Ridgetop mansion equals half a supermarket
By Tom Sharpe The New Mexican
July 27, 2005
Andrew and Sydney Davis’ half-acre home might become the biggest house in the city of Santa Fe, but not in the entire county. That distinction, according to the Santa Fe County Assessor’s Office, is held by a 26,700-square-foot mansion on the Zorro Ranch between Galisteo and Stanley.
Jeffrey Epstein, head of a money-management company in New York City, bought that 10,000-acre ranch in southern Santa Fe County in 1993 from former Gov. Bruce King. Epstein in 2001 built the main house as well as an airplane hangar, airstrip and six other structures.
The Davises’ total residential construction — 26,163 square feet — would be about half the size of the 53,000-square-foot Albertson’s supermarket located on the corner of St. Francis Drive and Zia Road.
The residential project is about twothirds the size of the 37,000-square-foot Sweeney Center next to City Hall.
An acre equals 43,560 square feet.
Larry Valdez, chief appraiser for the county assessor’s office, said he knows of no other house in the Santa Fe that exceeds the 23,105 square feet for the Davises’ main home, now under construction.
But he said several other homes in the county exceed 20,000 square feet.
Outside magazine publisher Lawrence J. Burke’s main house at his Mariah Ranch, north of La Tierra, is in the 20,000-squarefoot range as are several houses in Las Campanas, Valdez said.
The Santa Fe Association of Realtors says the largest house for sale in its multiple listings is a 17,000-square-feet residence in Las Campanas — also outside the city limits.
The Davises, who have two children, also plan to build a 3,058-square-foot guesthouse. On July 13, their agent revised the plans so the guesthouse is labeled as a “second primary residence.”
City planning officials said city regulations limit the size of a guesthouse in relation to a main house. The change, they said, would allow the Davises or a future owner to make the second house even larger.
Documents on file with the Santa Fe Planning and Land Use Department show the Davises declared the cost of building their 23,105-square-foot main house and 3,058-square-foot guesthouse to be $4.5 million.
But a Santa Fe builder said this week that the estimate seems low. The builder, who didn’t want his name published, said construction of luxury homes with considerable excavation can cost more than $400 per square foot. If the Davises spent that much, it would cost them a total of about $10.5 million.
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