Michigan media mogul Kevin Adell has two houses at Sundance. He only needs one.
But Robert Redford’s neighbor hasn’t been able to sell his extra house by conventional means, so he’s offering to take bitcoin for it.
Roughly 695 bitcoins, actually, based on Wednesday’s valuation of each digital-currency coin being worth $4,174. Adell’s not going to take a penny (or a microbitcoin) less than his asking price of $2.9 million in good old American dollars.
“This is my one and only bitcoin deal,” Adell said in a telephone interview from Michigan, where he has several businesses, the most prominent being a talk-radio “superstation” and The Word, a religious broadcasting network, both of which cater to an African-American audience.
Adell isn’t an advocate of bitcoin like Patrick Byrne, founder of Midvale-based online retailer Overstock.com. Before Adell advertised his house on the website bitcoin-realestate.com, he lined up a title company that would convert any bitcoin offer into cash before he handed over the deed.
“I wouldn’t sell air time in bitcoin, I can tell you that,” he said. “I wouldn’t accumulate bitcoin and hold onto it. But this is unusual. We’ll look for a buyer who has accumulated bitcoins when they were worth $1. Now that they’re worth $4,000, they can convert them into a tangible asset. This opens a market for [those] people.”
A decade has passed since Adell bought his 5,000-square-foot, seven bedroom, 4.5-bath home designed by Bron Roylance, a Hollywood makeup artist and Sundance fixture.
“It’s a beautiful home. We loved it. We used it for charity events and let family members use it,” Adell said.
But it became “a pain managing it” after he bought a ski-in, ski-out home visible from Ray’s Lift at the base of Sundance Resort. That home was built by the late movie producer and financier Jake Eberts, whose credits include Redford’s “A River Runs Through It” as well as “Chariots of Fire,” “Gandhi,” “Dancing With Wolves” and “Driving Miss Daisy.”
Adell’s longtime real-estate agent, Roy Laycock, was taken aback when his client first suggested going the bitcoin route. He didn’t know much about bitcoins; just that they were digital and fluctuated in price, with many skeptics believing they have no value.
“I didn’t have any thoughts on their utilization in real estate,” said the 81-year-old agent who helped Adell buy both houses. A call to a real-estate hotline yielded no help — “I was told I was the first Realtor to call about bitcoin,” he said — but his research convinced him that the digital currency could be the wave of the future and enough people were eager to get in on that action early.
“I draw an analogy between this and credit cards,” said Laycock, an agent with Engel & Volkers in Park City. “The first credit card, Diner’s Club, received the same kind of resistance when it came out back in the 1950s.”
Now that he’s helped Adell find a title company that will exchange bitcoin into dollars “the minute they pay Kevin,” Laycock said, they’re comfortable moving forward. “All we need is a buyer.”