Len Roberts’ mansion sold at auction for $5,280,000

Sold: Len Roberts’ Tanglewood mansion. (Photo courtesy Williams Trew Real Estate)

The magnificent Tanglewood mansion built by former RadioShack CEO Len Roberts for his family and to entertain Fort Worth’s business and community leaders in lavish style has sold at auction for $5,280,000.

The home was sold by Interluxe, a North Carolina-based online auction house specializing in sales of upscale homes. The starting bid was $2.5 million.

Scott Kirk, president of Interluxe, said the home drew widespread attention and attracted six registered bidders. The buyer is not a resident of Fort Worth, Kirk said.

Roberts, now retired, and his wife, Laurie are downsizing to a home in Mira Vista.

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The estate home at 4400 Overton Crest St. has about 12,000-square feet of living space and another 4,000-square-feet of unfinished storage space. Construction of the five-bedroom, 10-bathroom home took nearly five years before being completed in 2004.

Before deciding to sell by auction, the couple had listed the house listed on the market for $8.9 million with Williams Trew, a division of Ebby Halliday Real Estate Inc. The real estate firm partnered with the auction house to market the home.

The house stayed on the market for about three years while the couple searched for their next home, Roberts said. After finding the house in Mira Vista, the couple was eager to sell the mansion, which cost $12 million to build, he said.

“I am on the record (saying) that someone is going to make millions but it won’t be us,” Roberts stated in a text. “We are ready to move on to be part of the wonderful Mira Vista community.

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“At 74, we needed to simplify our lives,” he stated. “We are blessed with the resources to afford the auction process.”

But the most rewarding part, Roberts stated, is that “the new owners love this house, love its style and will cherish this estate.”

“We have evolved into a very special friendship,” he stated. “In the end, that’s what matters most to us.”

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.

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The house also has a 12-seat movie theater designed to resemble Chicago’s opulent Art Deco-style Marbro Theatre, a favorite spot for Chicago natives Roberts and his wife to catch a movie.

With an insurance replacement value of $21 million, the house has two garages that can accommodate five cars.

The estate is surrounded by 10-foot wrought iron fencing that required city council approval because of its height. Beautiful 12-foot wrought iron gates and 11-foot customized iron doors 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.

Extensive landscaping and terraced limestone stairs connecting 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 and process of installing hand-cut limestone.

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.

Len and Laurie Roberts hosted many legendary galas and parties at the home. “I wanted to be able to host dinners for 250 people,” Roberts said. “It was built for entertaining and to give back to the community.”

Prior to joining RadioShack, Roberts was CEO of Shoney’s and president and CEO of Arby’s.

He also has sat on the boards of other companies, including JCPenny, Rent-A-Center, TXU and Texas Health Resources.

Active in community service, Roberts 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.