Greenwich is known for its mammoth mansions, but now the tony Fairfield County enclave can claim another privilege of its affluence: the highest listing price of any home in the country.
The owners of Copper Beech Farm are asking a whopping, $190 million for the 13,500-square-foot main house with 12 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms. The listing price sounds more like California than Connecticut, and it’s well above the $150 million Candy Spelling dared to ask for “The Manor” in Los Angeles a couple of years ago, according to Zillow.com.
The 50-acre Greenwich estate off Indian Field Road has 4,000 feet of frontage on Long Island Sound, not to mention access to two private islands.
“There are some wealthy people in this world,” David Ogilvy, of David Ogilvy & Associates in Greenwich, which has the listing, said. “They want the best.”
See a gallery of photos of Copper Beech Farm here.
The asking price is driven largely by the land, which is divided into two parcels that can be subdivided, Ogilvy said. A 30-acre parcel that doesn’t include the Victorian-style mansion could be subdivided into as many as 15 lots, he said.
Visitors enter the estate via an 1,800-foot driveway which leads to two stone towers that flank the main entrance. The entrance room and stairway climbs three stories with a fireplace. The mansion includes a living room with carved fireplace, a solarium, an oak-paneled library and a master bedroom suite with a sleeping porch.
On the extensive grounds, there is a 75-foot heated swimming pool with 14 sides, an octagonal pool house and a grass tennis court. A stone carriage house now serves as a garage and still has milking stalls dating from the estate’s construction in 1898.
The estate was built by the Lauder Greenway family, which had ties to Carnegie Steel. Its current owners John and Laurie Rudey bought it 31 years ago, according to online records. John Rudey is a timber tycoon who leads companies such as Timberlands Services Co.
Ogilvy said there hasn’t been a similar-sized estate on the market since 1952, and that property has since been subdivided for redevelopment.
“The opportunity to own this extraordinary 50-acre waterfront estate in sought after Greenwich is unique and will not present itself again,” an online listing for the property coos.
The Copper Beech Farm listing crushes the highest asking prices in Connecticut. They include $33 million for the former Greenwich estate of actor Mel Gibson and $30 million for the seaside home of the late actress Katharine Hepburn in the Fenwick section of Old Saybrook.
And it easily tops the $125 million for a 5-bedroom, 7.5-bath penthouse on three floors of the The St. Pierre Hotel on Park Avenue in Manhattan and Versace’s former, 10-bedroom, 11-bath home in Miami Beach, listed for $100 million.
As eye-catching as the asking price is and for all the attention is garnering, it isn’t clear a buyer will come close to paying that price.
In 2011, The Wall Street Journal reported that the $100 million paid by Russian investor Yuri Milner for a French chateau-style estate in Silicon Valley was believed to be “the highest known price paid for a single-family home in the U.S.”
And even Candy Spelling had to settle for far less than her $150 million asking price, agreeing to sell Spelling Manor for $85 million to the heiress of the Formula One auto racing empire.
A commercial real estate broker with two decades of experience — much of it in New York City — is joining RM Bradley’s Hartford office.
James Kelly will assume the duties of senior vice president and focus on leasing for tenants and landlords.
Prior to joining RM Bradley, Kelly ran an independent brokerage JPK Realty for the past three years, covering Connecticut and New York.
Previously, Kelly launched Lincoln Property Co’s first New York office in 2002, serving as vice president of operations; and he was with the downtown New York office of Cushman & Wakefield for nine years.
A real estate developer who pursued the building of a casino in eastern Massachusetts for five years is back as part of the Foxwoods-led consortium now competing to open that casino.
Colorado developer David Nunes has rejoined the consortium’s lead development team after resolving a dispute that erupted earlier this spring with the other partners. Nunes founded Crossroads Massachusetts LLC and acquired land in Milford, Mass. for the construction of a casino.
Nunes will serve as chief development officer in the Foxwoods-led partnership.
Other members of the lead development team are: Scott Butera, Foxwoods president and chief executive, and Allan Kronberg, who has 40 years of experience in the hospitality, casino and educational industries. Kronberg, who will serve as president and general manager of the Massachusetts venue, has served as regional general manager of Tropicana Entertainment Casinos, among other posts.
A $368 million health technology park — anchored by a cancer treatment center — could create as many as 2,500 jobs to north central Connecticut in the next five years, the project’s developers say.
