George Heery, Jr. interviewed for article in Berliner MorgenpostMarch 16, 2009
George Heery, Jr., REALTOR and Founding Partner of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty is featured in a German-based publication, the Berliner Morgenpost. We have translated the article into English here, but you may click on this link to see the article in its native language on the Morgenpost website.
Here you can live like Barack Obama
Sunday, 15th of March 2009 03:18 – by Katja Ridderbusch
The White House stands for sale. No, not that in the American capital Washington D.C. that just got a new owner with President Barack Obama. This is the White House in Atlanta, Georgia, address: 3687 Briarcliff Road.
For 9.8 million dollars the replica of probably the most famous building in the world is to be had, with some negotiation skill perhaps even for less.
Called the “Atlanta White House” since its completion in 2001, it is an attraction for tourists and a cause of offense for neighbors in the area, who feel disturbed by the eccentric building and the multitude of visitors.
The reproduction is only one-third as large as the original at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but with 1500 square meters (13 000 square feet) of living space, 8000 square meters (1.7 acres) of land and a parking lot for 75 vehicles, it is among the larger private estates in the Southern metropolis.
It has six bedrooms and seven bathrooms; guests spend the night in the Lincoln Bedroom. There is also an Oval Office, and over the mighty desk next to the American hangs the Iranian flag. For the owner of the White House of Atlanta is a native Iranian: Fred Milani. Milani, 57 years old, moved from Tehran to the US in 1979 during the Islamic revolution and turned into an American patriot.
He established a successful business, specializing in opulent, plaster-trimmed splendor, that Americans also mock as “McMansions”. The business has gone badly for about a year; like many in its industry, it has fallen victim to the real estate crisis.
There is no “For Sale” sign in the front yard, and only interested parties who can prove their solvency get a tour. With 9.8 million dollars, the White House is “much more expensive than any of the homes that have changed hands in the last months in Atlanta”, says George T. Heery, partner in the exclusive broker agency Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty. The real-estate market in the economic Boomtown Atlanta is a difficult one; the number of foreclosures is among the highest in the US. Is it especially difficult to sell an object such as the White House in these times?
“The house is quite extravagant”, says Heery. That is not necessarily a negative, but it certainly limits the number of potential buyers. The broker does not think that interested parties come from the US. “If the house finds a buyer, they would probably be foreign.”
A businessman from Dubai had actually shown interest in the object. For now, however, Milani has taken the White House off the market. He is obviously negotiating the refinancing of his mortgage. Twice already the contractor barely escaped the foreclosure of his distinctive home. He was only able to hold on to the house „with God’s help“, emphasized the Muslim who converted to Christianity.
Milani does not call himself a very political person. He simply wanted to build a large house at the time, and his wife Yvonne asked for “a flat facade and columns”. Their the architect had recommended a copy of the White House. Twice Fred Milani voted for the Republican Bush, but as the economy has collapsed, he has become a “big fan” of Obama.
Milani is sad that it must sell his house now. But he has held on to his humor. In reply to the question where he would live soon, he responds dryly: “Perhaps I will construct the Congress on the other side of the street.”