by Mark Friedman on Monday, Jun. 23, 2008 12:00 am
Sam and Sara Larimore discovered their $1.4 million "wow house" in west Little Rock's Chenal Circle neighborhood.
Sara Larimore had been searching 10 years before she found her dream home.
"We call it our wow house," Larimore said. "It has a great room with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooks the lake at Chenal Country Club at the 18th fairway."
The backyard of the $1.4 million home in west Little Rock's Chenal Circle neighborhood features a swimming pool with a waterfall. Inside, the 5,684-SF home has a stone fireplace and spiral staircase.
Sara Larimore also said she and her husband, Sam, moved to Little Rock to be closer to their daughter.
Sam Larimore owned Larimore Crop Supply Inc. in Blytheville and retired in 1994.
The Larimores' house was one of 23 in Pulaski County that sold for $1 million or more in 2007. The number of $1 million-plus homes sold in Pulaski County has declined every year since 2004, when 29 were sold.
The most expensive home sold in the county last year went for $2.4 million, to Beck Investments LLC, led by Barry Beck, Jason Beck and Monica B. Glover. The 5,200-SF home is on a nearly 80-acre spread in west Little Rock.
The largest of the seven-figure homes came in at 9,089 SF. Donald and Melba Marshall bought that home in west Little Rock's Valley Falls Estates neighborhood from Steve and Missy Wortman in December.
A Peek Inside
For those who have wondered who these top-dollar homeowners are, Arkansas Business has attempted to provide a brief description of each of the homes listed and of the owners, using interviews and public records.
Here's what we found:
Barry Beck said he was attracted by the quality of the four-bedroom, four-and-half bathroom home on Col. Glenn Road that he bought in March 2007.
"The layout is good and, obviously, you're going to have a lot more space," Beck said. "The larger bedrooms, to me, were a nice touch, and the bigger bathrooms."
Beck, who oversees the flight school operations at Central Flying Service, said he's building two other homes for family members on the 80-acre property. One will be 5,000 SF and the other 6,500 SF.
Beck bought the land with his son, Jason Beck, who is a doctor, and his daughter, Monica Glover, who is an attorney.
"We purchased the land to have a lot of space, and that was another appealing factor of that piece of property," Barry Beck said. "There are people that are buying more land out there and putting nice homes on it."
In February 2007, Ken Gunderman was appointed executive vice president in charge of the investment banking division of Stephens Inc., the full-service investment banking and brokerage firm based in Little Rock. Three months later, he and his wife, Stephanie, bought their 4,006-SF, $1.05 million home near the Country Club of Little Rock from Russell McDonough III.
Just before McDonough sold his home to the Gundermans, he bought a new house for $1.3 million.
McDonough purchased the 3,948-SF home - also in the Country Club of Little Rock neighborhood - from OBB Trust, led by Randall and Anne Bynum.
McDonough is the former president and CEO of real estate developer Winrock Enterprises. McDonough also owned the At Home magazines until he sold them for an undisclosed amount in 2005 to Network Communications Inc. of Lawrenceville, Ga. McDonough also was instrumental in bringing the magazine Oxford American from Mississippi to Little Rock in 2002.
Amy and Dr. Brad Baltz purchased their 5,467-SF home in west Little Rock's Chenal Valley neighborhood because he liked the lot and the backyard.
The $1.2 million, four-bedroom home has afternoon shade and a pool.
"Our previous house faced the afternoon sun," Dr. Baltz said. "That was kind of the main thing for the kids, to make sure they had an area that they could play in."
Baltz graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and practices hematology and oncology.
In January 2007, Dr. Richard Evans and his wife, Sandra, spent $1.3 million on their 4,400-SF home near the Country Club of Little Rock. They bought their home from William and Patricia Coker.
Dr. Evans practices orthopedic surgery in Little Rock and is an associate professor of orthopedics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He is a hip and knee replacement specialist. Evans graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver in 1982. He was named Orthopedic Surgeon of the Year in 2001 by Consumer Business Review in Denver.
