Posted 4/22/2013 12:00 am
Updated 12 months ago
2012 was a terrible year for seven-figure home sales in Pulaski County.
During the year, 13 homes sold for $1 million or more, which was the lowest number since Arkansas Business started following the sales of million-dollar homes in the county in 2004.
And one of those 13 was Little Rock homebuilder Rick Ferguson’s mansion, which has raised questions about the transaction and whether it should even be counted as a sale.
In 2011, 22 homes sold for $1 million or more, the same number as in 2010. In 2009, only 14 homes sold for seven figures, but that was during the peak of the Great Recession.
The 2012 decline is blamed on stricter financing requirements, said Jon Underhill in an email to Arkansas Business. Underhill sells upscale homes through his agency, Jon Underhill Real Estate in Little Rock.
“Lenders simply aren’t willing or able to leverage a large home purchase in the same way they did in the past,” Underhill said in the email. “And buyers of more expensive homes are now being required to make a larger down payment than they previously would have.”
Dr. Joel Dworkin, who bought his $1.25 million home in 2012, can testify. “The market is so hostile for loans,” he said. “It took me three months to get the loan.”
But Casey Jones, who sells high-end homes for The Janet Jones Co. of Little Rock, disagreed about the difficulty of securing a loan. “For qualified buyers, I think the financing opportunities are … out there,” Jones said. “I don’t think the financing opportunities have really changed that much.”
Still, Underhill said, he is encouraged because 2013 has brought an uptick this year in the market for expensive homes.
“The rebound in the stock market and economy in general has also helped to buoy the confidence of buyers who have been holding back for the last several years,” Underhill said.
As of last week, 35 homes priced at more than $1 million were listed for sale in Pulaski County. That’s one fewer than were officially listed for sale at this time last year.
For those who have wondered who owns these exclusive homes in Pulaski County, Arkansas Business has provided a brief description of the homes and of the owners using interviews and public real estate records such as deeds, mortgages and tax records. The homes are available in the slideshow at the top of this article, and we've listed more information about each below:
1) 22 Valley Crest Court: Read more about that home and its valuation here.
2) 8 Vantage Point: JMO LLC, led by Jackson T. “J.T.” Stephens III, bought this 10,000-SF mansion in Little Rock’s Overlook Park neighborhood. Stephens is the grandson of the late financier and philanthropist Jackson T. “Jack” Stephens, one of the founders of Stephens Inc., which became one of the largest investment banks in the mid-South. He died in 2005.
J.T. Stephens III is listed as a director of Exoxemis Inc. of Little Rock, a biopharmaceutical research and development company that develops haloperoxidase products for prevention and treatment of serious infections.
3) 55 Hickory Hills Circle: Kanti and Nila Sharolia bought this mansion in west Little Rock’s Hickory Hills neighborhood. The home has six bedrooms and nine bathrooms.
Kanti Sharolia is the president of Ken & Nila Inc., which is the company that owns and operates Days Inn & Suites at Stuttgart, Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Lonoke, Motel 6 of Little Rock and Red Roof Inn of North Little Rock. Nila Sharolia is listed as the secretary of the company, which was incorporated in 1994, according to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s website.
4) 81 Sologne Circle: Claire and Dr. Christopher Pittman bought this 10,800-SF manor in the Sologne Circle neighborhood of west Little Rock’s Chenal Valley. The house has a four-car garage, two-story entry and a gourmet chef’s kitchen with two islands.
Dr. Pittman is a family practice doctor who practices at Baptist Health Family Clinic-West in Little Rock. He graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and received his license to practice medicine in 2008. Sologne Residence Revocable Trust, led by Eric and Toni McDuffie, forfeited the property to Capital Bank in November 2010.
5) 1720 Walnut Grove Road: Theseus Holdings LLC, led by Win Rockefeller Jr., bought this mansion in west Pulaski County. The 8,800-SF home sits on 16.1 acres. Rockefeller serves on the board of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He also is on the board of Women & Children First.
