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.