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Thursday, July 24, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Bill Gates Set To Sell Old Home To Family Friend

Seattle Times Eastside Bureau

MEDINA

There won't be a "For Sale" sign swinging in front of Bill and Melinda Gates' house when they move to their new high-tech estate.

The couple already have found a buyer for the $8 million Medina mansion they now call home: family friend and former Burlington Northern Railroad Chairman Gerald Grinstein.

Grinstein's wife, Lyn, says they're ready to move into the 14-room, waterfront house just as soon as the Gateses are ready to move out. That could happen sometime this summer or fall, she says.

"I may put a sign on the waterfront saying `Bill has moved' with an arrow pointing up the shore," she joked. "I don't think we'll be as interesting."

Built in 1941, the Evergreen Point Road mansion once was home to former SuperSonics star Jack Sikma. Bill Gates bought the place from Sikma in 1993 for $8 million. He and his wife have lived there while overseeing work on their nearly finished $65 million estate a few blocks away.

The Grinsteins have had their eye on the mansion for quite a while. They lived just across the street for years before moving to Fort Worth, Texas, home of Burlington Northern's headquarters.

So when Gerald Grinstein retired last year and headed back to Seattle, he struck a deal with Gates.

"The timing seemed right," Lyn Grinstein said. "Of course, it has taken a little longer than anticipated (for them to move out), but they're trying their best."

In the meantime, the Grinsteins are renting a home nearby.

Lyn Grinstein politely declined to say how much the house will cost. She did say the couple plan to make some changes.

"We aren't sure what we will do with it," she said. "We might remodel, we might start over again."

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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