Dean Gardens: ‘A Slow Death’
It’s been over a year since the keys to Dean Gardens passed hands and the structure is still standing. Tyler Perry purchased the mansion from Larry Dean in late July 2010 and shocked news outlets around North America when he said he planned on razing the estate. Previously listed as high as $40 million, Perry nabbed the estate for a mere $7.6 million after sitting on the market for nearly 17 years. Since Perry was going to be tearing the home down, one of the conditions of sale was that the actual structure & all the belongings inside were all still the property of Larry Dean. Larry held two estate sales at the property in mid August 2010 selling everything from detailed mouldings to an $80,000 24K gold sink. An auction company was brought in to sell the remaining furniture and architectural pieces of the home.
Today almost all the doors, windows, fireplaces, mouldings, railings & architectural pieces have been stripped from the home, leaving behind an empty, dark shell of a masterpiece. A year later the home is still standing, lifeless and hollow. Back in October, a spokersperson for Johns Creek, Doug Nurse said this: “Last month Perry received a demolition permit to bulldoze the main house, the chapel, pavilion, cottage, tennis cabana, conservatory, tea house, amphitheater, maintenance building, pump house and level the parking area and pathways. Demolition is estimated at $100,000.”
The creation of Dean Gardens spanned more than 4 years (1988-1992) transforming 60 acres of land in John’s Creek, GA into one of the largest homes in the United States. It was the dream of Larry & Lynda Dean who separated shortly after the homes completion. Originally zoned for 60 luxury homes, the Deans purchased the entire plot and built a 32,000 square foot neoclassical mansion as well as an attached 10,000 square foot carriage house. The home offered 8 bedrooms including a 3,000 square foot master suite with study, his & hers dressing rooms and impressive bathroom. Other features included a Moroccan home theatre, 50’s games room, grand salon, commercial kitchen, an elevator, Hawaiian art gallery and garage with space for more than a dozen cars.
The property included features such as an 18 hole par 72 golf course, an amphitheater, a conservatory, estate manager’s cottage, a greenskeeper’s cottage, a 3 acre man made lake with wedding chapel and extensive formal gardens including Italian, French & Oriental gardens. Larry brought in more than 1 million plants to landscape the estate including 65 different species of Japanese maples and more than 100,000 annuals were planted each Fall for seasonal colour and another 100,000 in the Spring. The original estimate for the entire project was $8.5 million but ended up costing more than $25 million. The interiors of the home were designed by Larry’s oldest son, Christopher, 21 at the time, who used 100’s of artists & artisans to create Dean Gardens. Many of the pieces inside including chandeliers were custom designed & crafted specifically for the home.
If Perry decides to abandon his irrational plans for the home, it won’t matter because the mansion is so far gone that it’s beyond repair. Regardless of what he decides the structure must be razed. The agent who sold the home, Suzanne Close, expressed that Michael Jackson had put an offer on the home in 1995 for around $26 million. She also said other prospective buyers wanted to purchase the home for horses or to preserve it as a cultural arts centre. Pricey Pads was invited to the estate in August 2010 by the Deans. We spent two days at the mansion including the Estate Sale & a private tour from Larry and Christopher. The mansion was also used in R Kelly’s music video for ‘Home Alone’ in the late 90’s. We’ve been waiting for over a year for the total demolition of Dean Gardens, hoping it will give us some closure. Will that day ever come, or will this incredible mansion slowly age and turn into an abandoned wonder.
Do you think Tyler Perry will follow through with demolishing Dean Gardens or do you think he will sell it as-is?