The Real Reason This $6.5 Million Mansion In Tennessee Is Being Torn Down

The largest house in Tennessee and 84th largest in the U.S., known as Villa Collina, is being torn down this week. The sprawling mansion, which covered 40,000 square feet and contained 86 rooms, was a known landmark in the Knoxville area. The property was purchased in October 2021 by a group under the name of LView Properties, LLC for $6.5 million. Plans for the mansion's demolition began quickly after. In December, two auctions were held. The first, to sell all of the contents in the fully-furnished home, and a second for structural components, according to Sharon Bailey, the representative for LView Properties.

Though many are sad to see Villa Collina go, new beginnings are on the horizon. Its 8.2 acre lot is set to be transformed into three separate properties. "Unfortunately, the house has proven itself impractical as a single-family residence," Sam Furrow, owner of Furrow Auction Company, told Knox News. The demolition alone will cost an estimated $147,652, according to the permit obtained by Total Demolition Services Inc. in Knoxville, WBIR reports.

Originally built throughout the '90s and into 2000, Villa Collina has been sold four different times in the past decade and was the site of many lavish parties and fundraisers throughout the years. Below, we'll take a look inside the opulent home and its 25-year history.

Inside Villa Collina

Located at 5628 Lyons View Pike in Knoxville, Villa Collina featured eight bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, five half baths, a three-story library, wine cellar, fitness center, spa, and home theater (via Zillow). Its $5 million master suite was featured on HGTV's "Million Dollar Rooms." The suite's huge price tag could be attributed in part to Swarovski crystal chandeliers and door knobs that are worth an estimated $200,000. 

The Tuscan-style villa featured a variety of Italian marble accents and a white marble fireplace. Pete DeBusk, chairman of Lincoln Memorial University, bought all 77 of the home's marble columns in the auction, and plans to give them on a new home on LMU's campus, according to a WBIR news report.

Many of the home's eight bedrooms faced the Tennessee river and featured large bay windows to take advantage of the property's incredible views. The home spa featured an indoor swimming pool, sauna, and hot tub. Other perks included commercial elevators on each floor, a six-car garage, guest suite, and staff quarters.

Outside Villa Collina

Perhaps the most notable part of Villa Collina is the land that it occupied, as noted by Zillow. The waterfront property is nestled in the upscale Lyons View neighborhood of Knoxville. It features stunning views of the Tennessee River and Great Smoky mountains, all while being only a few miles from downtown Knoxville and the University of Tennessee. In fact, the drive into downtown will take you less than 15 minutes, providing great access to restaurants, nightlife, museums, and concert venues.

Taking full advantage of the incredible property, the mansion featured a hillside patio with an infinity pool overlooking the river. The patio created plenty of space for lounging and greenery. A number of balconies connected bedrooms and living rooms to the back of the home, providing additional outdoor space and views. The estate also had a great deal of privacy, sitting on 8.2 acres of land and gated from the rest of the neighborhood.  

Behind Villa Collina's history and future plans

Construction on Villa Collina began in 1993 and lasted seven years before being completed in 2000. The original owners were Mike and Deane Conley of equipment company Regal Corp. According to Zillow, the house was sold in 2011 for $8.5 million. It was then purchased by Eric Barton in 2016 for $6.5 million. Barton put an estimated $3 million into remodeling the home, and it was then listed for its highest price of nearly $15 million in 2018. 

However, the property has had a history of legal issues. In 2021, a woman named Erica Elliott filed a false lien and prevented the sale of Villa Collina for months. When the court found that Elliot had no grounds for filing the lien in October 2021, the sale to the current owners went through for $6.5 million. Representatives for LView Properties say that once demolition is complete, the property will be divided into three plots of land for three different residences for the owners, and that the owners have no plans to resell the land.