Former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe created a family compound in Bend that reflected his successful career.
He poured about $20 million into building a four-level, Northwest-style mansion with almost 15,000 square feet of living space plus the status perks: A stone wine cellar, theater and indoor basketball court.
Outside are even more ways to move: A turf sport court, putting green, pool and two hot tubs.
Architect Janet Jarvis sited the home on a 10-acre parcel in the gated Highlands at Broken Top community to take advantage of Cascade mountain views. Bledsoe bought the vacant land in 2004 for $750,000.
The dwelling was completed in 2008 as the housing bust was intensifying.
His estate had it all, yet it took him seven years to find a new owner and it finally sold at $5.6 million, a 43% discount from the original asking price of $9.95 million.
Here’s the story:
Bledsoe, once a star player at Washington State University and a retired NFL quarterback who played for the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys during his 14-year career in professional football, made Bend his home after retiring in 2007.
A year after he retired, he and his family moved into the house with vaulted ceilings, seven bedrooms, 10 full bathrooms and four partial bathrooms in 2008.
The family planted Cabernet Sauvignon and other wine grapes in the Walla Walla Valley, Bledsoe’s hometown, and opened the Doubleback winery and then the Bledsoe Family Winery. They operate tasting rooms in Walla Walla and Bend.
Since his arrival in central Oregon, Bledsoe also became a part of the Bend football community when he joined the Summit Storm high school football program as offensive coordinator for the 2013 season.
Bledsoe has coached two of his sons at Summit, Stuart and John, and John later became a walk-on player at his father’s alma mater, Washington State, in 2017.
The former NFL player first listed the property in 2014, then for $9.95 million in April 2015, according to public records.
He dropped the price $1,450,000 three months later to $8.5 million. One year later, in July 2016, he was asking $6.5 million.
In May 2017, he increased the price to $6,950,000.
In October 2019, the price dropped to $6,475,000 and on June 8, 2020, the transaction closed at $5.6 million.
What finally motivated someone to make an offer that was accepted? A $20 million investment for $5.6 million.
And there are other reasons:
The coronavirus pandemic instantly shifted many homebuyers’ desires. Suddenly, there was less interest in walking to downtown eateries and more willingness to live remotely and with extended family.
The trend for a rural lifestyle property started before the COVID-19 outbreak, but it has since escalated, says broker Chris Martin of Land and Wildlife, which specializes in high-end houses on vast acreage.
He and experts think the ideas of self-sufficiency and a lifestyle that rejuvenates are drivers in Oregon’s top-tier residential real estate market.
More homebuyers are also looking to bring multi generations of their family under one roof. This property includes a loft with a guest suite and sitting room. There are also two garages to hold a total of seven cars.
The inclination to accommodate extended family grows stronger during economic downturns, and became even more appealing to people who have been sheltering in place with elderly parents and adult children who returned from college or lost their jobs.
From the seller’s point of view, a report released May 12 by the real estate database Zillow found that new listings of expensive homes across the country were more impacted by the economic crash caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The number of high-end new listings dropped farther and faster than more affordable homes for sale.
Annual taxes for Bledsoe’s former property at 61961 Ballantrae Court in Bend are $43,465. Homeowners association fees are $450 a month.
The listing agents were Justin Lavik and Betsey Little of Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty.
— Janet Eastman with Tim Brown
Want to search Oregon real estate listings and use local resources? Click here.