Trani's Manse For Sale? 

Trani and his wife have been building a home in Powhatan where they plan to retire. In May 2005, after much coaxing from VCU officials, Trani agreed to stay on as president until 2010, an additional three years. He didn't consent to keep living so large.

Located at 4700 Charmian Road in the toney Wilton neighborhood off Cary Street Road, the traditional brick mansion boasts nearly 8,000 square feet of living area and lush, ample gardens. It's assessed at $2.2 million.

The property is owned by the VCU Real Estate Foundation, which is a separate entity from the university, VCU spokeswoman Pam Lepley says.

"No determination has been made for its long-term use," Lepley says of the residence, which has also been used for wining and dining special guests of VCU. Some people wonder why any VCU affiliation would continue, because the renovation of the VCU Scott House at 909 W. Grace St., which will serve as the new VIP space for guests, has been completed.

The Grace Street mansion, as opposed to the one on Charmian Road, is located in the heart of VCU's academic campus. Built in 1907, it's a perfect example of American Renaissance architecture, according to VCU's Web site. It's patterned after the Petit Trianon at Versailles and reflects the "grandeur and prosperity of Richmond's early-20th century, when it was one of the principal insurance and banking centers of the South."

Stanton Thalhimer, a local real estate agent, says he hasn't heard of an imminent listing for the Charmian property, but figures it's only a matter of time. For more than a year, Thalhimer has been trying to sell the house that backs up to Trani's. It's a stone mansion with gardens designed by Charles Gillette that was home to Richmond philanthropist and socialite Mary Tyler Freeman Cheek McClenahan before she died in 2004. If you're in the market for a multimillion-dollar mansion, it may be a bargain. In the last year its asking price has dipped from $5 million to $3.9 million. S

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