UK Men's Basketball

From the archives: Calipari buying Richmond Road house, owner says

Lexington's most popular newcomer is buying one of the city's highest-profile houses.

University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari has signed a contract for a mansion at 1732 Richmond Road and the vacant lot next door, according to owner Garry Milton.

Milton, a builder and real estate investor, declined to say what Calipari is paying, but the recent asking price was $2,295,000 for the home and $550,000 for the vacant lot. The house, which has been on the market for more than a year, had an assessed value of $2.2 million in 2008.

Located near Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate, the 3-year-old house has nearly 10,000 square feet of living space, with an additional 1,000 square feet over a three-car garage.

Calipari was not immediately available for comment.

"We don't have any information about that at this time," said UK athletics spokesman John Hayden.

If the sale closes, John and Sue Ellen Calipari and their three children will have seven bedrooms, eight full bathrooms and two half bathrooms.

On the first floor is a living room, formal dining room, two-story great room with stone fireplace and a master bedroom with his and her bathrooms and closets.

The kitchen, equipped with commercial-grade appliances, has a large island, several pantries and opens onto a sun room with floor-to-ceiling windows. A full basement is partially finished.

Milton said the coach plans to build a fence around the adjoining vacant lot.

Neighbor Joe Jones, a retired UK Spanish professor who lives three doors away, said he was delighted to have a new neighbor.

"It will be an interesting experience to have a celebrity on the block," Jones said.

In Memphis, the Caliparis live at 220 East Galloway Drive, a 10-minute drive from campus, near a golf course but not in a gated community. He bought the 6,918-square-foot house with an outdoor basketball/tennis court for $1,495,000 in 2000.

Milton, who built the Lexington house and moved into it with his family in 2006, said Calipari did not use a real estate agent.

Interior designer Lynn Pedigo, hired to draw plans for the Italianate-style residence, said in an interview while the house was under construction in 2004 that the Miltons wanted "something that fit in with the rest of the houses in the block," to look as if it had been there for 50 or 60 years.

Milton is not sure how his house came to the attention of the coach. "I guess he just saw the for sale sign. Or someone told him about it," he said.

The property also is listed on the Lexington-Bluegrass Association of Realtors' multiple listing service Web site.

Meanwhile, Calipari's predecessor at UK, Billy Gillispie, remains in his 12,000-square-foot house in Jessamine County.

"He seems in no hurry to move," said Realtor Whitney Pannell, who sold him the house. "I saw him at Keeneland the other day. He's out and about."

Pannell said she had a client last week who wanted to see the house that Gillispie purchased for $1.45 million.

"I called, and he wasn't really sure what he wanted to do," she said. "There doesn't seem to be a high level of motivation to get it sold."

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