By Emily Hamann
The Bellingham Business Journal
It’s time to take care of business. After almost a year on the market, the owners of Lynden’s famous Bachman estate are hoping a massive price drop will finally move the property.
Last month the listing price for the sprawling 30-acre property went from $4.375 million down to $2.9 million.
“This is a substantial, dramatic drop in price,” Ken Harrison, a Coldwell Banker Bain real estate agent, said. He and his son Zach Harrison are working together to sell the property. Since it went on the market, there’s been little interest, and no serious prospective buyers.
“We are a little take aback by the lack of interest in this,” Ken Harrison said.
The Bachman estate includes a Tudor-style, 14,796-square-foot mansion with eight bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, plus a separate rec center with an eight-car garage, plus a recording studio with a star-studded history.
Randy Bachman built the house in 1975 when his band Bachman-Turner Overdrive hit it big. Bachman, a Canadian, built his house just minutes from the border, about an hour’s drive from downtown Vancouver.
Not only did Bachman-Turner Overdrive record there, first in a sound-proofed room in the house, then in the separate recording studio built on the property, but Sammy Hagar, the Beach Boys, and Frank Sinatra are also said to have spent time there. The giant wooden gear, the overdrive that inspired the band’s name, hangs as a chandelier in that first recording studio, now converted into a den.
It’s rumored that George Harrison spent a summer in the house’s third-floor suite.
It was repossessed just a few years after Bachman built it, after the divorce from his first wife turned into a lengthy court battle.
Since then, it has lived many lives. It has been a bed and breakfast. It spent time as a rehabilitation facility, when new walls went up, and and intercom system connected all the bedrooms.
“It looked very institutional,” Ken Harrison said.
Then 12 years ago, Andrea and Jim Clay purchased the property for $1.8 million.
“That place was blessed to have the Clays purchase it and just give it a life,” Ken Harrison said.
They remodeled house, tore out walls to restore the open floor plan. They added a small lake to the front of the grounds, and built the barn that houses the garage. In addition to having room for more than eight cars, the barn’s downstairs also features a two-lane bowling alley, complete with ball return, pin resetting machine and scoreboard. Upstairs is the full-size indoor basketball/volleyball court.
The recording studio, with its prestigious history has been left alone, and its 70s era carpet and built-in vinyl seating has been preserved, with records hanging on the wall from artists who recorded there.
Apart from the gardens, lawns, lake and the three buildings, the rest of the property is mostly untouched.
“In the back of it there’s another 15-20 acres of nothing but woods and trails,” Ken Harrison said.
Immaculate gardens and lavender fields decorate the front of the main house. At the back of the house, a wide patio, complete with fountain, opens up to the indoor swimming pool and hot tub and the massive kitchen (which is across the hall from the second, butler’s kitchen). Each suite inside the house has a distinct, ornately decorated theme, although paintings of dogs, beloved by the current owner, decorate walls throughout the house.
“They brought it back to life,” Zach Harrison said.
While they lived there, the owners allowed nonprofits and local organizations to use the mansion for fundraising and other events.
Now the Clay’s have downsized, and the next stage of the estate’s life is ready to begin.
“We really see it being a corporate retreat,” Ken Harrison said. It also lends itself to being a bed and breakfast, wedding venue, or some other kind of income property.
“You’d need help running the house,” Zach Harrison said. While it was a residence, the caretaker lived next door. In total, three people work to keep the property maintained.
“It’s a mansion,” Zach Harrison said. “It takes a very particular person to want to run it.”
Trying to sell the property has posed some interesting challenges.
“We were trying to price this, and there’s no comps for this,” Ken Harrison said.
They shoot all their own photos, and they’ve spent days at the estate, shooting photos, video, and collecting drone footage.
“This thing has been a blast to market,” Ken Harrison said. “But it’s time to move it.