Auction for Roberts’ Fort Worth mansion begins Monday

House for sale (Photo courtesy Williams Trew Real Estate)

The breathtaking mansion that former RadioShack CEO Len Roberts and his wife Laurie built as an elegant home and to entertain guests in lavish style will be auctioned beginning on Monday (April 24).

But first, prospective buyers will have the chance to preview the sprawling home at 4400 Overton Crest St. The home will be open for viewing by those intending to bid from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Officials with Interluxe, a North Carolina-based online auction house specializing in sales of luxury homes, are partnering with Realtors from WilliamsTrew, a division of Ebby Halliday Real Estate Inc., to showcase the many amenities of the Tanglewood home that was completed in 2004 after five years of construction and an investment of $12 million.

Scott Kirk, president of Interluxe, said the  preview is intended for potential buyers only and curiosity-seekers will be turned away.

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“We don’t want this to become a sideshow for the public,” Kirk said. “Our objective is to sell the house. Anyone who wants to see the house needs to contact us in advance at 888-415-5893.”

Prospective buyers will be required to create an account with Interluxe, authorize $75,000 on a credit card and agree to terms and conditions of the sale. Only the card of the winning bidder will be charged, Kirk said.

Online bidding through the auction house website begins at 9 a.m. Central time on Monday and closes at 5 p.m. Central time on Tuesday.

Bidding opens at $2.5 million.

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The winner will have 45 days to close and will pay a 10 % buyer’s premium in addition to the amount paid for the home.

As has been typical with Interluxe auctions, only a limited numbers of bidders are expected to participate.

“Our buyers are usually people who have the resources on hand for the purchase,” Kirk said.

The amount paid for the home won’t be disclosed before the sale closes, Kirk said.

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Roberts said he and his wife built the house with the intention of throwing large parties and hosting charity events that could accommodate 250 people for dinner.

Now age 74 and retired, Roberts and his wife no longer entertain on a grand scale and are downsizing to a home in Mira Vista. Roberts plans to play a lot of golf.

The estate home was on the market and listed with WilliamsTrew for several years at an asking price of $8.9 million. The couple was in no rush until they found their new dream home in Mira Vista.

“Whoever buys it is going to get a great place to live and they are going to get it for a bargain,” Roberts said.

The sprawling home has about 12,000-square of living space and another 4,000-square-foot of unfinished storage space.

The property has two garages that can accommodate five cars.

Among the most remarkable features of the traditional French-style home is the 1.82-acre lot that offers hilltop views of TCU’s Amon G. Carter Stadium and downtown Fort Worth.

The house also has a 12-seat movie theater designed to resemble Chicago’s opulent Marbro Theatre, a favorite spot for Chicago natives Len and Laurie to catch a movie.

The house, with an insurance replacement value of $21 million, has five bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. The house also has 12-foot wrought iron gates and 11-foot customized iron doors that lead into an exquisitely designed home adorned with crystal chandeliers, a grand spiral staircase, and Versailles patterned floors. The attention to detail extends to the electronic operating systems, which include the audio systems that were essential when entertaining crowds, Roberts said.

The entire estate is surrounded by 10-foot wrought iron fencing that required Fort Worth City Council approval because of its height. Extensive landscaping and terraced limestone stairs leading to the pool and pool house adorn the expansive backyard.

Roberts said he left it to his wife to make most of the design and construction decisions along with architect Don Wheaton, builder Rick Williams and designers for Sandra Sampson Interiors. But Roberts said he insisted that the house be built of limestone despite the high cost and onerous process of installing hand-cut limestone.

Growing up in a family of “modest means,” Roberts said, out-of-town-travel wasn’t in the budget. Instead, his family would visit Chicago’s magnificent museums built with limestone, including the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago.

“That was my only request,” he said.

Roberts and his family moved to Fort Worth in 1993, when he was hired as president of RadioShack. In 1999, he was promoted to CEO.

Prior to joining RadioShack, Roberts was CEO of Shoney’s and president and CEO of Arby’s. He also has sat on the board of other companies, including JCPenny, Rent-A-Center, TXU and Texas Health Resources.

Active in community service, he is a former national chairman of United Way and has served on the boards of organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and Students in Free Enterprise.

Roberts knows he won’t see a return-on-investment from the home and “somebody is going to make millions on it but it won’t be us.”

But he is okay with that.

“We finally found a home that we love and we’re ready to auction it off and move on,” he said.