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You'd Take a Bath on This Buy

December 06, 1987|ANN CONNORS

At $1,945,000, Dallas homeowner Bernice Shanbaum figures her nine-bedroom, 17-bath home is a steal, although she'll have to get back to you on the bathrooms--she can't remember how many the mansion has. "I'd have to count them. Oh, that's too much trouble," Shanbaum said. "I think it's 12 full baths and five half-baths. That's a lot of johns." The penchant for bathrooms was her husband's, Shanbaum explains. Theodore Shanbaum, the co-founder of the Lee Optical chain, never wanted to go without after growing up in a Chicago tenement in which six families shared a single bathroom. Shanbaum first put the house--which has 30,000 square feet, outdoor and indoor pools, a sauna, barbershop and parking for 75 cars--on the market in 1983 for $2.75 million. But finding buyers who share Shanbaum's enthusiasm for "early 1960s creativity" has been a challenge. While the blond paneling and turquoise wallpaper are as pretty to Shanbaum as on the day they went up, others find the house dated. "It's got a case of the uglies," said Jack Williams, the real estate agent handling the home. "But the potential is tremendous. At $1,945,000, I'm thinking that somebody could come in there and sit on that for a year or two and make a buck."

--Bah, humbug! say fire officials in San Antonio to complaints over a new city fire code prohibiting natural Christmas trees in public places. "We're going to be Supergrinch," said San Antonio Fire Marshal Steve Worley about enforcement of the code, arguing that the cut trees quickly dry out and become a fire hazard. The San Antonio Museum Assn. has already had to dispose of a $500 tree it shipped in from Michigan and one church was forced to dispose of eight firs.

--When April rolls around, Thor will wake up. It's as predictable as the cold winters of Minnesota. But before then, the City Council in Bloomington, Minn., may decide to make life miserable for Thor and his keepers, Charles and Deborah Crosby. Thor is a 450-pound black bear who went into hibernation a few weeks ago. However, the Crosbys have been ordered to remove the sleeping bear within 90 days because of a "non-domestic animal ordinance" that took effect last April. Charles said 3-year-old Thor "would be extremely angry" if he were roused before his normal wake-up call. The Crosbys say that they did not know of the ordinance, and they are asking the council for an extension. In the meantime, council members Monday night will raise the issue of whether it will allow a sleeping bear to lie.

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