Thursday, January 15, 2009

Replica White House for sale.

The replica of W’s desk still sits in the Oval Office beneath the Iranian and American flags. The seal of the president of the United States still adorns the floor mats across the hall from the zebra-skin rug. And the porch overlooking the 75-car parking lot is still called the Truman Balcony.

But soon enough, change is coming to Fred Milani’s replica of the White House, an outsized casualty of the national housing crisis.

For the last seven years, almost as long as President Bush has been in Washington, Mr. Milani, an Iranian-American home developer, has lived in a scaled-down version of the presidential mansion in Atlanta. A private Xanadu for Mr. Milani, a headache for neighbors and a destination for camera-wielding gawkers, the 16,500-square-foot home has become a kooky symbol of this boom-boom city’s ever-growing residential skyline.

But now, like the current occupant of the real White House, Mr. Milani is planning to leave his home.

“I still do not want to sell,” he said. “But I will.”

Last month, Mr. Milani, 57, placed his house, in the North Druid Hills neighborhood, a few miles northeast of downtown, on sale for $9.88 million.