$15 Million Mansion Has 8-Car Garage, Accessed by Underground Carwash Tunnel

$15 Million Mansion Has 8-Car Garage, Accessed by Underground Carwash Tunnel

(c)RMLSMN via Realtor.com
  • What was originally supposed to be a luxury estate for a high-flying developer in Minneapolis turned into an eyesore when he divorced and later went to jail for tax fraud.
  • A local restaurateur decided to complete the project, complete with an eight-car garage that you drive to through a tunnel with a built-in carwash (sadly, not pictured).
  • An outdoor pool, a private movie theater, and a sauna, plus five bedrooms and nine full baths, mean you really get your money's worth here.

    Fifteen million dollars can buy you a lot of house almost anywhere, but only in Minnesota does it get you a home on a private island with an eight-car garage and a hidden access tunnel that features a carwash.

    Located on Lake Minnetonka, the gaudy home started as a 2003 idea by then-developer Jeffrey Wirth. Wirth called it the "Isle of Windemere" after the boyhood summer home of Ernest Hemingway, but it was a case of to have and have not for the developer, who stopped construction in 2006, in part because he was going through divorce proceedings. The New York Post said the property "sat half-finished and overtaken by weeds while the price dropped to $4 million" once Wirth got into trouble with the law, and those problems escalated in 2010. In 2012, Wirth was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for tax evasion. Prosecutors said Wirth and his wife paid just $7567 in federal income taxes between 2003 and 2005, despite income of almost $28 million.

    With Wirth out of the picture, the unfinished Windemere castle was purchased in 2013 for $1,875,000 by local restaurateur Kam Talebi. The Post says he then spent around $5 million to complete the project and make it look mostly the way Wirth originally planned. The builder with whom Wirth originally worked, David Erotas, came on board to help Talebi finish construction. Erotas told Artful Living Magazine in 2013 that Talebi planned to "scale down the interiors—which were admittedly pretty over-the-top, but many of the unusual features he's going to keep."

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    Talebi has now decided to sell the mansion, so if you like the idea of approaching your garage through an underground tunnel with the aforementioned carwash, then you might also love the glass elevator and chandeliers, the marble countertops, and plenty of panoramic windows where you can confirm that the sun also rises over the surrounding lake. There's an outdoor pool, a small movie theater and bar, and a weight room and sauna, along with five bedrooms and nine full bathrooms. All this for the $15 million plus annual property taxes of just over $71,000.

    It's not that guests are forced to go across the river and into the trees to come visit, but they also don't have to use the carwash tunnel. There's a bridge to a terraced motor court, the Post says, where you can get into the garage from the side. Erotas told the local city council in 2014 that forcing visitors to enter the garage gives the owner the "opportunity to screen the entrance from adjoining properties . . . another consideration was security." Because you never know who might be stopping by to try and snag a free carwash.

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