The Houston Association of Realtors is eliminating the phrases "master bedroom” and “master bathroom” from its real estate listings because of the slavery connotations of the word "master." Agents are still free to use the terms in their own marketing materials and descriptions but the Multiple Listings Services (MLS) will refer to "primary bedrooms" and "primary bathrooms." From Click2Houston:
“It was not a new suggestion to review the terminology,” according to the statement HAR sent its members. “The overarching message was that some members were concerned about how the terms might be perceived by some other agents and consumers. The consensus was that Primary describes the rooms equally as well as Master while avoiding any possible misperceptions.”
Related, the New York Times reports that the Court of Master Sommeliers will no longer refer to sommeliers who have passed the master's exam with the word "Master" before their surname.
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Here's the listing in Flushing, New York. As the saying goes, bring your contractor!
(Rossmann Repair Group) Read the rest
Listed at $159,900 this 1,075 square-foot home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is bland on the outside but features rooms with outer space, submarine, tropical island, and moonbase motifs. The owners put a lot of work into it!
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The Hollywood Hills home that was the TV and real life abode of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson is now on the market for $6.5 million. Airing from 1952-1966, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet featured many exterior shots of the family's actual house. (Recently, it was also used as Ari Gold's residence on Entourage.) The current owner of the 1916 home is Law & Order: SVU star Christopher Meloni who purchased it in 2014. The home features many amenities, including a ghost, likely that of Ozzie Nelson who in 1975 reportedly died in the bedroom. From Architectural Digest:
It should be noted that—possibly as a result of Ozzie’s death—numerous previous owners have reportedly complained that the property is haunted. Spooky incidents include Ozzie’s model train, which runs on a track near the ceiling in the pub room, inexplicably running on its own in the middle of the night; and the smell of rose-scented perfume.
image: Hilton & Hyland
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From the outside, it appears to be a small, gray wooden building [Zillow]. Inside, it's a sprawling yet utterly featureless place where everything is just a little off: peculiar angles, odd symmetries, expansive yet weirdly cramped spaces, and open areas with no sense of place or purpose abutting tiny kitchens or huge store-rooms. Not a right-angle to be found.
"Absolutely none of the rooms are shaped like rooms," writes @spindlypete on Twitter. "Doesn't seem like a place humans ought to live."
Is it a former cult compound, a bland oregonian Hårga? A "HGTV renovation of a Doom map"? A more likely speculation, based on business records found online, is that it was the home and place of business of an engineer who invented specialized drilling equipment and really likes mitering drywall.
If you have $525,000 and wish to live in a 3,500 square ft. maze of Home Depot dollar tile in the middle of nowhere, you're all set.
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I've never really understood the modern concept of "owning a town" — other than, ya know, terrible wannabe feudal lords.
But thanks a Reddit AMA this week, I've got a better idea of what exactly goes into owning and rebuilding up a deserted ghost town. Brent Underwood recently purchased the abandoned 22-building town of Cerro Gordo in California for $1.4 million dollars — not a bad price for a whole town, honestly, although it needs some work. Underwood was kind enough to answer some questions in the Reddit forum, and it's pretty enlightening to see how, exactly, he plans to make anything out of this desolate old mine-and-murder town. (It's also just interesting to see how he's meaning to survive his coronavirus quarantine in the snow without runing water.)
I read the whole thread, and my only disappointment was the lack of answers on how you make a ghost pay rent. But Jeff Goldblum did stop by one time, so I guess life, uhhh, finds a way.
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Overview of Cerro Gordo
IamA guy who bought a 22-building 'ghost town' over a year ago with a friend. It was once California's largest silver producer and had a murder a week. I've been up here for past 3 weeks quarantining and currently snowed-in with no way out of the town. AMA! [Reddit]
They Bought a Ghost Town for $1.4 Million. Now They Want to Revive It. Read the rest
The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs told the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe on Friday that the tribe's reservation will be "disestablished" and its land taken out of trust, per an order from Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, tribe Chairman Cedric Cromwell announced in a post on the tribe's website.
The Mashpee Wampanoag and their ancestors have lived on and around Cape Cod for thousands of years. They are one of two federally recognized tribes of Wampanoag people in Massachusetts. But their status was not formally recognized by the US government until 2007. As Boston.com explains:
The federal government hasn’t removed a tribe’s land trust status against its will since the mid-20th century’s so-called Termination Era.
The move Friday came after a federal appeals court ruled against the tribe last month, upholding a lower court’s ruling that the Mashpee Wampanoag didn’t qualify to have their land taken into trust because the tribe wasn’t federally recognized in 1934, when the Indian Reorganization Act was passed, creating a process to restore sovereign land rights.
The "legal" argument here is largely based on the (injust) ability for the descendents of colonial settlers to decide who does or does not qualify as Native American based on their genetic makeup and/or appearance, rather than cultural connection or involvement. Essentially, the claim is that, since this tribe was not recognized (because of assumptions of default whiteness) at the time when all of the other Native American landtrusts were established under US law, it is illegitimate. Read the rest
NPR has a bizarrely fascinating new piece about Drew Miller, the owner and founder of Fortitude Ranch, which is essentially a timeshare opportunity for Doomsday Preppers. Unlike the Survival Condos that start at $1.5 million, Fortitude Ranch "seeks to capture a solidly middle-class market." The annual membership fee is $1,000, which gives you access to 10 days at any of their locations.
Right now, there's only one Fortitude Ranch in West Virginia. But the company is already building another one in Colorado, and ultimately plans for a nationwide network of 12 locations, which will each have different recreational offerings, and be conveniently placed so there's always one location within a day's drive.
