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Wayne Gretzky may be the greatest hockey player ever, but his skills off the ice playing the real estate game remain to be seen: The NHL Hall of Famer has just listed his mansion in Westlake Village, CA, for $8,195,000.
This isn't the first time the hockey legend has tried to unload the property. Records show that Gretzky tried to sell it in January 2014 for $10.5 million. So that means the price has dropped a whopping $2.3 million, which seems like a bargain for buyers but probably a bummer for The Great One. What gives?
At first glance, the home seems to have a lot going for it. The five-bedroom, six-bathroom, Tuscan-style villa is palatial. After driving into a courtyard graced with a fountain, guests set foot in halls with high, coffered ceilings and numerous chandeliers.
The 8,711-square-foot home also boasts a gym, outdoor kitchen, sauna, and a massive pool. Near the fireplace is Andy Warhol's portrait of Gretzky gripping a Titan, his signature hockey stick. Who knows, maybe he'll throw that into the deal if a potential buyer is a fan.
Given all these amenities, why has Gretzky struggled to score a buyer? Maybe it didn't get in front of enough eyeballs the first time around, but the listing agents are prepared to fix that problem.
"We're going to market this worldwide," says Nicole Van Parys at Engel & Vlkers, which has also put together a video of the home. "Canada is all over this; Wayne is a superstar there, even more so than in the U.S. This is not your average chateau. This is some seriously good taste. It's also geared to a family, which is unusual." (Gretzky has five kids with his wife, actress Janet Jones.)
Real estate agents viewing the listing say Gretzky is doing everything right, and that it probably won't be long before someone bites.
"It has all the right elements of a 'professional athlete/celebrity crib' and neighborhood -- private, secluded, restricted access," says Cara Ameer, an agent in Ponte Vedra, FL. She attributes the delay to the fact that "luxury homes can often take time to cultivate the right buyer. In a city like Los Angeles, there is an abundance of choices, from homes overlooking the ocean to sweeping city views. A buyer in this kind of price range is likely uber-selective about finding the right location first, and then finding just the right house. It is a delicate fit of putting the pieces of the puzzle together."
Agents also say the recent price reduction could help Gretzky, because it shows he's serious about selling. But some think the price hasn't come down quite enough.
"He's still probably a million dollars overpriced of where it actually needs to be," says James Harris of The Agency (and of Bravo's " Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles"). "Properties out in Lake Sherwood are not selling because it's a very different market. These are second- and third-home buyers, and they're just not fetching the prices they were. Most second- and third-home buyers are purchasing in L.A."
The home's decor (or at least the photos of it) could also stand for some sprucing up.
"The photos give the appearance that some of the rooms are too crowded with furniture and may need some lightening in terms of the colors on the walls," says Paige Elliott, an agent in Park Cities, TX. "They may need a stager to go in and take new photos."
Still, there's no question among real estate professionals that Gretzky's fame will draw buyers rather than drive them away, as can sometimes happen when a celebrity owner's presence within their home is too overpowering (hello, Michael Jordan).
"Gretzky's fame is not a hindrance to this transaction, because this home -- unlike Michael Jordan's -- has a broad appeal to buyers in the luxury price range," says Wendy Flynn, an agent in College Station, TX, for Keller Williams. "If he followed the 'Michael Jordan' route, there'd be a full-size ice rink with Gretzky's face emblazoned on the ice. Thank goodness this home does not have that!"