OKOBOJI, Iowa — The house known as Peace Harbor on West Lake Okoboji has no equal in the area.
Or in the state of Iowa, for that matter.
At $12.8 million, it is the most expensive house for sale in the state.
Listing agent Eric Hoien, who has had it on the market for about a year, said no matter who tours the property, the same word eventually surfaces: Wow.
“I’m not the kind of guy who overstates things,” said Hoien, the owner of Hoien Realty. “But I’ll say this: Prepare to be amazed. And that doesn’t even come close to touching it.”
Business owners Tom and Molly Bedell built the house in 2004. Bedell, a Spirit Lake, Iowa, native, is the son of former U.S. Rep. Berkley Bedell, who founded Berkley Fly Co. Bedell expanded the business, then known as Pure Fishing, before selling it in 2007.
In their Okoboji property, the Bedells created a one-of-a-kind space for entertaining and hosting fundraisers with celebrity guests, Hoien said.
The house is more than 24,000 square feet, including a separate caretaker’s cabin. There are nine bedrooms, 16 bathrooms, six fireplaces and enough space to park 10 vehicles. The artwork was commissioned for the house, and a nautical theme is brought to life with blue Brazilian marble throughout the property.
“After 10 or 11 years, it’s still effectively brand-new,” Hoien said. “It’s a very well-constructed home.”
It’s also high-tech, wired so that a home owner can control all of the lights, drapes and locks through a single point. Music can play throughout the house or in certain rooms.
There’s a theater room with its own concession area and a caterer’s kitchen. It has an elevator and an art studio with two potter’s wheels and a kiln.
Oh, and it has a pub.
“I jokingly tell people, ‘Some have a wet bar in their home, not too many have a pub,’ ” Hoien said.
Dubbed Kevin O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub, Bedell and the house’s design team created it following a trip to Ireland.
The property includes 178 feet of lakeshore frontage. The Bedells have started other businesses out of state: Two Old Hippies, which sells guitars, apparel and gifts, and Bedell Guitars. They aren’t in Iowa enough anymore to justify the house, Hoien said.
“It’s not that they don’t love the property, but it doesn’t make much sense,” he said.
The property wasn’t easy to price, Hoien said. It started at $14.9 million.
The next closest comparable house would be on Lake Minnetonka, Minn., where there is a listing for one house at $24 million and another at $11.9 million.
If Peace Harbor sold at the current asking price, it would be 2 1/2 times more than the highest sale ever on West Lake Okoboji.
“That being said, we’ve always set new levels, and we always will set new levels,” Hoien said.
Hoien, an Okoboji-area native, followed his father into the real estate agency, which was founded in 1952. While he watched the market take a hit in the late 2000s, he said overall housing values have returned to pre-recession levels “and in some places eclipsed it.”
The market has gone from a 60-month supply of houses in the range of $800,000 to $1.5 million to an inventory of less than a year’s supply, he added.
“At one time, there were 72 or 73 properties for sale on West Lake (Okoboji), and now it’s probably down to 26 or 27,” he said.
As for selling Peace Harbor, Hoien said it will take more market exposure. He has had 10 to 15 personal showings.
“It’s a pretty select group,” he said. “(It will take) somebody thinking it’s probably the smart thing to do.”