Developers buy Mandrell's Fontanel Mansion

Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 11:06pm

Country singer Barbara Mandrell’s former Whites Creek mansion has new owners as a new CMT reality series Gone Country premieres this evening from the residence.

California-based Tower Land Co., which has been buying up land at a steady clip around Nashville, including prime downtown parcels, has bought a majority interest in the Fontanel Mansion and the surrounding 136 acres. The sale price wasn’t disclosed but it had been on the market for $14 million.

Tower plans to sell the 27,000-square-foot log mansion and nine surrounding lots as part of a low-impact, private rural community.

“Tower intends to preserve its character as one of the most dramatic and unique estates in the country and to ensure that any development only enhances the area’s scenic beauty,” Alex Marks, Tower’s senior vice president, said in a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, John Rich, one half of country duo Big & Rich, is leading a caste of established non-country artists who will live at the mansion and attempt to become a country artist. Rich will produce a single for the most successful cross over. The caste includes bad boy Bobby Brown, formerly of R&B band New Edition and Whitney Houston’s ex-husband, pop singer Julio Iglesias Jr., and Dee Snider, the lead singer of 1980s hit heavy metal band Twisted Sister.

Tower bought from Dale Morris and Marc Oswald, who together manage Big & Rich, country band Alabama and Gretchen Wilson, a top selling female country singer.

Morris and Oswald bought the property in 2002 at auction for $2.1 million, far below the $7 million Mandrell had sought for the property. Mandrell built the mansion in 1988 for more than $6 million.

Tower’s recent investments include buying a stake in the proposed development Cumberland Yacht Harbor. The company also owns the largest piece of property in the footprint of the proposed downtown convention center.

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By: roadie on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Just so we don't confuse people, John Rich & Company (without Big Kenny) are not at Fontanel tonight! The entire show was filmed last year...

By: HokeyPokey on 12/31/69 at 6:00

but wait, I though algore had the biggest house in Tn.!!It was BABS all along! (I'm still waiting to get my pictures back from her!)

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Is that a house?

By: b_ellen on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Am I wrong, or is the correct spelling of the word for a group of people in a theatrical performance "CAST". Caste is something else entirely.

By: HokeyPokey on 12/31/69 at 6:00

funny, Ellen, I didn't see that one. But in this case, a group of folks who want to pretend that they're "we have both, Country AND Western," the term caste is more appropriate than they, CMT and CBS/MTVN/Viacom will ever know!

By: revo-lou on 12/31/69 at 6:00

HP – The picture comment was DAMN funny!!!!!!!

By: NewYorker1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I love me some Mrs.. Mandrell, but sweetie that house is ugly. HATE IT!

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Are you sure it's a house?

By: Magnum on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Could it be a new convention center? Does it have an underground bunker?

By: Magnum on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Could we convert it to a sounds stadium?

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Too ugly for public art. How about using it as the courthouse? Surely it will work better than the new one.

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I think it's a future Cracker Barrel

By: HokeyPokey on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Lou, thanks.

By: uncle-marcle on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I went through this place last month and it's pretty wild. Hard to believe this was bulit for a family of 5 to live in! Loved the pool anyway!!!! The Declined Ms M had a private door off the garage that went into the master suite for instances when she "vanted to be alone." Lots of balconies throughout the place. WAAAAAAY over the top!