The developers of ProTech Park said they are seriously considering multiple sites in Enfield and others north of Hartford for the research and development facility. The facility could that could eventually encompass a half a million square feet, according to Boston-based International Charged Particle LLC, the developer and operator of the cancer treatment center.
The park would be anchored by the state’s first proton therapy center for treating cancerous tumors. Construction could begin as early as this fall and patients start receiving treatment within two years, Stephen E. Courtney, ICP’s president, told me this morning.
Courtney declined to identify the sites now under consideration, except to describe ICP’s first choice as now being “a field.” Purchase negotiations have already taken place, he said.
The cancer treatment center would be about 75,000 square feet in size and cost about $150 million. Nearly half of the cost — $64 million — is for equipment and its installation, Courtney said.
In addition, there are at least two other potential tenants for the park — one interested in 90,000 square feet and another, 40,000 square feet — though Courtney declined to name them.
“In this park, it’s all related to medical technology,” Courtney told me. “We hope it will help in the areas of applied science, medical device development and precision engineering.”
See more renderings of the Connecticut Proton Therapy Center here.
Courtney said the cancer treatment center is expected to employ 216 initially, with jobs such as oncologists, physicists and technicians. The average salary will be about $102,000, Courtney told me. That’s nearly double the $53,760 statewide average, according to government statistics.
Mohegan Sun’s plans for a $775 million resort casino in Palmer, Mass. include shopping, dining and entertainment space that would be more than twice the size of its Connecticut venue, the casino operator said today.
The plans include 300,000 square feet of retail space compared with 130,000 square feet at The Shops at Mohegan Sun, according to spokeswoman Cathy Soper.
Mohegan also said today it will partner with Boston-based Finard Properties to develop the retail portion of the resort casino. Mohegan said it hopes the partnership will bolster its efforts to obtain a casino license for western Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is expected to issue one license for the region, and there are competing proposals for Springfield and West Springfield.
Finard, a commercial real estate firm, specializes in retail development.
“The portfolio of hugely success of hugely successful Finard Properties’ development is spread literally throughout every corner of New England and beyond,” said Mitchell Etess, chief executive of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. “Their creativity and expertise will be a huge asset to our application for the western Massachusetts gaming license.”
A spokeswoman said design of the shopping area and securing of tenants won’t begin unless Mohegan secures the license.
The retail plans for the resort are separate from ones announced earlier this month by Northeast Realty Associates for land adjoining the 152-acre casino site. Those plans include retail space, a hotel, a lifestyle center and office space, according to a report in The Day of New London.
The former Joseph R. Ensign House — a three-story, Renaissance Revival structure in the center of Simsbury – has been sold to an investor group for $1 million.
Chestnut Hill Associates of Simsbury LLC acquired the 17,000-square-foot building at 690 Hopmeadow St. from Webster Bank, which had used it for office space and a branch, according to RM Bradley Brokerage Co., the sole broker in the deal.
Webster moved out of the space in November and has relocated the branch nearby to 708 Hopmeadow St.
RM Bradley said Chestnut Hill Associates has not revealed its plans for the building but “have expressed their intention to maintain 690 Hopmeadow Street’s historic presence in the center of Simsbury.”
Chestnut Hill Associates could not be immediately reached for comment.
The house was built in 1910 for Ensign and his wife, Mary Phelps Ensign, according to historicbuildingsct.com. Joseph Ensign had followed his father, Ralph Hart Ensign, as president of the Ensign-Bickford Co.
According to the web site, the house was first used in 1955 as the parish house for First Church which is across the street.
A $2 million grant will help two community-based organizations in Connecticut expand their services to homeowners facing foreclosure.
Community Renewal Team and the Urban League of Southern Connecticut are partnering in using the grant to hire 10 housing counselors to advise property owners in danger of losing their homes. The counselors will be in offices throughout the state for the next three years, CRT said.
The one-on-one counseling will build on foreclosure prevention programs now provided by the organizations, such as group workshops.
CRT will provide the counseling in Litchfield, Tolland, Windham, New London, Hartford and Middlesex counties. Urban League will operate the program in New Haven and Fairfield counties.
The funds are part of the state’s share of last year’s $25 billion landmark settlement with five national mortgage servicers over shoddy foreclosure practices. Connecticut’s share was about $190 million.
Sales of single-family houses in Connecticut fell nearly 7 percent in March compared with the same month a year ago, the second consecutive month of year-over-year sale declines, a new report today shows.
But the Warren Group, which tracks housing trends in New England, said the median sale price rose nearly 10 percent in March, to $245,000 from $223,000 a year earlier.
