This story was updated to correct the spelling of David Duplissey's last name.
In the biggest home sale in Chattanooga history, a Montana investor has bought a riverfront home in Lookout Valley for $8.7 million.
The 17,772-square-foot mansion is on 26 acres on the Tennessee River at 502 Browns Ferry Road in Tiftonia. The six-bedroom, eighth-bath house, which overlooks the Tennessee River just off Interstate 24, was sold by David and Kim Duplissey, who finished building the home nine years ago.
The mansion overlooks Moccasin Bend and the river with an outdoor pool, sauna and boat dock, and the spacious home features arched ceilings, custom moldings, hickory floors, knotty alder woodworking and crafted stonework inside and out. The home included a theater, an outdoor kitchen, a hunters display room, gas pumps and specially decorated rooms and garages to display both Duplissey's racing cars and hunting trophies.
David Duplissey said he bought the riverfront property in 2011 from attorney Martin Levitt and also acquired and demolished four other houses on the site to make room for the gated mansion, which includes a half-mile cemented driveway up to the house.
"It was just a perfect spot to build a house that big and beautiful, and we really loved our time there," Duplissey said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "It's not disheartening to me at all that we sold it because I think we sold it to someone who appreciates this house. He was real proud that he was the lucky person to get this house, and I'm proud for him."
The buyer from Montana, who didn't want to be identified, purchased the property through a real estate venture known as Lookout Below LLC in Duluth, Georgia.
The buyer is the second out-of-state purchaser in as many months to acquire a mansion overlooking the Tennessee River west of downtown Chattanooga.
In September, a Houston family, which created a limited partnership known as SFSG Real Estate Holding LLC, bought the home of the late Sharon Mills on Elder Mountain for $4.9 million -- the previous record high price for a residential property in the Chattanooga area. Mills' 11,266-square-foot home was built in 1998 on 26.5 acres overlooking the Tennessee River Gorge.
The Mills' mansion previously sold in March for $4.6 million after going on the market a year ago with an initial sales price of $7 million. But after acquiring the property earlier this year, the previous owner from California decided against moving into the home and put the house back on the market for $200,000 above the $4.6 million price he paid in March.
Another waterfront property is up for sale in Chattanooga that could eclipse both of the recent sales of mansions west of downtown.
A 23,000-square-foot home on Chickamauga Lake owned by Bernice Sale is listed for sale for $16.5 million, or nearly twice what Duplissey just sold his house for on Browns Ferry Road. Sale's 2.5-acre site is on Solitude Drive in Harrison and is the highest-priced home among more than three dozen houses now listed for sale for more than $1 million in the Chattanooga Realtors' multiple listing service.
Million-dollar homes, once rare in Chattanooga, nearly doubled last year to include 175 residential properties in Chattanooga with sales prices of more than $1 million in 2021, according to the Greater Chattanooga Realtors association.
DRAWING NATIONAL BUYERS
Duplissey said when he first listed his house for sale at $9 million, local real estate agents told him he would never get such a price, so he contracted with Sotheby's International Realty to list the property.
The sale took nearly three years, but Duplissey was ultimately able to sell his house for nearly 97% of his initial asking price.
At age 67, Duplissey said he was ready to move into smaller quarters. But Duplissey said he was convinced his home was worth more than what local real estate agents told him to price the property at when he decided to sell.
"Nobody in Chattanooga would list that home for more than $5 million because they were convinced no house would ever sell for more than $5 million," Duplissey said. "Sotheby's brought prospective buyers from all over the country, and I'm glad it sold for what it did because maybe the local Realtors will realize that houses will sell for more than $5 million in Chattanooga."
Last month, the median price of homes sold in the Chattanooga market was up 17.8% from a year earlier, rising to $306,625.
Duplissey's property ultimately sold for more than 28 times the typical home price in Chattanooga, but the real estate agent who handled the sale said Duplissey's property was unlike any other property. Located within the city of Chattanooga, the property includes a hilltop view of the winding Tennessee River and the protected Moccasin Bend woodlands across the river.
Sandy Poe, a Knoxville real estate agent with Sotheby's Realty who listed the property, said Duplissey's house "is truly one of the South's premier properties, and I am grateful to have been a part of this milestone for Chattanooga."
"We were presented with several offers and opportunities to sell over the course of the listing, but were fully aware of the value and willing to wait for the appropriate time and buyer," she said in an emailed statement. "The best way to sum up closing the highest price residential sale on record in Chattanooga is to say ..."It was worth the wait!'"
FINDING SUCCESS IN CHATTANOOGA
Duplissey moved to the Chattanooga area in 2006 when he acquired National Boiler Co. in Trenton and in eight years nearly tripled sales for the equipment manufacturer, broadening the business market from paper mills into utility and industrial boilers before selling the business in 2014. Duplissey also owned Boyd's Speedway before selling the racetrack two years ago to Chattanooga businessman Emerson Russell.
Duplissey developed and oversaw the construction of the home after the first architect he hired for the project died and he fired the second architect working on the house design.
"It just kind of grew and grew over time, and even after 10 years of living there, I was still working on things," he quipped. "I need to make my life simpler at this point."
Duplissey said once the house was built in 2013, he invited all of the construction crews that had worked on the project, along with their families, to a party at the house, and more than 350 people showed up to see the finished mansion.
"I cooked 35 Boston butts and four cases of chicken, and we invited everyone who had been a part of building the house to come," Duplissey said. "We had a really good time at that house, and I hope the new owner will as well."
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or at 423-757-6340. Follow him on Twitter at @Dflessner1