Thursday, April 27, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Neighbors' dispute ends with buyout

Seattle Times staff reporter

A lawsuit against Seattle Mariner executive Chris Larson, filed by neighbors over persistent dust and noise from the renovation of Larson's mansion in The Highlands, has been settled.

Larson, who made his fortune as an executive at Microsoft, ended the dispute by buying the neighbors' home for $2.1 million, according to King County property records.

The modest - by Highlands standards - 4,100-square-foot home, formerly owned by Richard and Becky Allen, is adjacent to three tracts owned by Larson and his wife, Julia Calhoun, in the guarded and gated community in Shoreline on a bluff above Puget Sound.

Along with renovating their 32-room mansion, with its grand ballroom and 10 fireplaces, Larson and Calhoun have undertaken a massive landscaping project with a man-made stream, Japanese garden and turtle island.

They have also added an underground, 24-car garage with sport courts on top of it.

Becky Allen, contacted yesterday, confirmed the sale of her house to Larson but declined to provide details of the settlement.

"I can give you no information. I won't give you any information," she said.

Attorneys for Larson and the Allens also declined to comment, citing a confidentiality agreement.

The Allens sued Larson and Calhoun last year in King County Superior Court, saying the three-year construction project in and surrounding Larson's mansion, named Norcliffe, had disrupted their lives and devalued their property.

Becky Allen complained that Larson and Calhoun were absentee owners during the construction, while the Allens endured the rumble of as many as 60 dump trucks a day passing by their home. Dust clouds, she said, made it impossible for them to use their swimming pool, and the din of the project was unabated from first light until dusk.

At one point before the lawsuit was filed, Larson offered to buy the Allens' home but would not pay their asking price of 50 percent more than $2.6 million, the value according to an appraiser for the Allens.

Records of the King County assessor put the home's assessed valuation as of last June at just under $1.5 million.

Larson also refused to pay the Allens $9,000 a month so they could live elsewhere during construction.

Work on Larson's mansion has been under way for almost four years, with final inspections not expected until next April. The home he is renovating may be the signature estate in the old-money, 380-acre enclave, which has housed families with such names as Boeing, Stimson, Wright and McCaw.

Mike Carter's message number is 206-464-3706. His e-mail is

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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