Rick D. Henderson bought his $1.44 million home from J. Michael and Gina Calhoun in November 2007. The 6,268-SF spread is in west Little Rock's Chenal Downs neighborhood.
In 1978, Henderson founded Apple Tree Service of North Little Rock. Apple Tree provides utility line clearance services to electric cooperatives and city- and investor-owned utilities in Arkansas and the surrounding states. Henderson is the president and owner of the company.
On March 15, 2007, Sugarloaf Estates LLC, led by the Ron W. Strother Revocable Trust, swapped his North Little Rock home for a 5,669-SF home in west Little Rock's Valley Fall Estates neighborhood. The seller was 2610 Acres LLC, led by Rick Ferguson.
Strother is president, chief operating officer and director of Home BancShares Inc. of Conway. In 2007, his total compensation from Home BancShares was just over $400,000. In 2006, the compensation was $378,456.
Ferguson, through his Sunset Bay I LLC, swapped another seven-figure home in March 2007 to R. Huckaby Development LLC, led by Russell Huckaby. This 7,543-SF house in west Little Rock's Chenal Valley neighborhood tipped the scales at $1.85 million.
In return, Ferguson received - and still owns - a 5,669-SF house in Valley Falls Estates, a property that was part of an earlier transaction valued at $2 million between him and Huckaby.
Russell Huckaby is founder and president of R. Huckaby Developments.
Wendy and Stephen LaFrance Jr. are on the $1 million home sales list again.
In 2005, they spent $1.3 million to buy a 4,200-SF home at 40 Edgehill Road, where they still live. In July 2007, they bought a 5,520-SF house a few doors down at 11 Edgehill Road, from Jerry and Sue Maulden for $1.94 million.
LaFrance is the son of Stephen LaFrance Sr., chairman of Stephen LaFrance Pharmacy Inc. of Pine Bluff, which includes the retail chains USA Drug, Super D Drugs, Ike's Deep Discount Drug and May Drug Stores. USA Drug had sales estimated at $560 million in 2007, which put it at No. 16 on Arkansas Business' recent list of the state's largest private companies.
Stephen LaFrance Jr. is the executive vice president of USA Drug and started working full time for his father's company in 1993 after graduating from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a degree in finance.
After selling their house to the LaFrances, the Mauldens downsized to a 4,400-SF home in Little Rock's St. John's Place neighborhood.
The Mauldens paid $1.07 million to the Alan H. Miller Revocable Trust.
Jerry Maulden is a retired executive of Entergy Arkansas Inc., which gave the University of Arkansas at Little Rock $1 million in 2000 to endow a chair in his honor.
Maulden had worked at the company for 35 years.
In March 2007, Michael and Suzanne Brown spent $1.97 million to move into the prestigious Edgehill neighborhood. They bought the 5,500-SF home from Wayne Moore Construction Co. of Little Rock.
Brown had lived in New Orleans before coming to Little Rock in 2006. He is the senior executive vice president and regional market president for IberiaBank Corp. of Lafayette, La. In 2006, Brown received $241,000 in salary from IberiaBank and a $96,000 bonus. In 2007, his salary and bonus totaled $558,000.
In October, Mark and Shannon Hopkins purchased a $1.15 million home in west Little Rock's Pleasant Valley neighborhood because it is close to Christ the King Catholic School, which their children attend.
Mark Hopkins also said he liked the outdoor features of the house, which include an outdoor kitchen, pool and hot tub.
"It backed up to the golf course on the 15th fairway at Pleasant Valley," he said.
The two-story home also has four bedrooms.
Mark Hopkins is the owner of J&M Distributors of Cabot, which distributes novelty items (including the Super Fly Monkey toy), cigarette lighters and ephedrine products to convenience stores across the country.
"Along with customer service that is second to none, all products are carefully selected to insure that their customers enjoy large profit margins," the company's Web site said.
One of the million-dollar homes sold in 2007 has been razed.
Crestwood Investments LLC, led by Robert Hardin, spent $1.17 million on a 3,737-SF home in Little Rock's Cliffewood neighborhood in March of last year. Crestwood bought the home from Mariann Harrington and Joe Prause.
