Mystery Mansion Rises in the Ozarks

Forbes

Pensmore Mansion, under construction in the Ozarks will be one of the nation's largest homes when it opens in 2013.
Photo: Pensmore LLC

You’ve probably heard of the 56,000-square foot Spelling Manor that just sold to billionaire heiress Petra Ecclestone or the 43,000 square-foot Fair Field estate belonging to billionaire industrialist Ira Rennert. You may even be familiar with the palatial pads that some real estate developers have built in the hopes of finding wealthy buyers like Alpine, N.J.’s $68 million Stone Mansion or England’s Updown Court (which now faces foreclosure).

Here’s another huge home to put on your real estate radar: Pensmore. Pensmore, the Ozarks mountain estate being erected in rural Christian County, Missouri, will garner bragging rights as one of America’s largest homes upon its projected 2013 completion. The chateau-style mansion will encompass an estimated 72,000-square feet on its secluded plot of more than 500 acres. It will include 13 bedrooms, 14 baths and an assortment of outrageous amenities.

Slideshow: Mystery Mansion Under Construction
Slideshow: Mystery Mansion Under Construction

The New York Times and others have reported that Pensmore has been fueling a flurry of rumors, leading some locals to speculate it would be used as a military bunker and still others to imagine Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie might claim it as a residence. The impetus behind the construction project, however, is perhaps a little less titillating.

“We are in the process of building both a home for my family and, more importantly, a living laboratory for energy-efficiency and disaster resistant technology for years to come,” states Steven Huff, chairman of TF Concrete Forming Systems and Pensmore’s owner, via email. Huff, who plans to use the mansion as a secondary home, wants Pensmore to be the first major energy efficient, environmentally sustainable single-family residence of this caliber. It will also be earthquake and tornado resistant — a huge boon given the devastation tornadoes have been wreaking in areas like Joplin, MO. earlier this year.

A rendering of what Pensmore Mansion will look like upon completion in 2 years.
Photo: Pensmore LLC

How does Huff plan to accomplish this vision? For starters, the mega mansion is composed entirely of concrete. Green Bay, Wis.-based TF Forming Systems is a manufacturer and distributor of insulated concrete forming systems, a building medium used in construction projects throughout the country. The company is also “the chosen forming system and builder of Pensmore,” according to TF Concrete Forming System’s website. This estate is not only an opportunity to experiment with new technologies, it’s an opportunity for Huff to showcase the concrete company’s products.

Started nearly two years ago, the huge home’s concrete shell is reinforced with “Helix” steel fibers produced by PolyTorx, and Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company that focuses exclusively on developing the Helix products. The twist-shaped fibers, first developed at the University of Michigan, act as an added guard within the building’s structure against natural disasters like major earthquakes and F5 tornadoes, promising to keep occupants safe and the building standing.

Pensmore is built completely from concrete and Helix steel fibers.
Photo: Pensmore LLC

Huff is also incorporating alternative energy sources into Pensmore’s construction, most notably solar power, rainwater collection, and geothermal energy. The home’s heating system will rely primarily on stored solar heat energy, as well as geo-thermal heating and wood-burning using trees grown on the property. Whom Huff hires to employ these technologies has yet to be announced.

Huff has yet to disclose the purchase price of the land, tucked away between Branson and Springfield, or the cost of construction. Right now he wants curious citizens to be more interested in his vision for the estate, recently creating a website to ensure curious citizens know what that is.

“Once the rumors die down, we are confident that the ultimate takeaway will be a scalable model for everything from private homes to the schools, hospitals, libraries and office buildings of the future, here in the U.S. and around the world,” asserts Huff. Stay tuned for updates, including a private tour when Pensmore is further along in its building process.

Click here to see more photos of the Pensmore mansion.

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