Tyler Perry Buys $40M Atlanta Mansion as $7.6M Teardown

Tyler Perry bought an Atlanta mansion known as Dean Gardens for millions off the original  priceActor-director Tyler Perry has reportedly spent $7.6 million to buy a 58-acre estate outside Atlanta known as Dean Gardens, which has sat on and off the market for about 15 years, once priced as high as $40 million.

Perry, the creator of the "Madea" character and "House of Payne" sitcom, plans to tear down the 36,086-square-foot, pink palace that software entrepreneur Larry Dean built for himself and his ex-wife Lynda right before they split.

"I think Larry took it personally at first that they were going to tear it down, but he has come to terms with that," says listing agent Suzanne Close of Sotheby's, who had the account for about a year. "It has been a burden trying to keep up a property like that. These days it is madness financially."

Perry, however, shouldn't have a problem making ends meet. The writer and co-star of "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," about a wife who was dragged out the front door of her Atlanta mansion, was ranked in 2009 by Forbes magazine as the sixth-highest-paid man in Hollywood.
The exact sale price of the mansion -- last listed at $13.9 million, fully furnished -- has been the subject of some discrepancy in the media. The eight-bedroom, nine-full-bath, three-half-bath manse was sold, sans accessories, "for under $10 million," says Close, who says that she can't reveal the exact sale price due to confidentiality clauses. But she adds, "it was the highest-priced property I ever sold."

The house is surrounded by other high-end residences to the south in Johns Creek, the 10th largest city in Georgia and the wealthiest in the state, according to a study in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, which also pegs it as the 95th wealthiest city in the nation.

Tapping the financial resources of his neighbors and others, Dean held a major auction this weekend, with an intent to sell off everything from a $75 gumball machine to a $60,000 dolphin sculpture. Even the 24-karat-gold bathroom sink that Dean reportedly purchased for $88,000 was up for sale. Another auction -- and chance to see the inside -- is scheduled for Aug. 28. But if you can't make it to Georgia this weekend, you can get a tour via YouTube.

The home was decorated by the Deans' oldest son, Chris, who was then age 21. Today, at 43, he "is still trying to come to terms with the experience," reported the New York Times. "It was his first effort at decorating something on such a grand scale; he made one more effort, which ended in disaster, and retired from interior decorating at age 24."

The estate, which once was viewed by the late pop king Michael Jackson, has an 18-hole golf course, wedding chapel, band shell, formal gardens, a 10,000-square-foot carriage house with laundry facilities, a garage for 12 automobiles, and twin two-bedroom apartments. But the value is in the land, which has an extensive 1,200 feet of waterfront along the Chatahoochee River. The parcel was originally designed to hold 60 large luxury homes.

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"It is one of the most beautiful lands around Atlanta," says Close. "The cost of replacing those gardens alone would be $6 million. The buyer knew that," she said, careful not to confirm that the buyer is Perry.

Although the home's physical structure will be torn down, Close says, "The gardens will remain. I am pretty sure the buyer will restore the other buildings, the conservatory and wedding chapel. I don't know that for a fact, but the conservatory is a beautiful part of the garden."

There is a Facebook group hoping to save this pink palace from the wrecking ball, but it is unlikely they'll be able to convince Perry. A peek inside the rooms, offered through this slideshow, reveals why.

Perry currently owns several other pieces of property in Atlanta, as well as a mansion above Los Angeles' Sunset Strip, which is currently on the market for $11,595,000 after first being listed in June 2010 at $13,250,000.

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