Posh properties: Built for $30 million, Kansas mansion with scuba diving tunnels and more up for auction

·4 min read

If you are looking for a European-inspired, castle-like mansion, complete with a maze of water-filled subterranean tunnels used for scuba diving, this estate could be yours for a fraction of the estimated $30 million it cost to build.

“The Spirit of Avalon,” named after the legend of King Arthur, is a one-of-a kind 15-acre luxury estate perched on the western side of Lake Quivira at 5225 Renner Rd., in northwest Johnson County. The estate, currently listed for sale for $5.75 million will be auctioned with no reserve beginning July 23 and ending July 28 by a luxury real estate auction company based in New York.

“The auction company, Concierge Auctions, is encouraging people to put an opening bid before the July 23 start date,” said Katie Casey, a real estate agent with Crown Realty, who is listing the home with her father, real estate agent Gary Hosack.

“On the night of July 22, the owner will decide where to open the auction based on those opening bids.” Appointments can be made to tour the property, said Casey. A $100,000 bidder deposit will be required for those interested in bidding.

The 17,755 square-foot home, features seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, seven half-baths and several commercial kitchens. It was custom built in 1993 for businessman Dennis Langley, a gas company executive and lawyer, and his wife, Lynette Shaw. “It took about two-years to build the house,” said Casey.

The estate features views from nearly every window and is situated on a heavily landscaped property with terraced gardens, statues, water features and miles of paved walking, running or golf cart trails that traverse the property. “It’s like an arboretum, it’s so beautiful,” Casey said.

Langley, who, at one-time, was the chief speech writer for then-Senator Joe Biden, was a scuba diving enthusiast. Beginning in the late 1990s, Langley spent an estimated $10 million on improvements which included the addition of scuba diving tunnels, a grotto and a 35-foot high waterfall, which pours into a spectacular 30-foot deep pond stocked with koi, catfish and bass. “You can fish, swim or cliff dive into the pond,” said Casey. “It took about two to three years to build the grotto and the tunnels,” Casey said. “Inside the grotto is a swimming pool.”

Langley died from injuries he suffered after a fall while pruning trees on his estate in 2017. His widow has downsized and is now selling it.

“The home features seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, seven half-baths”, said Casey. She said the property was originally listed for sale for $11.8 million in September of 2019 and is now priced at $5.75 million. “Kansas City does not have any comps of this nature,” she said, noting that it is a unique property that is being marketed world-wide.

Casey said it took about two-years to build the house. In 2002, a large, two-story library was added. The 6,440 square-foot library, where books are shelved by the Dewey decimal system, features expansive floor-to-ceiling bookcases, hand-carved dragon doors, ornate stained glass windows and a large stained glass dome. The home also features large entertaining spaces, a guest house, media center and theater room, as well as basketball and volleyball courts. A hot tub, sauna, steam room and wet bar are also incorporated into the home.

The primary bedroom features a Sistine Chapel-like hand-painted mural of the hand of God, while another room features a mural of the first image taken from the Hubble telescope.. “The whole house just draws you in,” Casey said.

“Some antiques are built into the home,” said Casey. She said a carved Spanish piece from the 1490s will stay with the home. “There is also a pulpit from the Salem witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts, that will sell with the home.”

Many of the antiques, fine furnishings and personal property that filled the estate were auctioned in 2019, making way for the property to be listed for sale.

“From the original purchase price to all the updating they did, they’ve put almost $30 million into the property,” said Casey. “We’re thinking the opening bid will be around $2 million, but there is no way to really know it.”

The house has been marketed everywhere possible, said Casey. “We’ve had people from Colorado, executives from Kansas City and people from Thailand come to look at the house. It’s definitely gotten some global attention.”

Using the auction method, Casey said the auction company has had a lot of success in selling properties of this caliber across the U.S. “It seems to be working and they are getting a lot of people every day.” The auction runs through July 28.

Watch the video above for a tour of this mansion.