What kind of home can you get in Charlotte for $16 million?
A big one, sure. But according to Charlotte businessman Ric Elias, it can come with a lot of bad — and pricey — fixtures.
Elias, CEO and co-founder of Red Ventures, and his wife, Brenda, have gone to court to have the custom-made, steel-and-glass windows and doors replaced in their 24,500-square-foot south Charlotte home. If you throw in the full-sized, indoor basketball court, the home cost the couple more than $16 million to build, according to the lawsuit they filed in the Mecklenburg County courts.
They are suing the house's Charlotte architect and builder, along with the California-based manufacturer of the doors and windows, to cover the replacement cost of what the lawsuit describes as expensive and faulty products.
The dispute involves two fixtures of Charlotte high-end homebuilding: Pursley Dixon Architecture, which the lawsuit says charged the Eliases $1 million to design their home; along with Whitlock Builders, whose portfolio of designer residences spreads across the Southeast.
The complaint accuses the companies and the window-and-door manufacturers with negligence and breach of contract, among other claims.
In a related action, the architects were sued this month by their insurer, Hanover Insurance Co., which is arguing in U.S. District Court in Charlotte that it should not be forced to cover any losses related to the Eliases' complaint.
A sizable amount of money is riding on how the courts rule.
The doors and windows alone in the Elias home added $1.2 million to the construction price tag, according to the Eliases' lawsuit. That's more than four times the cost of an average home in Charlotte.
Soon after the family moved in five years ago, according to the complaint, the exteriors of the doors and windows began deteriorating. In the fall of 2017, some insulated glass panes in the doors and windows began fogging up, apparently due to faulty seals, the lawsuit says.
The Eliases say they've already covered the additional costs of the maintenance/repair protocols. But the lawsuit says they've been left with a worsening problem that diminishes their home value, hems in their hosting of guests and events, and compromises their view of their own estate.
And that's some view.
The house, which has an assessed value of $10.5 million, rises out of a line of stunning properties, backyard pools, tiled roofs and manicured gardens that line the scenic 7th fairway of the nationally renowned Quail Hollow Club, a short pitch from the 7th green.
It's where Justin Timberlake helped Ric Elias celebrate his 50th birthday in May 2017. At the time, the singer/dancer commanded $1 million or more for private performances. It's not known whether the windows fogged up during Timberlake's act.
Red Ventures is an Indian Land, S.C., marketing and technology company. In September, it said it was buying CNET Media Group for $500 million, bringing TV Guide and other brands into the Red Ventures fold.
Elias was one of the surviving passengers on the memorable "Miracle on the Hudson" flight to Charlotte in 2009. And he's been an outspoken supporter of immigrant reform and racial equity in hiring and community building. Last year, he led a campaign to raise $10 million in hurricane relief for his native Puerto Rico, in which he pledged to personally match up to $5 million.
'Not an inexpensive fix'
Elias did not respond to an Observer email seeking comment about his legal complaint.
Craig Dixon, who is named in the lawsuit along with his architectural firm, did not reply to an Observer phone call this week. Neither did Scott Whitlock, president of Whitlock Builders.
However, Whitlock's attorney, Michelle Dressler of Charlotte, said that while her client built the Eliases' home, the company did not pick out or install the windows and doors, which she says had never been used in North Carolina before. Those decisions, she said, were made by the architects and the family.
"To our knowledge, that's the only issue they've had, and they love their home," Dressler told the Observer this week. "It is a spectacular house. Whitlock values the Eliases as clients, and Whitlock plans to do everything it can to resolve this issue."
So far that hasn't happened, five years and counting.
"It's not an inexpensive fix," Dressler said. "When you pay that much money, a buyer may have certain expectations when an item doesn't perform, and they may want more than you can give."