Elderly heir marks down mansion by $60M, even agrees to leave when it sells

Elderly heir marks down mansion by $60M, even agrees to leave when it sells
·Homes Editor

Surprise: Turns out no one wanted to pay $100 million for a mansion that came with the owner.

Christian de Guigne IV, heir to a fortune made in chemicals, owns a Northern California property that has been in his family for 150 years — and in 2013, he sought to sell it.

The entry hall, looking toward the ballroom. Click a photo for a slideshow.
The entry hall, looking toward the ballroom. Click a photo for a slideshow.

He had just one little contingency, not counting the stratospheric price tag: He would live there until he died, whereupon the buyer could move in. De Guigne (pronounced de-GEEN-yay) was born in the mansion 78 years ago. (Click here or on a photo for a slideshow.)

Now the Wall Street Journal reports that he's had a change of heart, and apparently of pocketbook too.

He has removed the contingency.

And he's knocked $60 million off the price.

Now the estate can be had for $39.9 million, sans owner.

Known as Guigne Court (sometimes spelled Guignicourt, sometimes written De Guigne Court), the mansion was built a century ago and redecorated by famed San Francisco designer Anthony Hail in the 1960s. The listing notes that the property has been host to U.S. presidents and dignitaries and "many society galas."

The history of the family and its estate is, as you might imagine, fascinating -- particularly more recent events, synopsized by Curbed San Francisco:

"After dating some big-time SF names like Danielle Steel, in the early 80s [Christian de Guigne IV] married Vaughn Hills, daughter of Hills Bros. coffee heir Reuben Wilmarth Hills III, in 1984. They lived a lavish lifestyle despite the fact that neither worked, and, as it's all spelled out in their 2002 divorce papers, the expenses to run the estate were $450K a year. The divorce settlement took a crazy turn, calling for the subdivision of the 47-acre estate into 25 parcels to raise cash for spousal support. The neighborhood and environmentalists went bananas, saying new houses would 'disrupt views on the scenic hillside, create fire hazards, disrupt an unique environmental habitat and tax an already overtaxed school system.' The plans were withdrawn in 2009."

Four years later, he had listed it at $100 million with his unusual contingency.

The property comprises nearly 50 acres in Hillsborough, with views of the San Francisco Bay. The residence is 16,000 square feet, with 10 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms.

The listing, once held by Sotheby's, is now with Mary Gullixson and Brent Gullixson of Alain Pinel Realtors. It notes that the estate is 13 miles from Facebook headquarters and 18 miles from Google headquarters. Hint hint, tech billionaires.

Click here or on a photo for a slideshow of Guigne Court, marked down a staggering $60 million — and no longer including an owner.

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