Is Kenny Chesney the proud new owner of a $9 million home? This and more in Headline Homes, our monthly roundup of sky-high real estate deals 

Topped by one of Middle Tennessee's priciest home sales in at least a decade, this month's list of headline homes comes in at the highest aggregate total value since this column first appeared in February 2008. December's top ten sales added up to $27.1 million, beating out July's $25.2 million.

December is generally a slow month for the residential real estate market, but for whatever reason, high-end home sales in and around Nashville have been especially robust in the past two Decembers. Total sales value for December 2008 came in at $22 million.

As always, there are intriguing folks among the purchasers of these palaces. We know that much by the fact that at least two buyers, and possibly a third, used trustees involved in the entertainment industry to keep their identities out of the public record. We've had no luck so far in nailing down who some of the true buyers are, but if we find out after publication, we'll update the online version of this story accordingly.

Largest single-family home transactions recorded in Davidson and neighboring counties in December 2009, ranked by dollar value:

1. 414 Lake Valley Drive, Franklin, 37069

Buyer: Jess Rosen, trustee
Sale price: $10 million
Builders/sellers: James C.D. and Rhonda G. Franks
Agents: none of record, though Rhonda Franks is owner of Battle Ground Realty

Builder Jimmy Franks, chief manager of Old South Construction LLC, dubbed this Tuscan-style villa "Bella Luce." If published photos of the hilltop manse are any indication, the light is beautiful indeed, whichever way it shines upon a promontory with a 360-degree view of the Williamson County countryside. Just let the builder's website sing the song:

"The massive great room offers breathtaking sunset views, with bookend fireplaces that rise 25 feet to meet the handcrafted Douglas fir trusses. This private estate has 5 bedroom suites, 7 full baths, a gourmet kitchen with fireplace, a theater with stadium seating, billiards room, exercise room, lookout tower, six-car garage, and a magnificent, outdoor, infinity-edge pool and full-body spa."

It sounds, and looks, exquisite. And the private gate, not to mention the "lookout tower," will certainly come in handy next time the peasants of Brentwood take up pitchforks and set out to eat the rich.

Trustee Jess L. Rosen is a partner with the Atlanta-based entertainment practice of national law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP. According to published reports, though, the true buyer may be none other than country superstar Kenny Chesney. Greenberg Traurig's musician clients have included Chesney as well as Alan Jackson (whose own Williamson County spread is on the market for $38 million), Brad Paisley, Clay Aiken, Sheryl Crow, Christina Aguilera and Lil' Kim. In 2005, Rosen served as trustee for the purchase of an Antioch home by former American Idol contestant Bo Bice.

The list price for the 30-acre Bella Luce property was $12.9 million. The main parcel with the home sold for $9.25 million, and the buyer picked up an adjoining seven acres of land for $755,000.

The transaction ranks among the most expensive single-family home sales ever in the Nashville area. In 2007, country singer Tanya Tucker sold her house on 500 acres of farmland in Arrington to developers for nearly $11.5 million, and billionaire Todd Wagner bought a 207-acre tract along Hillsboro Road for roughly the same amount that year. But the most comparable sale of an existing home is probably the $7.5 million purchase in 2005 of the old Sam Fleming place in Belle Meade by Julie and Thomas F. Frist III, which preceded a comprehensive remodeling of the residence.

2. 1641 Whispering Hills Drive, Franklin, 37069

Buyer: Kevin D. Montgomery, trustee
Sale price: $3.14 million
Seller: Reliant Bank
Agents: none of record

This mansion in the gated Laurelbrooke community, off Vaughn Road, appears on our list for the second month in a row. In November, Reliant took title to it for $3.08 million after foreclosing on the proprietor of Nashville-based Brian D. Shaw Trucking LLC and his wife. Williamson County property records indicate the house was built in 2008 and contains almost 11,900 square feet of living area.

There are no clues in the public record as to the identity of the homeowner represented by Montgomery, a Nashville lawyer.

3. 828 Windstone Blvd., Brentwood, 37027

Buyer: Rocky D. & Jean S. Tannehill
Sale price: $3 million
Builder/seller: Classic Design Homes Inc.
Seller's agents: Caye Beaver Davis and Alison Davis (Keller Williams Realty)
Buyers' agent: Tim Kelly (Zeitlin & Co„ Realtors)

This new 11,200-square-foot home in the Windstone development features six bedrooms, seven full bathrooms and three half-baths.