Hardin is a North Little Rock attorney.
"As an attorney, I represent a lot of people, so don't assume [that I bought the house]," he said. Hardin wouldn't comment further.
But where the home once stood are now three lots, which are for sale.
In June 2007, Brad Canada bought a $1.2 million condominium in The Residences at Building 5 in downtown Little Rock.
Canada is vice president of the Bank of England and a partner in the condominium project with his father, Gary Canada, who is president of the Bank of England.
Brad Canada had said one of the condo's selling points is that it overlooks the Arkansas River and Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock.
"For me, my location is great with the river view - I'm right on the river," Canada told Arkansas Business in 2005. "They're not going to build in front of it."
In November, Carla and Dr. Stephen Boatright bought the Susan G. Komen Build for the Cure Idea House for $1.6 million.
The 5,891-SF home in west Little Rock's Bella Rosa Estates neighborhood is two floors and features a Spanish colonial style, Carla Boatright said.
"Upstairs in the main area, there's a guest room, a guest bath and then, for our daughter, there's a dressing room, bedroom, sitting room, bath, all connected," she said.
The home has four bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms.
Stephen Boatright is an endodontist, and Carla Boatright manages his office at 11700 Cantrell Road.
Max and Patricia Bobbitt bought a 7,000-SF home in west Little Rock's Hickory Pointe neighborhood in June.
The Bobbitts spent $1.8 million on the home.
Max Bobbitt is a former president and chief operating officer of Alltel Corp. When Bobbitt retired in 1995, he had an arrangement with Alltel that gave him $500,000 a year for the rest of his life. Bobbitt also is leading a shareholder lawsuit against Equity Media Holdings Corp. that was filed in 2006. A hearing on whether the case will be granted class-action status is scheduled for August.
Samuel and Amanda Carter bought their 5,645-SF home in west Little Rock's Chenal Valley neighborhood for $1.02 million.
They purchased the home from Amy and Scott Schuh in April 2007.
Sam Carter is regional manager for BBA Corp. of Little Rock, which sells textbooks to students.
The AEPM Trust, led by Kevin Lewis, bought a 6,724-SF home in west Little Rock's Chenal Valley neighborhood for $1.2 million.
Lewis is an attorney who practices in Searcy.
Lewis bought the home from George and Terry Rothwell.
In July, a 4,700-SF home in Little Rock's Palisades Estates neighborhood sold for $1.47 million.
Brentwood Trust, led by Laura and Mark Doramus and Tom Laker, bought the home from Richard and Margaret Dearnley.
Mark Doramus is the chief financial officer for Stephens Inc. of Little Rock. He also is on the board of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.
In April 2007, 32CC LLC, led by Jan and Ted Snider Jr., bought a 5,270-SF home in west Little Rock's Chenal Valley neighborhood for $1 million.
They purchased the home from Douglas and Dianne Smart.
Snider is part of the Snider family that owned several radio stations in Arkansas, which were sold to Citadel Communications Corp. in 1997.
A teardown redevelopment near the Country Club of Little Rock sold for $1.15 million in May 2007.
Elorac Properties LLC, led by Chuck and Carole Meyer, bought the 4,750-SF home from WRS Holdings LLC, led by Willis Smith.
Chuck Meyer had owned Meyer's Bakeries Inc. of Hope until 1999, when it was sold to a New York investment firm for an undisclosed sum. In 1999, the company had $12.8 million in operating income on sales of about $90 million.
The last seven-figure home sale of 2007 occurred on Dec. 27. Donald and Melba Marshall spent $2 million on a 9,089-SF home in west Little Rock's Valley Falls Estates neighborhood.
They bought the home from Steve and Missy Wortman.
Donald Marshall is the registered agent for Marshall Management Inc. of Little Rock, which was formed in 2002. Melba Marshall is listed as the organizer and incorporator.
The Marshalls manage property. In 2004, the Marshalls acquired 122 units of what was known as the Lew & Crenshaw project. They rechristened it Meadowcrest Apartments and invested more than $600,000 to renovate the property.
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