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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

West Linn riverfront mansion, unfinished for 25 years, back on auction block starting at $3.25 million

By Janet Eastman Oregonian

Hollywood Video stores have long been shuttered but the story of founder Mark Wattles’ secluded West Linn mansion, unfinished for 25 years, keeps developing. The 32-acre estate, positioned on a peninsula on the Willamette River, is back on the auction block Saturday with a reserve of $3.25 million.

The highest bidder could walk away with existing building permits for a home closer to the water than current land-use regulations allow and a history unlike any other.

Wattles, best known for starting and selling the once-successful video store chain and buying bankrupt Ultimate Electronics, paid $1.25 million for the undeveloped site in 1994. He said he then poured $12 million into creating an entertainment-centric compound for his family.

The native Oregonian envisioned a trophy home as large as a football field with access to 2,700 feet of private shoreline.

“I don’t think there is a nicer place than that point,” said Wattles, who added that he went “overboard” with his plans for the house, explaining that he was in his 30s at the time.

The 50,000-square-foot mansion’s framework and partial exterior were erected after permits were approved in 1996 and Wattles had won a highly publicized legal challenge filed by a neighbor, who was aided by land-use group 1000 Friends of Oregon.

But construction stalled after Wattles moved with his wife and five children to Las Vegas to benefit from tax advantages and escape the spotlight, he said.

The gated property was left frozen in time.

In 2018, Richard L. Stanley of Camas, Washington, paid $2,270,000 at an auction for the three-story structure with walls, long covered in waterproof Tyvek, but no windows or finished floors.

Stanley, who started Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking and owns lumber yards in Oregon, planned to create a Tuscan villa-style vineyard estate. Instead, he listed the one-of-a-kind property for sale in 2020 at $3,999,999. No buyer stepped forward.

He had renderings drawn of a grand ballroom, an automotive salon with a drive-up bar and a wine vault to store bottles made from grapes grown on the property.

No vineyard has been planted, but five acres of blueberries qualify the property, zoned exclusive farm use (EFU), for reduced taxes.

Clackamas County assessed the property at $2.4 million. Annual taxes are about $32,000.

The owner can make money from agriculture, equestrian or other farm-related businesses but cannot develop the land into smaller parcels, according to EFU land-use restrictions.

The estate has irrigation rights for 29 acres, a well and plumbing for ponds and water features.

Marketing materials from Kendra Ratcliff of Luxe Christies International Real Estate explain to potential buyers that the property was once listed for $38 million as a “to-be-completed, fully furnished residence.”

Ratcliff said the new owner of the estate, now named Pacific Place and with the address of 32088 S.W. Peach Cove Road, could add such luxury features as:

  • A helicopter pad for a quick commute to downtown Portland
  • A boat dock for river access from the backyard
  • A full-size basketball or tennis court or an indoor swimming pool under a 25-foot-tall ceiling

The entire lower level of the massive structure, planned as a 60-car showroom, garage and mechanic space with heated and cooled concrete floors, could store a vintage auto collection, or become a bowling alley or a shooting range

Original architectural plans called for the mansion to have a circular staircase and a glass atrium that opened to a great room with two-story plates of glass. Also on the drawing board were media rooms, home offices and nine bedrooms.

The master suite, consuming half of the top floor, was to have a 1,200-square-foot closet, private theater room, kitchenette, his and hers bathrooms, two sitting areas and two wraparound decks.

Bidders must register with Platinum Luxury Auctions and show proof of funds. Live, in-person and remote bidding is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. on Oct. 30.