Elder Mountain mansion sells for $4.9 million as sales of million-dollar homes in Chattanooga area continue to grow

Home previously sold for $4.6 million in March

Photo by Jesse Hunter/@TeamMediaServices / The Mills home on Skillet Gap Road boasts the best of amenities and unrivaled views of the Tennessee River Gorge.

For the second time in the past five months, an Elder Mountain mansion has sold at a record high price.

A Houston family, which created a limited partnership known as SFSG Real Estate Holding LLC, bought the home of the late Sharon Mills last month for $4.9 million -- the highest price ever for a residential property in the Chattanooga area.

The 11,266-square-foot home was built in 1998 on 26.5 acres overlooking the Tennessee River Gorge. The 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.

Jay Robinson, a Chattanooga real estate agent with Keller Williams who was the top-selling agent in Chattanooga last year for residential properties, sold the Mills' mansion both times this year.

Robinson said the mountaintop house "is truly a work of art that can't be duplicated anywhere" from its layout, setting, decor and surrounding landscape and apple orchards. The home at 901 Skillet Gap Road includes three bedrooms as well as four full baths and two partial baths.

"Sharon Mills was a collector," Robinson said in describing the original owner of the Elder Mountain home. "From her exquisite art collection to the orchard designed by heirloom apple expert Tom Burford, the Mills' home was filled with art and collectibles with the home itself considered the largest piece of art."

Sharon Mills, a civic leader and arts patron who died last year at age 73, was the daughter of photo magnate Olan Mills.

"Part of the beauty of the Mills' home is its back story,"Robinson said. "The renowned architect Hugh Newell Jacobson designed the home and per his request, the first mention of it was in his obituary in the New York Times. Owner Sharon Mills didn't want it advertised until after her death."

Jacobson also designed Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' home in Martha's Vineyard during the 1980s and restored part of the U.S. Embassy in Paris in 2010.

The sale of the Elder Mountain mansion is the highest ever for a residential property in the Chattanooga area, Mills said.

But currently, a 23,000-square-foot home on Chickamauga Lake owned by Bernice Sale is listed for sale for $16.5 million. The 2.5-acre site is on Solitude Drive in Harrison and is the highest priced home among 37 houses now listed for sale for over $1 million in the Chattanooga Realtors' multiple listing service.

Growth in million-dollar home sales

The number of homes sold that were priced $1 million or more nearly doubled last year in the Chattanooga market.

• 2021 - 175

• 2020 - 95

• 2019 - 49

• 2018 - 47

• 2017 - 42

• 2016 - 22

• 2015 - 19

• 2014 -16

• 2013 - 18

• 2012 - 18

• 2011 - 18

• 2010 - 14

• 2009 - 17

Source: Multiple listing service, Greater Chattanooga Realtors. Numbers reflect sales of single-family homes, town homes and residential condominiums.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340. Follow on Twitter at @Dflessner1.