Champions Golf Course Chateau: Sold, for $3.5 Million

Have a look around this little 25,637-sq.-ft. castle on a 5-acre lot at the edge of the Champions Golf Course. The master suite alone measures 3,000 sq. ft. Construction began in 2005, but last year the property was taken over by the lender, Encore Bank, before the final touches could be completed — like the elevator connecting the 3-car underground garage to the rest of the house. The MLS listing announced the bank planned to auction the home by November 5th to the highest bidder. But it was scooped up before then — for $3.5 million — by someone who could truly appreciate its fine marble and plaster finishes: the founder of a drywall contracting company and his wife. Wayne and Karen Martin tell the Chronicle‘s Nancy Sarnoff they plan to finish the home and landscape it with “European-style” gardens and reflecting ponds. “There’s a lot of history in that place. It’s phenomenal,” Martin tells Sarnoff.

But they don’t plan to move in.


Instead, the Martins say they plan to use the 5-bedroom, 9-bath home as an event space — to host fundraisers and galas. They expect to have it ready by this time next year.

22 Comment

  • WOW!
    That’s something.
    Fire place and log centric.
    The design really sticks to a theme.
    (I feel embarrassed by the bathrooms, though, having seen little of them in my historical design studies: I feel so VERY awkward viewing the showers where young maidens might disrobe.)

  • Good on ’em to use the place for fund raising, and you could rent that sucker out for weddings easily too since it already looks like a church. Would be really awkward to actually live in…I can imagine feeling the need to speak in hushed reverent tones while pacing the halls in my sack cloth robe.

  • FAUX-tastic !!!

  • Oh the lifestyles of the idle rich…probably friends of the banker…they both needed a write off….I see scale was not one of their strong suits.

  • The groin vaults that end in free space seem a bit odd, the whole point of them is that they’re supposed to have a column at each end.

  • “But they don’t plan to move in.”
    “Instead…they plan to use the 5-bedroom, 9-bath home as an event space — to host fundraisers and galas.”
    Ahhh. Eh, who knows. Maybe they’re buying it as an investment property. If they get a mortgage on it with cheap money, hold it for 5-10 years and break even (or come close) holding functions, then sell at a large profit (if only due to inflation).

  • Cody – they paid cash.

    That was a steal… the previous owners put over 10 million into this property.

  • Yikes, they paid cash-cash? Must be nice :)
    I’m surprised that even a many-times-over millionaire has $3.5m sitting liquid in the bank. The opportunity cost is huge (~$250k/year). Though if you have $3.5+m in the bank, I guess you don’t care about .25M/year :)

  • @Cody – Yeah, I hear you.

    $136/ sq ft for this type of building is pretty amazing.

    I went on the Open House and it’s even bigger than it looks in the pictures.

  • I believe the owners that built the house already own one on the Champions Golf Course. When this place was being built several nosey neighbors snuck onto the property. I remember how massive this place was and the garage going under the house. Is this still true?

  • @noseyneighbor – yes, that’s all still true. There is an underground garage with a 2-car door, but it opens out into what might be a 4 to 6 car space.

    I’ve been in a lot of houses, but this thing is just amazing.

  • I hope this building is a stone structural construction, lest all this marble disintegrates with the rest of the house in a Houston-average 50-60 years. Those who have seen it being built: is it just a stick frame or real masonry?

  • It’s not stick frame — it’s actually steel beam construction overlaid with masonry. (not sure that overlaid is the right term?)

  • Finally, a real mansion in Houston area, without a Mc. Definitely a bargain at 3.5M.

  • It always kind of sickens me that most of the best materials and highly skilled labor in the city ends up buried in moronic projects like this one. Only a douchebag would design or build something like this.

    I mean, WTF kind of idiot would even conceive of building a 25,000 s.f. knock off of a French chateau at all–anywhere–but least of all in Champions. Are we living in the Age of Enlightenment? Yeah, OK man, we know you’ve been to France–a lot of us have. We’re not impressed by your cavernous wine room.

    At so many points along the way, so many people could have said–should have said: “Seriously, dude. That’s a stupid idea. Don’t do it. Don’t build it. You’re an asshole.” But apparently no one did. Least of all the propellerheads on the loan committee at Encore Bank–who should all be fired–but won’t be–because, hey, it’s not THEIR millions they just lost–it’s ours. (Looks like higher ATM fees!)

    There really should be ordinances against these kinds of ridiculous, wasteful, disrespectful shows of grandiosity. I mean, think about it. It’s disgusting. And it’s not even well done. It’s a hack job. It looks like a mausoleum, not a home. What kind of narcissistic prick would want to own a house like this?

    Just more signs that the apocalypse is upon us.

  • Jared: The same argument, to various degrees, can be said about everything. It’s their money — let them build what they want.
    By the way, I’m sure the people that were employed, and the suppliers involved, would feel completely differently from your post.
    I’m not going to argue with your assessment of the loan committee as I have issues often with their decisions. However it *is* their money. So long as they don’t default and rely on the FDIC, any money lost from a short sale or loan default (assuming it was a note they held) comes off their other banking profits.

  • @Jared – Don’t hold back now, tell us how you really feel!

  • This chateau was built not with Sir and Lady Douche’s money, but rather with Encore Bank’s account holders’ money. That it was sold off at a foreclosure sale is the tip off– and apparently at a $7.5MM loss. Ooopsie.

  • Mel: If that was a response to me, let me clarify. When you buy a home (in this case build) you typically get a loan. So if someone criticizes what you buy, and the reply is “well it’s there money”, I guess there is an understanding that — at least with a house — there is typically a bank involved. So no, it’s not all their own money. When I buy a place I consider that I’m buying with my own money even though a loan is in place because I put money down and am ultimately (morally/legally) responsible for paying off that loan.
    And unless the previous owners put nothing down to get this built, and are facing no repercussions from the short sale, the goofs that built this thing ARE taking a nice hit.
    And yes, the bank uses deposits to fund loans. But that doesn’t mean those depositors are taking a loss from it. Any “loss” they might see from increase in fees or lower interest rates are mitigated by the fact all depositors are free to take their money elsewhere.
    So the loss from the short sale is a hit to the banks profits. Sucks for them. Hopefully between the money the previous owners put down, the loan balance vs. sales price, and what they should be able to get from the previous owners, they won’t take too much of a haircut.

  • there/their – dang the no edit feature :)

  • I hope that if I am ever rich enough to build une grande folie like this, I will be a little more creative.

  • I grew up in Champions. This place sits within view of a water treatment plant for the adjoining Raveneux Golf Course at the end of champions drive. They started building it when i was a sophomore in high school and Im 24 now. It far exceeds any other homes in the whole of northwest Houston, hence the major difference in sell vs build price. Everything aside, you must admit it was an pretty ambitious and well executed undertaking. Theres a lot of Memorial Dr. McMansions trying very hard to be like it that arent half as well appointed.