But seven-figure price tags aside, it's the prestige of some properties that appears to be a draw.
Most notably, the Westmoreland Place home of the late Mary Tyler Freeman Cheek McClenahan, daughter of historian Douglas Southall Freeman and a venerable philanthropist and civic activist, can be yours for $5 million.
The stone mansion, which boasts 10,000 square feet, seven bedrooms and an incomparable loggia, was designed by architect W. Duncan Lee in 1924. The grounds cover more than two acres and include a garden sculpted by famous horticulturist Charles Gillette, as well as fountains, a swimming pool and bathhouse, a tennis court and a greenhouse.
It's the first time the estate has been offered to the public. The city assesses its value at $2,687,900.
"We haven't sold it yet, but there's been a ton of interest," says Stanton L. Thalhimer with ReMax Commonwealth, which lists the property. Using one estimate, the seriously interested could expect a mortgage payment of $35,611 a month.
If $5 million is slightly steep, other residences nearby might intrigue you. Seven-million-dollar-plus homes are for sale in the tony, south-of-Cary hamlets of Windsor Farms, Wilton and Hampton Gardens. You won't see signs in yards, but you can inquire.
For $3 million you can purchase the residence of outgoing Dominion Chief Executive Thomas E. Capps. The 8,000-square-foot, French-inspired manor house is nestled near the James River and faces the plush and rolling acres of Richmond's historic Agecroft Hall.
Wind your way west a bit out River Road and there are a half-dozen luxury homes for sale in Henrico and Goochland counties. Topping the list price-wise is the $4.95 million estate of J. Mathews Pope on Ridge Road. Annual real-estate taxes on the six-acre mansion are $18,251. Go over the river and through the woods to find Chesterfield's costliest jewel, a seven-bedroom manse in Chesdin Landing. Built in 2003, it rivals the McClenahan and Pope palaces at $4.85 million.
If you have your heart set on something more modest say the stately home of the late Sally Todd, another one of the city's grand dames and key philanthropists you're out of luck. Her estate on Three Chopt Road recently sold after spending three weeks on the market, Thalhimer says. It went for $1.6 million. Brandon Walters
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