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Originally published July 9, 2010 at 7:47 PM | Page modified July 10, 2010 at 12:54 PM

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Mercer Island mansion finally sells — at $28 million markdown

Remember that 23,000-square-foot Mercer Island waterfront mansion that created such a buzz when its owners put it on the auction block in February?

Seattle Times business reporter

Remember that 23,000-square-foot Mercer Island waterfront mansion that created such a buzz when its owners put it on the auction block in February?

It's finally sold — for 70 percent less than its owners, Chuck and Karen Lytle, wanted when they first listed the property six years ago.

Documents filed with King County this week show the Lytles sold the house — with its 12-foot Chihuly chandelier, indoor and outdoor saltwater pools and two wine cellars — on June 25 for $12 million.

The Lytles, founders of the Leisure Care retirement-community chain, put the estate up for sale in 2004, asking $40 million.

"It's like the [Las Vegas] Bellagio without the slot machines," one visitor told The Seattle Times at the time.

The buyer, according to property records, is James Peter Edwards, who could not be reached. The Puget Sound Business Journal identified him as the owner of Video Only, a Tukwila-based chain of 14 electronics stores in Washington, Oregon and California.

In February, New York auction firm Sheldon Good & Co. announced it had been retained to sell the "Mediterranean masterpiece," on Roanoke Way on Mercer Island's north shore. The minimum sealed bid: $15 million.

But an April 14 deadline came and went without any announcement or action. And in late May, the auction firm said it was reducing the minimum bid to $12 million in hopes of attracting an offer free of contingencies.

That's exactly what Edwards paid. The county assessor values the property for tax purposes at a hair over $20 million.

The estate was built in 1977. The Lytles bought it in 1989 and remodeled the house about 10 years ago, according to county records.

Edwards' new abode sits on 1.5 manicured acres with a greenhouse, 150 feet of Lake Washington waterfront and a dock big enough for a 140-foot yacht. Inside are two master suites, four guest bedrooms, three kitchens, five full and four half bathrooms, and a workout gym.

The 66-foot indoor pool is flanked by hand-carved columns decorated with Egyptian-inspired figures and designs.

As for the Lytles, they've downsized to an 11,000-square-foot waterfront mansion in Hunts Point.

Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or epryne@seattletimes.com

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