Dec. 13, 2008

President George W. Bush buys 8,501-square-foot house in Dallas' Preston Hollow neighborhood

President George W. Bush has purchased an 8,501-square-foot house in Dallas' Preston Hollow neighborhood.

We know this story was all over the news last week (in fact, it was so many places that we're not even going to bother crediting anyone on this), but we wanted to weigh in on it (and provide a lot more details for our readers) before it got too out of date.

And in the ensuing week since this story broke, we have to say that even given its size, something about Bush's new house still feels to us to be a little....small. And underwhelming. We realize that the soon-to-be-former president doesn't have a lot of money right now, and we also realize that the man already has himself a gigantic ranch on 1,580.22 acres at 43 Prairie Chapel Ranch on Prairie Chapel Road in Crawford, Texas, which he purchased through his Lone Star Trust in 1999 for an estimated $1.3 million.

And yet, at the same time, this house, which is in the Mayflower Estates sub-area of Preston Hollow, just feels something less than presidential to us.

Before discussing Bush's new house, let's talk about the New York Post's Cindy Adams' ridiculous and error-filled report back in September that Bush had purchased a house on five acres in Preston Hollow. (Although Bush did go ahead and buy his house the following month, it's certainly not on five acres!) Local media immediately debunked the report.

The following month, however, Bush did go ahead and purchase a house in Preston Hollow, which is at 10141 Daria Place, which was built in 1959 and which sits on a 1.13-acre parcel, according to public records. The house had not been on the market, and Bush made the purchase in the name of his accountant, Robert McCleskey, closing on the deal on October 1, 2008 (deal recorded on October 3, 2008). Local officials do not require that property sale amounts be made public (which is incredibly annoying for celebrity real estate snoops like us). However, the good news is that mortgage amounts there *are* made public, and records show that the president took out a $3,074,239 mortgage. Bush reportedly will be buying the 4,684-sqare-foot house next door, at 10151 Daria Place, ostensibly for the Secret Service's use, but records do not show yet that a sale has closed on that house (that house had been listed for $1,679,900, and its longtime owner, Joan Northway, died in October 2003 at age 76; the house reportedly is empty at present).

The adjoining homes that Bush has bought back up to homes owned by Gene and Roxanne Phillips (at 10300 Gaywood Road) and Tom Hicks, who purchased the Texas Rangers baseball team from Bush in 1998. Hicks' home, at 5555 Walnut Hill Road, is more like a mansion, measuring a whopping 28,996 square feet.

Before becoming governor, Bush lived just a short distance away from his new digs, owning a 3,397-square-foot house at 6029 Northwood Road in Preston Hollow. Bush purchased that house in November 1998 for $320,000 and sold it for $348,000 in January 1995 -- when he moved into Dallas' governor's mansion in Austin.

Both Bush's 1988-1995 residence and his new house are in areas that have had restrictions barring non-whites. The Northwood Road house did, and the specific part of Preston Hollow that they're now buying in, the James Meaders Estates subdivision, has been widely reported to have had a neighborhood association covenant from 1956 until 2000 barring any non-whites from owning property in it.

Check out a tax record for Bush's new house.

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