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The Bushes get a new pad

NEW ADDRESS: The house in the Preston Hollow neighbourhood in Dallas, which the Bush couple is planning to move into by January.   | Photo Credit: —PHOTO: AFP

Suzanne Goldenberg

First family set for transition from White House to quiet cul-de-sac in Dallas

Washington: As their eight years at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue come to a close, George and Laura Bush have revealed their plans to move on. They have announced they have bought a house back home in Texas.

The post-presidential house, a single-storey red-brick building, is in the Preston Hollow section of Dallas, the same neighbourhood where the family lived before Mr. Bush entered politics. It is one of the wealthiest sections of the city.

The home might not have been the first choice. The couple spent months house-hunting, and even consulted prominent Dallas architect Frank Welch about the prospect of building a home, one of their new neighbours said. During a visit to a Dallas art museum in September, Ms. Bush said the couple had not found a place to live.

But now the couple appear to have settled on a four-bedroom house in a quiet cul-de-sac. The sale, in the name of a Texas accountant who is a friend of the Bush family, went through on October 1.

By the standards of the neighbourhood — and certainly the White House — the Bushes will be heading to a relatively modest retirement home. There are servants’ quarters and a detached garage and storage building, but there is no pool and no helicopter pad.

However, the couple can take comfort from the knowledge that they will be surrounded by fellow Republicans. Their new home abuts on the property of an enormous estate owned by a fellow Republican and former business partner of the President, and that is fitted with a private helicopter pad.

Property records put their new home’s assessed value at just over $2 million, but it is probably worth much more, the Dallas Morning News reported. The paper said that an adjacent house was also changing hands, probably to house Bush’s security detail.

The neighbourhood is conveniently close to Southern Methodist University where Mr. Bush plans to build his Freedom Institute, a thinktank and presidential library dedicated to promoting the policies of his administration.

The presidential library has already been the source of controversy, with newspapers raising questions about Mr. Bush’s efforts to raise funds for the personal monument to his own presidency. He has held about a dozen dinners at the White House for potential donors, the Washington Post said.

The new home is just a few hours’ drive from the ranch in Crawford, Texas, that had been the President’s original choice for a retirement home.

Ms. Laura Bush reportedly insisted on Dallas. She told reporters this week that she was looking forward to a more normal life in Dallas. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2008