’d think there must be a lot more going on.

    There is. It will be roomy: 74,000 square feet in the main residence. And so you won’t have to feel hemmed in when guests show up, there will be three smaller houses. Unless you have more than 30 autos, the garage will also be ample. You’ll have four swimming pools, including a 180-foot infinity pool. To combat the California drought, the yard features 20,000 square feet of synthetic grass. To banish the boredom that might set in if the Queen fails to visit (synthetic grass won’t accommodate the corgis very well) there will be a 45-seat Imax theater. Still bored? There’s always the 8,500 square foot night club. At the end of a long night of TV-watching and night clubbing, there’s a 5,000 foot master bedroom to flop into…if you can find the bed.

    Compared with our Madison, Wisconsin spec homes, I’d suggest the ‘spec’ in this one stands for ‘special.’ Very special. Meantime, in case you are too impatient to wait the 20 months for the California Dreaming mansion to be completed, we have a number of Madison, Wisconsin properties that are a good deal more practical. Call me to zero in on the great values our summer market has to offer!

    Jen Stauter Kornstedt
    HomeTeam4U-Stark Company Realtors
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