TALE OF THE SALE BEHIND THE SCENES IN LOCAL REAL ESTATE Downsizing Here and Drug Busts There

THE HOUSE: 9245 Hollow Way

LISTING PRICE: $2,495 million

SELLING PRICE: $23 million

IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? FIRST there was Oak Cliff podiatrist Dr. Ben Clark Jr. and his wife, Jennifer, who built 9245 Hollow Way in 1992. Now there are two-radio psychologist Dr. Toni Grant Bell and her husband, strategic management guru Dr. John Bell. This high-profile Dallas duo sold their 18,000-plus-square-foot estate at Meadowbrook and Dent-wood drives to George and Dominique Perrin last fall. With the kids all grown, who needs such a large trophy house?

Word was the Bells really wanted to buy the Neiman Marcus showcase home at 10235 Strait Ln. In fact, their back-up contract was said to be a tad bit more than the $3.4 millionish the home actually sold for, but Chuck Lee, chairman and chief executive officer of GTE, bought the 9.000-square-foot house even though he knew he might not be living in it for long if GTE moved headquarters.

So what is a downsizing couple like the Bells to do? Buy a 9,773-square-foot retirement home down the block from their old estate. Roughly half the size of the Bell’s old home, the Hollow Way house sits on an acre and a half of land and is convenient to the Dallas North Tollway and Northwest Highway. While it was on the market for three months, there were two offers on 9245 Hollow Way.

Though they closed the deal last October, the Bells did not move into their new home until late February. Toni redecorated and repainted everything. Selling agent Carole Hoffman, of Ellen Terry Realtors, understands the makeover: “It is a gorgeous house, custom-built for a family six years ago,” she says. “But it was very customized to the needs of a family and to children.”



THE HOUSE: 4709 Melissa Ln.

LISTING PRICE: $359,000

SELLING PRICE: $295,000

FEW HOMES IN THIS NICE RESIDENTIAL neighborhood near Welch Road have had the kinky past that 4709 Melissa Ln. has. At 7,308 square feet, with a glass-enclosed indoor swimming pool and spa and four full-size bars, the house is a hedonist’s dream. But really it’s the past inhabitants who make the story.

Billy Kilgo, whom neighbors remember as “party-time Charlie,” owned the house in the ’70s and ’80s. Neighbors say Kilgo occasionally dressed as a woman and sang at his piano bar with his dog howling in unison. They claim he also used to hire weird, transient contractors to redo his home; one removed the entire back of the house and ran off with 15,000 pre-paid dollars. Kilgo died in his second twin-engine plane crash near Houston in 1986. He was 61, and his ex-mother-in-law, who lived with him, used to say Billy actually died from a heart attack after a six-hour-long face lift.

George Blesse bought the home from Kilgo’s estate and while he was there kept a full-time chauffeur and bodyguard.

When Blesse decided to lease the house, the eccentricity did not stop. The first tenants were a young family. The man went to work each night at 10:30, sat in his car blinking the headlights (.apparently to signal drug deals). brought in topless dancers, and kept huge barking dogs in the backyard. One night after a long stakeout, the DE A busted the home and arrested the man for dealing cocaine. The next tenant stiffed Blesse for rent and used one bathroom as a giant litter box, Needless to say, Blesse was more than glad to shed the property.

,lWe stumbled across it and saw a lot of potential,” say the new owners. Cheryl and Michael Zidell. who closed Jan. 21,1998. Their agent is Cynthia A. Paine of William Rigg Realtors.

The Zidells plan to expunge the house’s former reputation by pumping at least $250,000 into the property, making it look more like a family home and less like a brothel. They plan to demolish the indoor pool and replace it with a 2,000-square-foot family room, then remodel the bars into bedrooms. About the only square footage they’ll have to add is a breakfast nook-the house had three small kitchens but no place for a large family to eat.

“I don’t think previous owners worried too much about a family-size kitchen or breakfast room,” says one neighbor. “Most of the meals consumed in that home were liquid.”

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