All week long the Curbed sites have been celebrating the mega buyers and sellers in each real estate market. But more often than not in the real estate world those that play big also fall hard. Be it bad timing, expensive shark tanks, the IRS, or a house fire there's any number of reasons why a real estate deal can be a financial wallop in someone's life. After the jump we've listed some of the more notable whale flops that have happened around here in recent years. Gilbert Arenas, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Marc Teren, Rodney P. Hunt, Paul Pomponio, and Mohamed Hadid and their foibles are detailed after the jump.
1. Mohamed Hadid is now a major whale in the Los Angeles area (as our cousins at Curbed LA have documented) but part of his life trajectory included a stint making waves in Northern Virginia. A tipster tells us that one ill-fated home of his was off of Georgetown Pike in McLean that suffered severe damage in a fire. It was valued at around $6M and he was fully expecting the insurance company to cover the damages. Which they would have done had he kept up with paying the premiums. Alas, there was some sort of gap in coverage and he Hadid had to suffer the blows of that before making it big in LA.
2. The lovable gun-toting former Wizard, Gilbert Arenas, still has this pesky Great Falls mansion he can't get rid of. His whale days allowed him to have a lavish pool with grotto installed outdoors and a shark tank installed indoors, but those features aren't attracting any buyers. He listed it last summer for $3,500,000 in the hopes of making a profit since he bought it for $2,875,000 in 2003. Now it has slid off the market, but expect it to pop back up in the spring.
3. Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a whale flop that bought from another whale flop. DSK and his then-wife (are they divorced yet? We don't know) bought a home from developer Marc Teren on Georgetown's Dumbarton St. At the time Teren was riding high since he sold the remodeled home for $4M, almost twice what he paid for it a few years earlier. Once DSK had no reason to live in the US anymore he and his wife tried to sell the house for $5.2M and price chopped it repeatedly until it was below the price they paid. But still no sale so they have taken it off the market.
4. Marc Teren had a similar reversal of fortune with another Georgetown house called either The Friendly Estate or The Williams-Addison House depending how far back into its history you reach. After buying it for $6,500,000 in 2006, then pissing off the neighbors and disregarding a few of the bylaws of Georgetown, he tried to unload the unfinished house. But it wasn't until 2011 that he sold it for $5M. It has changed hands once more since then and is nearly-complete after Capital City Real Estate took on the project. The asking price is one of the highest at $18.5M
5. Rodney P. Hunt built a mega-manse on Chain Bridge Road in McLean that has been valued at $23M (plus featured on MTV Teen Cribs). But Hunt couldn't keep up with the payments and it came close to going to foreclosure auction once but at the last minute he managed to come up with a payment plan. That was only a temporary reprieve, however, and the house has once again been scheduled for auction. This time the date is set for February 21st, 2013.
A tipster wrote in to tell us of another:
6. The recently deceased Paul Pomponio made a huge impact in the development of Rosslyn and a few other neighborhoods in the suburbs but it wasn't the cruel fates of the real estate market that turned him into a flop. Rather it was the heavy hand of the IRS. It took years for them to uncover the tax evasion he was eventually sent to prison for, but once they did Pomponio's life never recovered. The boats, properties, and other high-end perks were all heavily liened by the IRS and he could never reclaim the top spot in the local real estate hierarcy. His obituary doesn't mention any of this, but the lengthy court summary gives an idea of what he was accused of.