Rocky Tannehill is an entrepreneur involved in Christian-oriented social media ventures, including Zoecity Software Inc. His family has chosen Nashville as its new base, relocating from the Seattle area.

"After a three-year search, we chose to relocate in Nashville because of the positive, pro-family environment," Tannehill said when contacted via Facebook. "We are happy to be here!"

Classic Design, headed by builder Ronald W. Davis, listed the spec home last summer at $3.6 million. It spent 65 days on the market before selling at a discount of 17 percent.

4. 4408 Iroquois Ave., 37205

Buyers: William W. and Emily K. DeCamp
Sale price: $2 million
Sellers: Robert W. and Emily F. Kitchel
Agents: none of record

The Kitchels, parents of Emily "Mimi" Kitchel DeCamp, sell their longtime home within their family.

5. 4413 Warner Place, 37205

Buyers: J. Page and Nina H. Davidson
Sale price: $1.67 million
Sellers: Jeffery C. and Shawn L. Factor
Sellers' agent: Jeanie Barrier (Pilkerton Realtors)
Buyers' agent: Mimi Kitchel DeCamp (French Christianson Patterson)

Bass Berry & Sims partner Page Davidson and family move into this home near Belle Meade Country Club.

6. 9599 Liberty Church Road, Brentwood, 37027

Buyers: Edward T. and Wendy Clydesdale
Sale price: $1.6 million
Seller: MDREA Inc.
Agents for both parties: Patricia A. Carter and Nancy Torrans (Zeitlin & Co. Realtors)

Ed Clydesdale is president of CNI Distribution in Nashville. The wholesaler serves sellers of Christian books and other merchandise.

7. 5105 Cornell Court, Brentwood, 37027

Buyers: Charles and Beverly J. McQueeney
Sale price: $1.59 million
Sellers: Jan D. & Nancy R. Faggioni
Sellers' agent: Judy Ann Scully (Crye-Leike)
Buyers' agent: Shelly Broward (Prudential Woodmont Realty)

8. 3418 Trimble Road, 37215

Buyers: Kelly Bennett and Stephane Braun
Sale price: $1.52 million
Builder/seller: A & K Enterprises LLC
Seller's agent: Amanda Wachtler (Pilkerton Realtors)
Buyer's agent: Rita S. Puryear and Trudy Byrd (Fridrich & Clark Realty)

This new Green Hills home is the work of architect Sharon Pigott and contractor Rogan Allen, who also teamed up on the contemporary chateau a little ways down Trimble that Kings of Leon bass player Jared Followill bought in November.

It went on the market on Feb. 3, at a price of $1.85 million, and 276 days passed before it was under contract.

Buyers Bennett and Braun are married. Braun is a plastic surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

9. 1003 West Main St., Franklin, 37064

Buyer: The Gruntles Living Trust
Sale price: $1.33 million
Sellers: Gary K. and Michele Cooper
Sellers' agent: Andy Beasley (Brentview Realty Company)
Buyers' agent: John Fairhead (Village Real Estate Services)

We have had no luck finding out who the real buyer is, but he, she or they ought to feel thoroughly gruntled as they settle into the Turley-Faw House, a well-preserved and updated Victorian home that has been a regular stop on downtown Franklin home tours. Victor Wlodinguer, a New York City CPA specializing in the music business, is the trustee.

10. 5 Strawberry Hill, 37215

Buyers: Cheryl R. and Kenneth L. Sears Jr.
Sale price: $1.28 million
Seller: Larry Peach, as executor of the estate of Idanelle "Sam" McMurry
Seller's agent: Emma Roy (Worth Properties)
Buyers' agent: Richard B. French (French Christianson Patterson)

Kenneth Sears and his wife Cheryl, both anesthesiologists in Franklin, purchase the former home of longtime Harpeth Hall Headmistress McMurry, who passed away in November.

Check out www.tinyurl.com/headlinehomes to see Headline Homes for every month since January 2008—an ongoing chronicle of life at the tippy-top of the local real estate market. And be sure to send your tips about Nashville-area home activity to tom.wood@nashvillepost.com.

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