New house valued at $9,609,000, 2nd only to Cowpland mansion
By Michael Prentice, The Ottawa Citizen January 19, 2009
The couple's house at 688 Manor Ave. in Rockcliffe Park, completed late last year, is worth $9,609,000, assessors have decided. That puts it second only to that of neighbours Marlen and Michael Cowpland. The Cowplands' modern mansion at 234 Perley Crt. has an updated assessment value of $12,535,000.
The Cowpland residence has been controversial because of its ultra-modern look, which some traditionalists have grumbled is out of place in Rockcliffe Park, where many of Ottawa's most expensive homes are located.
The new home of Mr. Murray and Ms. Taib has a more traditional look, which blends in with older, and much smaller, houses nearby. Its construction has been the talk of Rockcliffe for months.
Well-heeled neighbours were impressed when the couple showed off their new home at a recent house-warming and Christmas party.
"It's incredible," one guest said. "It is not so much a house as a mansion. A lot of the guests were likening it to an old English manor. But it is a very new English manor."
The guest, who asked not to be identified, added: "There is marble and the colour of gold everywhere, and there must be 20 chandeliers on the ground floor. It's like a palace, really."
The home's proud owners also offered dinner for 14 at their residence in a recent auction in aid of nearby Ashbury College. The catalogue described the house as a "magnificent home gleaming with marble and gold." The prize went for $3,000.
The Murray-Taib home has cathedral ceilings throughout the ground floor, and about 12,500 square feet of living space. It takes up much of the lot size of less than one acre. It was designed by the architectural firm of Nicholas Caragianis.
MPAC's assessments are used to determine property taxes, meaning Mr. Murray and Ms. Taib will have a property tax bill of about $100,000. The Cowplands will pay about $130,000.
Like many home owners, both couples will get a bit of a break on their property taxes this year and the next two because the new assessments are being phased in over four years.
Assessors decided a home like that of Mr. Murray and Ms. Taib would have increased in value by about 14 per cent between January 2005, when assessments were last done, and January 2008, when the latest assessments took effect.
The Murray-Taib home took over the No. 2 spot from the home of Beata and Philip Garel-Jones at 120 Lansdowne Rd., also in Rockcliffe Park. Their home was assessed at $9,325,000. The couple bought it from technology multimillionaire Antoine Paquin for $8.25 million several years ago.
Michael Potter and Terence Matthews, two other technology multimillionaires, are fourth and fifth on the list, compiled by the Citizen from property rolls. Mr. Potter's property was assessed to be worth $8,443,000, about $3 million of which was in the value of land he acquired from his back-fence neighbour, the U.S. ambassador.
Mr. Matthews' home in Kanata was one of only four from outside Rockcliffe in the top 25 assessments.
The most valuable homes in Ottawa are owned by either property developers or high-tech moguls. The sole exception is Daniel Bellemare, one of the owners of Farm Boy fruit and vegetable stores. His renovation and expansion of a traditional Rockcliffe home has earned praise from residents who deplore a trend to demolish old homes in the village and replace them with much larger new houses.
Ottawa Senators hockey star Jason Spezza's new home did not make the top 25 on assessed value, even though he paid $3.75 million for the modern house on Mayfair Avenue, off Island Park Drive. The house had been listed for $6 million. The house's assessed value for 2008 is $2,316,000. That means Mr. Spezza will be getting a good deal on his property taxes, or the purchase price was high, or a combination of the two.
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See Sarawak's wealth being flaunted in Monaco as well.