Velma Morrison’s opulent Boise Bench manor known as “Camelotview” has been sold. Former pro basketball player Bill Wendlandt and his wife, Calie, bought the house and plan to make it their family home.
Wendlandt was drafted by the NBA’s Denver Nuggets in 1984 and played in Europe for a time. He’s now a commercial real estate broker.
“The bones of the house are amazing,” Wendlandt says. “It’s built like a commercial building. Everything is bigger. Walls are stronger. There’s a commercial elevator. Everything was done first class.”
Velma Morrison, the widow of Morrison Knudsen Co. co-founder Harry Morrison, built the 12,703-square-foot house in 1992 on Crescent Rim. The estate sits on an acre above Ann Morrison Park, named for Harry Morrison’s first wife. MK was a Boise-based civil-engineering and construction company, famous worldwide its work on monumental projects such as the Hoover Dam, Johnson Space Center in Houston, and many others.
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Velma Morrison led the drive to build the 2000-seat performing arts center at Boise State University that is named for her, and she was a benefactress for causes in the arts and the environment statewide.
She loved to entertain and hold benefits in her home, showing off the view of the city from its rooftop patio.
After her death in 2013, her family put the house on the market, but it did not sell. In 2016, the family donated it to the Treasure Valley Family YMCA through the Harry W. Morrison Foundation. The donation terms designated that the proceeds of the sale would go to toward the construction of the YMCA’s South Meridian facility.
When the Wendlandts first looked at Morrison’s home, they were struck by its history and its connection to the YMCA, an organization close to Wendlandt’s heart.
“I grew up going to the Y in Austin (Texas),” Wendlandt says. “That’s where I learned to play basketball and about teamwork. I learned about coaching and responsibility. I got a great value on the house, and I can help people.”
Basketball has been a huge part of Wendlandt’s life. He played through college at the University of Texas, Austin, before being drafted by the Nuggets. Today, he’s a commercial real estate broker, investor and entrepreneur. He also runs Hoop Zone, a Texas-based nonprofit that teaches life skills through basketball.
The Wendlandts met in Coeur d’Alene and married in July. They’ve decided to live in Boise, which is Calie’s hometown. She has two teenagers, and Bill has two kids who are in college in Texas.
Several developers looked at the property with the intention of perhaps tearing the home down. This is the best possible outcome, says YMCA Chief Executive Officer David Duro.
“It means so much to the project. This gift makes it possible for us to commit to construction to go vertical this spring,” Duro says.
Wendlandt declined to reveal the exact amount of the sale, but says it was close to the asking price of $1.9 million.
The home has four bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a 12-car garage and an elevator.
“It’s just perfect for our family,” Wendlandt says.
The couple plan to keep the integrity of the home’s design and structure, but will modernize with new colors, flooring and update the kitchen.
As Wendlandt learned more about Velma Morrison, it became important for him to also preserve the spirit of the house.
“It would have been a shame if someone had bought it and tore it down,” Wendlandt says. “I really respect its history and the place it holds in the community. It’s a really special place. I’m looking out the door, and I can see the mountains and the city. It’s so beautiful. You couldn’t draw anything better.”