weather icon Mostly Clear

Luxurious Primm Ranch sold at auction for millions

A sprawling Las Vegas estate once desired by pop star Michael Jackson prior to his death has been sold.

In a concierge auction that included some unnamed billionaires and bidders from Las Vegas, out of state and even abroad, the 10-acre Primm Ranch will have only its second owner since it was built by in 1991 by casino developer Gary Primm.

The new owner hasn’t been named and terms of the deal won’t be announced until the deal closes in November, but it’s been described as the third largest residential real estate transaction in 2015. The two largest were the sale of two homes in The Ridges for $11 and $8 million, respectively, said Kristen Routh-Silberman of Synergy Sotheby’s International Realty, the real estate agent who transacted the deal.

Here’s what the buyer is getting:

A gated compound with palm trees and fountains built in a Mediterranean style with 21,000 square feet of living space, there’s 10 bedrooms, 19 baths and a 20-car garage at the estate at on 7000 Tomiyasu Lane.

That’s just the beginning. The main residence with 15,000 square feet has a 5,000-bottle wine cellar and tasting room. There’s a theater room, casino game room with bar, trophy room with automated recorded sounds of animals.

The living room is two stories and has a 25-foot high travertine fireplace in a home with five stone fireplaces.

The home has gym with steam sauna and a beauty salon and is accessible by elevator.

Outside the main residence, there’s an equestrian center, a golf driving range, indoor and outdoor dog villa, a greenhouse and an underground shooting range that can double as a recording studio or bowling alley.

The car showroom has a car wash and gas station.

Guests have a 3,000 square-foot villa next to the swimming pool, and there’s a 1,500 square-foot quarters for staff.

The swimming pool rivals some casino resorts in size and amenities with waterfalls, a waterslide, spa and bar built into the pool. One of the guest suites is built into caves behind the waterfall.

There’s even secret doors and passages.

“I don’t think there’s a house this super special in Las Vegas,” Silberman said. “It’s a total blast. There’s about 100 things. It’s endless what it has. It’s one of a kind and one in a generation.”

Jackson looked at the home with his children and even reportedly had a named picked out for it — Wonderland. That’s a play on his Santa Barbara, Calif., estate Neverland.

“It was a house that Michael Jackson wanted to make his Las Vegas residence and probably if he hadn’t died, he would probably been living there,” Silberman said. “It was never to be. It’s sad.”

These days, crews are busy packing up and moving belongings out of Primm Ranch. Primm, who also has a home in Newport Beach, Calif., will continue to make Las Vegas his home as well, Silberman said.

“When they lived there, they had young kids and horses and dogs and parties and events and charities,” Silberman said. “He’s at a new chapter in his life, and the home is ready for the next family to do charity events and birthday parties and have kids run around, and have dogs and horses and people that love that house, too. The new owner has young children, and they’re going to enjoy that house.”

The home was once listed for $14.5 million but the house did not sell until it was part of a high-end concierge auction that’s becoming more common to sell such properties rather than selling them like traditional homes. Buyers pay a 10 percent fee.

New York-based Concierge Auctions has conducted similar auctions in Las Vegas for high-end condos and estates. Chairman Chad Roffers said the auction was conducted the night of Oct. 10 at Primm’s hangar at McCarran International Airport. The hangar doors were open and the Strip served as the backdrop for the auction.

“When you have a unique and expensive property where the local pool of buyers may not be deep enough, we come in and organize a marketing campaign to expand the pool of prospects and generate new interest and conduct an auction for the best possible price,” Roffers said. “I have conducted hundreds of auctions but never one in an aircraft hangar.”

There were 12 bidders with five from Las Vegas, Roffers said while declining to name anyone. Six of the bidders were from other states and one lived abroad.

Only six of the prospective buyers were present at the auction with others sending proxies while others participated via telephone or online, Roffers said. Getting 12 bidders is considered “a lot,” he said.

“I would describe it as a spirited auction,” Roffers said. “It went longer than normal and at a higher level than you expect. It was a high stakes bidding process and not for the faint of heart.”

Roffers said there were about 17 different bids with bids initially moving in $1 million increments and then dropping to $500,000 and $250,000 increments as the auction moved along.

“With the depth and quality of the field, I wasn’t sure who was going to win as the auction played out,” Roffers said. “It wasn’t clear until the very end.”

The ultimate buyer did not attend the auction but participated via phone from outside the country, Roffers said. The person values his privacy and asked that his name not be disclosed without providing any other details about his identity.

The buyer signed a contract that night and put up a 10 percent nonrefundable deposit of the sales price, Roffers said.

“Of the pool of bidders in my experience, these were some of the wealthiest,” Roffers said. “Two or three were billionaires. It was definitely an impressive list of bidders.”

Roffers said the bidding on the Primm Ranch shows him that the high-end market has improved since his company’s last auction in January 2014. There was more demand than expected.

“There’s a definitely a significant improvement in sentiment and interest,” Roffers said.

Silberman said it’s difficult to compare sales prices of homes, especially those sold earlier this year in The Ridges. Those homes were built in the last two to six years and cost in the $17 million to $22 million range, she said.

Primm Ranch was built in 1991 and unlike the others will realize a substantial profit, she said.

Las Vegas has a handful of sales a year that exceed $5 million a year with the many of the luxury sales between $2 million and $3 million, Silberman said.

“Most people are shocked there’s only a handful of sales transactions over $5 million, but we don’t have the market where we see astronomical numbers like New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles.”

Silberman says it takes enormous wealth to acquire luxurious estates like the Primm Ranch and other high-end properties and that limits buyers.

“People with $10 million in the bank aren’t the people that buy that,” Silberman said. “It’s people with 10 times that amount.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.