Casino boss Gary Primm built more than a casino empire on the Nevada-California border town that now bears his name. He constructed a fortress for his family on Tomiyasu Lane in the southeast valley near Sunset Park.
The 10-acre gated compound, which drew the interest of megastar Michael Jackson, landed back on the market earlier this year with an asking price of $16.5 million.
Realtor Kristen Routh-Silberman with Synergy Sotheby’s International Realty confirmed that Jackson had seen the home and was ready to make an offer before his death June 25, 2009.
“He called it Wonderland. We put candy around the house for the kids, so they called it Candyland,” she said.
The pop star appreciated the privacy and security features of the compound, she said. He liked the underground tunnel that led from the main residence to the garage. Also, the gates can be controlled by the owner.
It takes about two hours to show the compound that has a 15,000-square-foot main residence, 1,500-square-foot caretaker’s house, a 3,000-square-foot guest house, equestrian center, dog kennel, greenhouse and golf driving course. The six buildings house 50 rooms.
“It is built with hotel-quality construction, yet it still has intimate spaces,” Routh-Silberman said.
Once through the gate, the circular driveway sets the estate’s tone of opulence, yet cozy and family friendly; fun and adventurous, but still practical; and flexible. Qualities that Routh-Silberman said reflect its occupants.
Through the years, the estate has accommodated the family’s interests — cars, motorbikes, dogs and show horses. When the Primm children were young they were into motorbike racing, she said. Having no homeowners association, the family constructed a race track around the estate, but it’s no longer there.
“There are no association rules,” she said. “The owner makes up (his or her) own rules.”
The door leading into the entrance of the main residence, which houses 28 rooms and five stone gas fireplaces, is plated in brass. The foyer is laid with Arizona flagstone, a bit of desert foundation for this Mediterranean contemporary home, built in 1991 by Santa Monica, Calif., architect F.H. “Frosty” Laudenfrost with interior design by Hank Morgan of Laguna Beach, Calif.
“It has a timeless design,” Routh-Silberman said.
The front room’s high ceilings, glass-and-brass accented staircase and 25-foot-high travertine fireplace establish the home as a showcase. Yet, to the side is a cozy, understated dining room.
The three stories of the home are connected by an elevator. The midlevel is the main living area and includes the game room and theater. The game room has a poker table and other casino games, resort-style bar, pool table and TV area. The home theater is large and dressed in inlaid wood. It is controlled by a Creston system, and the movie and book data are run through a Kaleidoscope Digital System. There is a small wine cellar and humidor at the entrance. There is also a system to pump cigar smoke out of the room and pump in purified air. It’s a telltale sign of the owner’s lifelong profession.
That midlevel has secondary bedrooms, baths, a separate patio area, office and kitchen, which is equipped with Subzero refrigerator, Thermador ranges, a wok kitchen, grill and pancake griddle. There is also an oversized pantry to hold supplies.
The elevator leads from the kitchen to the underground, 5,000-bottle wine cellar that has a small dining area for wine parties.
Upstairs, is a fully equipped gym with a dry and steam spa, master bedroom, baths, his-and-her-salons and extensive cedar closets.
Before entering the master suite, there are two closets Primm uses, one for summer and one for winter. His salon looks just like a barber shop and has its own chair.
On the other side of the bedroom is Carol Primm’s beauty salon. It has everything a commercial shop has — a rinse sink, reclining chair, hair dryer and pedicure and manicure stand. The nearby large closet has glass doors to protect expensive shoes from the desert dust.
Hawaiian-style pool area
Outside of the home is a pool, spa designed to resemble one in a Hawaiian resort. Its plaster rough-hewed rocks, elephant sculptures, water slide and mammoth skull replica set the fun tone of this area.
Behind the waterfall is a bar with a gas fireplace. Beyond that is a hidden apartment with its own bath and shower.
Outside, the pool area has its own bath and showers and an outdoor kitchen. Above the apartment is a sun deck with sweeping views of the property.
Secret passages and rooms
In the main entrance, behind doors that are designed to look like cabinets, are secret tunnels that lead to an underground shooting range and the garage. The “cabinets” open with a pass code, and you find yourself in a long hallway, which has its own oxygen supply and exhaust system for the smoke and gun powder.
Routh-Silberman said Jackson, who had no interests in guns, wanted to turn the area into a large recording studio. Others who have considered purchasing the property have talked of turning it into a full-size bowling alley and disco dance room.
Open another cabinet and you find yourself in a huge garage that can house 20 cars. The theme is the 1950s and the black-and-white floor has seen several sock hop parties. It’s a working garage with a hydraulic lift, car wash with special deionized water system so the expensive rides don’t get spots. It also has a gas station with regular and unleaded. No need to go anywhere to keep the cars in tip-top shape.
Outside on the ranch
The Primm family has a love of horses. They show expensive American paint horses and provide boarding for rescue horses for local charities. A potbellied pig, two miniature ponies, and some chickens also call the spread home.
The barn has a one-bedroom caretaker’s apartment with kitchen and bath. It also houses four stalls, two washing stalls, a tack room with closets. Four outdoor stalls are near the barn and two are in the pasture. There is a 100-by-200-foot arena and a 100-foot round pen for the animals.
Nearby, is a grape arbor leading to the “doggie villa” that includes a gated, 100-foot, shaded area. The air-conditioned structure houses four large compartments for the dogs to come in from the Las Vegas heat and a washing area for grooming.
The nearby tennis courts have been converted into an automatic golf driving range. But the basketball court still stands.
There is also a large greenhouse with a swamp cooler and humidifier. The staff of gardeners uses this to maintain the lush landscaping. The property has two artisan wells for irrigation.
Near the main residence is the maid’s house that has a garage, one bedroom and one bath. On the other side of the property is the guest house that has a garage, three bedrooms and three baths. It has its own address.
The estate was built with resort standards and has a back-up generator that kicks in after eight seconds if the power fails. It also has a Chiller system, which casinos use, that is a closed loop air-conditioning system. There is smart lighting throughout the interior spaces and landscape lighting around the compound.