Rockefeller’s father was the late Arkansas Lt. Gov. Winthrop Paul Rockefeller. Forbes estimated the lieutenant governor’s net worth at $1.2 billion in 2005, the year before he died. Win Rockefeller Jr.’s great-great-grandfather was John D. Rockefeller Sr., founder of Standard Oil.
6) 4305 N. Lookout St.: “The house is in an excellent location,” said Dr. Joel Dworkin, who acquired the three-story home in Little Rock’s Hillcrest neighborhood. “The view is outstanding.”
From the home’s rooftop terrace, Dworkin can overlook Allsopp Park.
“It’s all wow,” he said. The home also features an elevator, making all areas of the house accessible for wheelchairs, Dworkin said. Dworkin practices internal medicine and nephrology at Select Specialty Hospital in Little Rock and Baptist Health. He graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1996.
7) 27 Overlook Circle: Brent Bumpers acquired this two-story home in Little Rock’s Overlook Park neighborhood. Bumpers is the son of former U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers. Brent Bumpers also was a founder of Brent & Sam’s Cookies Inc. of North Little Rock. In 2008, Lance Inc. of Charlotte, N.C., acquired the privately held Brent & Sam’s for $26.3 million, then shut the bakery and moved its equipment to Charlotte in 2009.
8) 1 Hickory Hills Circle: John Motes and Julie Silver bought this 5,990-SF home in west Little Rock’s Hickory Hills neighborhood. The two-story home features a curved staircase and a pool. John Motes is a co-owner of George Motes Autogroup #1 LLC of Pine Bluff, which sells used cars.
9) 5229 Edgewood Road: Heather and John Conner III bought this two-story home in the Prospect Terrace neighborhood. John Conner said he bought the house because of its location.
“It’s close to downtown, where I work,” he said. Conner joined Stephens Inc. of Little Rock as a financial adviser in the early 2000s and quickly rose to senior vice president of the firm’s private client group. He was a member of Arkansas Business’ 40 Under 40 class of 2007. “Work is really very rewarding when you’re helping folks with their finances,” he said in 2007. “It’s nice to be able to help people realize some of their dreams.”
10) 5320 Edgewood Road: Shane and Heather Morden purchased this home in Little Rock’s Prospect Terrace neighborhood. The home was one of five featured by Wildwood Park for the Arts in its annual holiday tour of homes last year.
Shane Morden is a senior vice president and sales representative for Stephens Inc. of Little Rock, a full-service securities brokerage and the largest broker-dealer in Arkansas as measured by licensed agents in the state.
11) 5101 Country Club Blvd.: Dorothy and Dr. John Day bought this home near the Country Club of Little Rock. Day is an internationally known leader in skull base surgery and a specialist in Gamma Knife surgery and vascular disorders of the brain and skull base, according to a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences website.
Day has written four textbooks on skull base surgery and has published more than 80 articles on neurosurgical topics, the website said. He has taught skull base surgery techniques and lectured in the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia. His salary from UAMS for the current year is $658,000.
12) 5010 Stonewall Road: Pamela and Dr. Michael Ashcraft bought this four-bedroom, three-bath home near the Country Club of Little Rock. Born in Rison, Dr. Michael Ashcraft graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in science in 1984. He received his Master of Science in orthodontics from the University of Tennessee in 1988 and was certified by the Arkansas Board of Dental Examiners.
He completed his orthodontic residency at the University of Tennessee at Memphis in 1990 and has been in practice since then. He is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists.
13) 21 Carmel Drive: Doug Taylor and Thomas “Ed” Sexton Jr. were attracted to this four-bedroom, six-bath manor in west Little Rock’s Carmel neighborhood because “it has so much land,” Taylor said. The home sits on nearly 9 acres. “We’re on our own private mountaintop,” he said.
He said they looked at only four homes before they found what they were looking for. “It’s a very low-key property,” Taylor said. “I can’t believe how lucky we are to be here.”
Taylor and Sexton own Swank Lighting, which specializes in handblown vintage Murano lamps. Swank has a showroom in Dallas.