“Low inventory is plaguing housing markets all over the country, and Connecticut is no exception,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., chief executive of Warren Group. “With mortgage rates low and prices rising, we’re hopeful more sellers will emerge and the trend in dropping home sales will reverse.”
House sales fell in five of eight counties in Connecticut, with Litchfield County sustaining the biggest decline, falling more than 30 percent. The median sale price — where half the sales are above, half below — rose in all counties, with the exception of New London County.
In Hartford County, house sales fell nearly 5 percent, to 409 in March, from 430 a year ago. The median sale price increased 5.2 percent, to $200,000, from $190,000 a year earlier.
In the first three months of the year, single-family house sales statewide slid 3.5 percent, to 4,067 from 4,216 for the same period in 2012. The median sale price jumped 9.3 percent, to $235,000, from $215,000 in the first three months of last year.
Realtors say prices are rising despite weak sales, partly because the inventory of houses for sale is low and bidding wars are becoming more common. A dearth of houses in attractive locations that are “move-in” ready are drawing multiple bids as soon as the properties come on the market.
But realtors also say some homes are still sitting on the market and sustaining price reductions — especially if they need work.
For a true housing recovery to take place, more property owners must list their homes so the selection of homes for sale remains fresh. Some homeowners, experts say, are holding back from listing their properties because the long-term direction of prices remains fuzzy. And many property owners are staying put because job growth in many parts of the state remains lackluster.
The conversion of the old Sonesta Hotel in downtown Hartford into nearly 200 much-needed apartments could have been underway by now, if it wasn’t for one piece of financing that doesn’t normally draw a lot of attention: federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.
Investors – ranging from corporations to wealthy individuals — are usually lining up for the chance to help finance rehabilitation of historic structures in exchange for the credits used to reduce their federal taxes. But since last fall, after a federal appeals court ruling in a New Jersey case denied an investor the right to use the credit, investors have been scurrying to the sidelines until the implications are sorted out.
The tightening of the spigot is causing headaches for developers of projects like the Sonesta across the country, who depend on the historic tax credits to pull together often complex financing packages. In Connecticut alone, it is estimated that dozens of projects could be affected, according to Daniel Forrest, the state’s deputy state historic preservation officer.
Historic rehabilitation is especially critical in Connecticut – and throughout the Northeast – where a vast inventory of old buildings, especially outdated industrial properties, could be converted for new uses, Forrest told me.
The court ruling does not impact the state’s historic rehabilitation tax credit program.
“This is not just in Connecticut, but on a national level,” Forrest said. “It’s a very difficult circumstance. If no one knows what this means, they are not going to go down the road and invest.”
In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled in favor of the Internal Revenue Service in a case involving the redevelopment of the Historic Boardwalk Hall in Altantic City, N.J. into a new conference center. The court ruled that a tax credit investor — Pitney Bowes — wasn’t entitled to the credit even though it had invested $16.4 million into the project.
The court ruled that Stamford-based Pitney Bowes was not really a true partner in the project because its tax credit agreement insulated it from any risk, even if the development went awry.
The ruling is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but it is not yet known if the court will accept the case. Meanwhile, the federal appeals court ruling did not shed any light on how tax credit investments should be put together and, as of yet, the IRS had not provided guidance.
The median sale price of previously-owned single-family houses in the Hartford metro area didn’t register the gains seen nationwide in the first three months of this year, according to a new report today.
The Hartford metro area’s median sale price was $202,100 in the first quarter, flat compared $202,000 for the same period in 2012, the National Association of Realtors reported.
That compares with a 11.3-percent gain for the nation as a whole in the same period. Hartford, however, was closer to the Northeast as a whole, which inched up 3 percent.
The Hartford metro’s price was part of a larger quarterly report on 150 metro areas across the country tracked by the association.
Other metro areas in Connecticut fared better than Hartford. The median sale price in Bridgeport metro area, which includes all of Fairfield County, rose 7.8 percent, to $360,100, from $334,000 a year earlier. And in the New Haven metro area, the median rose 5.3 percent, to $203,400 from $193,100 a year ago.
Some of the strongest gains in the country are in areas such as Nevada, California and portions of the Midwest, which were hardest hit by price declines in the housing downturn.
The median rose in 133 of the 150 metro areas tracked by the association. The largest gain was registered in the Akron, Ohio metro center, at 32.7 percent. The biggest decline was in Kankakee, Ill., at nearly 19 percent.
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