It's not luxurious; spartan may be a more accurate term. Yet, the properties are in secluded, wild and scenic places that Miller hopes will make the fee worth it for the right customers.
If the structures of society crumble, Miller envisions each Fortitude Ranch location as a protected community of about 50 people, up to a maximum of 500. Initially, there will be supplies and food on-site to last a full year. However, once members fall into a routine of gardening, hunting and fishing in the adjacent national forest, Miller said, it should be sustainable in the long term.
I'm not exactly sure how large each of these properties is going to be, but 50 to 500 is a very wide range of people, which would require very different accommodations in an apocalyptic scenario. Read the rest
A Bothell, Seattle house -- so filled with garbage, water damaged, and hazardous that the real estate agent didn't allow anyone inside -- just sold in a bidding war for more than its $330,000 list price. Only one photo, of the exterior, was provided in the listing. There were 17 offers; the buyer and final price haven't yet been revealed. From the Seattle Times:
Despite the fierce pace of offers on the Bothell home, the sale pales in comparison to the all-out bidding war that ensued in 2016 after a derelict West Seattle home was listed for $200,000.
That home, with five feet of standing water and toxic air not safe to breathe, ultimately sold in 10 days for $427,000, more than double the asking price, after receiving a jaw-dropping 41 offers. It was razed and redeveloped, then sold for $1.19 million in 2017...
The offers (on the newly-sold Bothel property) were almost entirely from investors and home flippers, according to agents familiar with the sale.
Other homes in the same zip code sell for a median $620,700, up nearly 50% since 2015, according to Zillow.
“A whole lot of potential awaits,” the listing promised.
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This decommissioned underground missile complex near Tucson, Arizona can be yours for just $400,000. The property sits on (under) 12 acres of land. A true fixer-upper, this unique piece of real estate would make an excellent starter lair for a supervillain family. Titan II missile not included. Here is the listing on Zillow.
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Former Pittsburgh radio personality T.J. Lubinsky is selling his home, about a half-hour outside the city in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania.
I'll be honest, I've never heard of this guy. But apparently he has quite a resume. Which I guess is how he and his wife Wenday were able to build this absurdly palatial estate with 14 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a "waterfall poolside oasis" with a custom Lilliput playhouse for the kids, and—oh yeah, a two-story replica of the Heinz Chapel as well as a replica of the private study from the 1966 "Batman" show, complete with sliding bookcases, a red phone, and Batpoles.
It also contains replica rooms based on "the Queen’s residence next to the Ritz London" and "the Hotel Del Coronado in California." Did I mention that the whole design is based on Newport's Seaview Terrace/Carey Mansion, which was used as the exterior shots for Collinwood Manor in the classic vampire soap opera "Dark Shadows?"
While I personally couldn't afford the $3.5 million it would cost to buy this place, but all things considered, I think that's actually a pretty reasonable price for it.
724 Bristlecone Drive, Gibsonia, Pennsylvania 15044, via Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate
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If you have €7,000,000 you want to spend before capitalism collapses, you can scoop up Château du Bouilh, built for Louis XVI on the eve of the French Revolution, never occupied by royalty, and lovingly preserved to this day, with period interiors to match.
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This is the former Newark, Ohio headquarters of The Longaberger Company, a basket manufacturer that went under last year. This week, the developers who bought the property announced that it will become a luxury hotel. According to WCPO, "project officials say the exterior look of a basket will remain intact." Well duh.
The seven-story, 180,000-square-foot building was designed by The Longaberger Company, and executed by NBBJ and Korda Nemeth Engineering. The building opened in 1997. The basket handles weigh almost 150 tons and can be heated during cold weather to prevent ice damage. Originally, Dave Longaberger wanted all of the Longaberger buildings to be shaped like baskets, but only the headquarters was completed at the time of his death.
(Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!)
image: Derek Jensen (public domain)
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A developer plans to transform the massive Nazi-era St. Pauli anti-aircraft and air raid bunker in Hamburg, Germany into a "design and lifestyle hotel," as described by a spokesperson for the Spanish hotel chain NS Hotel Group designing the property. The structure is currently used as a concert venue and art/music studio space. According to the spokesperson, there are plans for the rebuilt facility, seen in the rendering above, to also hold a World War II memorial. The bunker hotel project comes on the heels of other Nazi-era structures that have been redeveloped. From the New York Times:
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In 2018, the former Gestapo headquarters in Hamburg, where Jews, gay people, Roma and other people targeted by the Nazis were tortured and murdered, a cluster of high-end apartments, luxury boutiques and offices opened for business. Protests ensued.
A never-completed holiday resort that Hitler had intended to be used for workers through his “Strength Through Joy” project has been converted to luxury apartments.
The challenge when integrating these sites into modern-day landscapes is “how to reconcile commemoration and consumption or consumerism,” said Thomas L. Doughton, a senior lecturer at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts who takes students on tours of Holocaust sites across Europe to explore the politics of memory.
Dr. Doughton said there were parallels to places in the United States, including plantations where African-Americans were once enslaved and the sites of atrocities against Native Americans, that have been commercialized at the expense of a blunt reckoning with historical oppression.
Jerry Falwell, Sr founded the Moral Majority, brought evangelicals into the voting booth, elected Ronald Reagan, and changed the face of American politics forever; his son, Jerry Jr now commands the Falwell empire, including Liberty University, which now has $3b in assets.
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This incredible offshore fortress and defense gun tower at Pembroke Dock, South West Wales, UK is for sale. Read the rest
Saddleback Cay, the private island seen in the Fyre Festival promotional videos, is for sale. Only accessible by boat, the 35-acre Bahamian island features seven beaches, a main house, and multiple cottages. It's yours for just $11.8 million, FEMA tents and cheese sandwiches not included.
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