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Bluegrass ‘manor’ house, this county’s most expensive, is up for auction. Look inside.

The house at 56 Avenue of Champions is up for sealed-bid auction, with bids to start at $3.7 million. The house, which once was for sale at $7.9 million, is Jessamine County's largest and most expensive.
The house at 56 Avenue of Champions is up for sealed-bid auction, with bids to start at $3.7 million. The house, which once was for sale at $7.9 million, is Jessamine County's largest and most expensive. Sotheby's/Jeff Walker

Feeling the need for more living space? Considering an expansion to your current home? Perhaps you should think about this. Jessamine County’s biggest, most expensive house is up for sealed-bid auction.

The “Georgian English manor” house, which belongs to businessman Royce Pulliam and his wife Tomi, boasts every amenity you can think of and some you probably haven’t.

At more than 20,000 square feet on five acres, the house overlooks the Champion Trace golf club, according to the home’s description on Bluegrass Sotheby’s . It has five bedrooms, eight full baths and three partial baths. Of course there’s a pool, which appears to be guarded by stone lions. The entry boasts dual curved staircases for fabulous twirling entrances to any social event. The gardens were designed by Kentucky landscape superstar Jon Carloftis, the website states.

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One of the bathrooms in the house at 56 Avenue of Champions in Nicholasville, Jessamine County’s largest and most expensive house, has room for a vanity, a sofa, and anything else you’d like to bring. Sotheby's/Jeff Walker

There’s a closet as big as some houses, with a lighted handbag closet to display your Vuitton and Gucci leather baubles. The two-story wine and liquor cellar has a stunning chandelier. There’s even a massage room.

The Pulliam house has been for sale for more than nine months, according to the Sotheby’s listing. The house’s previous list price was $7.9 million. The sealed-bid auction price starts at $3.7 million, with an ending date of July 31.

Pulliam was at one time a health club czar. In 2007, he pulled his 25 fitness centers out of the Gold’s Gym chain and formed Urban Active. LA Fitness bought Urban Active in 2012.

Pulliam’s Global Fitness Holdings went into involuntary bankruptcy in March after failing to pay the amount due in a successful class action lawsuit. Members of Global Fitness’ Urban Active gyms had alleged that the company engaged in deceptive billing practices.

Creditors said in documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court that the owners of Global Fitness, including the Pulliams, had in 2014 paid themselves more than $10 million as a “tax distribution”after agreeing to pay more than $4 million to settle the class action lawsuit. The most recent documents filed in the bankruptcy case say that the parties are going through mediation.

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A view of the kitchen of the house at 56 Avenue of Champions, which is for sale in a sealed-bid auction with a minimum bid of $3.7 million. Sotheby's/Jeff Walker

Global Fitness Holdings said in a bankruptcy court filing that the business had since been winding down and did not have enough money to pay the full amount of the settlement.

The case, which has been in court since 2011, has been complicated. At one point the four partners in Global Fitness — Royce and Tomi Pulliam, and Stephen and Laurence Paul — were cited for civil contempt in district court for not holding back the full amount of the settlement, only to have a circuit court reverse and remand the ruling. The circuit court found that failing to hold back the full amount of cash needed was not exemplary business, but also not in contempt.

Royce Pulliam is still working, although not with Global Fitness. Recently, he was a partner in the development of The Venue retail development, at Nicholasville Road and Malabu Drive. He would not comment for this story.

Jessamine County's largest, most expensive house
The house is for sale by sealed-bid auction with a minimum bid of $3.7 million. This is part of the closet. Note the lighted handbag closet.

Jessamine County PVA Brad Freeman said that the house is likely the biggest and most expensive in Jessamine County. Jessamine County has several areas with homes that run from $1.5-$2 million that are “super nice homes,” Freeman said

The Pulliam house is on the PVA’s books at $3.25 million fair cash value.

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Lexington’s most expensive house is at 1150 Delong Lane, with 10 acres and 15,780 square feet; Fayette PVA records now value it at $5.6 million. Two other Lexington houses — at 3840 Saddlecreek Lane ($4.3 million) and 1109 McAtee Run ($3.85 million) — also were rated as more expensive than the Jessamine County house.

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Todd Wohl of Premiere Estates is handling the auction. Premiere also has the listing for Prince’s estate on Turks and Caicos. The late music superstar owned a 10,000 square foot house on five acres next to the ocean.

Wohl said the construction and finish of the Jessamine County house “is probably beyond anything that’s on the market in all of Kentucky. The level of detail is absolutely amazing.”

“It’s just a spectacular home, and they didn’t chintz,” Wohl said. “It’s not a spec home for a run-of-the mill-market.”

Take a video tour of some of Lexington's priciest homes -- they are all valued at above $1.73 million -- as determined by 2017 assessments from the Property Valuation Administrator.

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