Laura Bush's press secretary, Sally McDonough, said Thursday that the Bushes purchased a home in the Preston Hollow area, where some of the state's wealthiest residents live in some of its most expensive houses.
"We picked out a house, but we don't have occupancy of it. So as soon as we do, we'll announce exactly where it is," Mrs. Bush told NBC News on Thursday. "We're looking forward to that."
While the White House has declined to disclose the address, local property records indicate that Robert McCleskey, a Bush family friend from Midland who has done accounting work for the family, recently bought an 8,500-square-foot house with a market value of $2.1 million on a cul-de-sac with about a half-dozen homes.
McCleskey is listed as a trustee on the ranch-style brick house on Daria Place, and he said the house was bought Oct. 1. He said he could not say for whom the home was purchased.
Property records list other homeowners in the neighborhood as Tom Hicks, owner of the Texas Rangers who has a $32.3 million mansion adjacent to the cul-de-sac, billionaire T. Boone Pickens and Republican donor Harold Simmons.
"If he moves next door, we'd love it," Hicks said. "The Secret Service would make the neighborhood safer!"
The president is buying his post-White House home at a time of falling real estate prices and lowered mortgage interest rates.
A parade of reporters, TV news trucks and curious onlookers drove past the home on Thursday. A gate at the top of the driveway affords some privacy to the four-bedroom house, which was built in 1959 and has a wide front yard and dark shutters. The home also has four and a half bathrooms, a wet bar and a fireplace.
Property records indicate the gable-roofed home is in very good condition. The total estimated taxes on the property for 2008 are listed at $43,984.
Christine Tomasides, a mother of two and corporate contract writer who lives a half-block from the home, said she knew something was up about a month ago when black SUVs began rolling into the neighborhood. Secret Service agents often use such vehicles.
"It all makes sense now," Tomasides said.
She described the neighborhood as peaceful, quiet and a place where people stay out of each other's business. She said she'd never seen as much traffic as there was on the street Thursday. Tomasides welcomed her new neighbors -- and the heightened security they'll bring.
"Laura Bush seems like such a fine person, and I can't imagine anyone not wanting her as a neighbor," Tomasides said. "And him, too, regardless of your political affiliation."
The Bushes previously lived in Dallas from December 1988 through January 1995, before moving to the Texas governor's mansion in Austin. The Bushes will continue to spend time at their ranch in Crawford, McDonough said.
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