Real Estate / Houses

Astros Owner Jim Crane and Cinema Arts Star’s Former Home Hits Market With $18 Million Asking Price

Broadacres Stunner Has Hosted Many Memorable Parties Under Franci Neely's Direction

BY // 01.06.20
photography Jeff Meyers Photography

When philanthropist, attorney and activist Franci Neely welcomed more than 100 well-situated guests to a lavish holiday party in December, few if any were aware that this would probably be the last major bash in the Broadacres dwelling that she once shared with her ex-husband, Astros owner Jim Crane.

The couple moved into the grand 19,000 square foot home in 2011, having worked with architect Jay Baker to create a magnificent Moroccan-inspired villa that would see a regular schedule of ladies power lunches and beautiful evenings, many of them with the full Astros owners contingent seated at the vast dining table. Likewise, those vested in the Houston Cinema Arts Festival, of which Neely is a founder and board chair, have broken bread in one of the various rooms suitable for entertaining.

Alas, not all stories have happy endings and the Cranes split with Neely taking possession of the South Boulevard house.

With an equally imposing home in Nantucket and an apartment in New York, Neely has put the mansion on the market for $18 million. DeeDee Guggenheim Howe of Compass has the listing at 1314 South Boulevard.

Special amenities include a gourmet kitchen, where Neely a noted chef in her own right has charmed the palates of numerous guests, though her penchant has been for a French chef to create scrumptious menus for friends. The kitchen opens to an expansive space that serves as both breakfast room and family den.

1314 South Blvd_DSC4281 (Photo by Jeff Meyers Photography)
The patios are Moroccan inspired. (Photo by Jeff Meyers Photography)

Further enhancing the home are the five wood burning fireplaces with gas connections, a wine room, two staircases, a courtyard swimming pool and spa, outdoor kitchen and fire place, and stone, carpet and hardwood floors. The palatial master suite includes a walk-in closet, safe room, beverage center and a limestone en suite bath with a soaking tub, steam shower and double vanity.

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In addition to the main house with four bedrooms, five full baths and two half baths, the residence features a full-blown guest house that is simply too grand to be called quarters.

The neighborhood could not be any more chic with its historic designation and residents such as power brokers/cultural leaders Phoebe and Bobby Tudor and Suresh and Renu Khator, University of Houston System chancellor and University of Houston president. Eighteen of the 26 houses in Broadacres were built between 1923 and 1930, developed by then young attorney James A. Baker Jr. and his father, Captain James A. Baker.

Scroll through the photo gallery below this story for more of an inside look at this Broadacres stunner:

A Contemporary Community That Exalts
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