Want the best seat for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games? It can be yours for $4.5 million; but unlike other seats, you also get eight bedrooms, nine bathrooms and a chance to live there long after the Games are over.
The property at 3091 Ironworks Pike sits on a 42-acre peninsula surrounded by Kentucky Horse Park. The cut-stone house was built in 1930 by the family that originally owned the Horse Park property, and it has remained privately owned. The current owner, identified by property records as Rodney Parsons, spends most of his time in Florida.
The agent for the house, Arnold Kirkpatrick, calls it a "magnificent property" that would be perfect for sport horse people who are coming to Kentucky in increasing numbers to compete at the Horse Park.
Most people who have shown an interest have been horse people, he said, "but the truth is the house is so lovely it would make a wonderful year-round house, and most sport horse people are seasonal," Kirkpatrick said.
Most serious hunter-jumper competitors spend the winter at horse shows in Florida.
Of course, Horse Park officials would love to see this architectural gem — designed by famed Kentucky architect Robert McMeekin — as part of the park.
"As the Horse Park continues to develop, we want to be sure we are always providing more green space than development, therefore we always have an eye toward land acquisition," said Horse Park Executive Director John Nicholson. "However, the current economic climate would not lend itself to doing anything at this time."
Kirkpatrick said he thinks it would make sense for a friend of the Horse Park to buy it and then turn it into some kind of exclusive club.
"It would be very nice to have a part of the Horse Park returning to where it formerly was," he said.
Certainly, the house would provide an elegant setting for entertainment. The 11,496-square-foot residence has a formal entry hall, large living and dining rooms, a library, and a room designed as a bar in a ship, which was constructed from a yacht that belonged to the Harkness family, the original builders. To get to it, you open a secret panel in the library that leads downstairs. With the eight bedrooms and nine baths, there are a three-car garage and a small guest house.
The house also looks out over a long, green vista that fronts Ironworks Pike, and in the back overlooks the Horse Park's new stadium.
Of course, if $4.5 million is too steep, there are some other Ironworks properties for sale that would also provide easy access to the Games, which take place Sept. 25-Oct 10. The area has started to become a sport horse area, with the advent of Spy Coast Farm, a Long Island hunter-jumper operation that several years ago bought Gracefield Farm on the corner of Ironworks and Newtown Pike.
Jim Broadwater is showing a $1.2 million house, just off Ironworks, at 3337 Rushing Wind Lane on 14 acres.
He says some interest in the area is probably partly due to the World Games.
"This is a place that could be fenced to accommodate a limited number of horses," he said.
Real estate agent Linda Willson is showing a $3.6 million, four-bedroom house with a pool at 3371 Ironworks Pike on 30 acres.
It does not have equine facilities, but could, Willson said.
"This is ready for anyone's vision," she said. "People want to be close to the Horse Park; that's why we're seeing sales around there.
Willson said she recently sold a property to a family from Las Vegas who came to the Horse Park for their child to compete in the Pony Finals.
"They came back, they looked around and ended up buying," she said. "They'll live here from May to October for all the events.
"I think horse people are going to be buying here not because of the Games themselves but because of what the Games have done for the Horse Park."