It appears even paradise has limits when it comes to asking price.
Katharine Hepburn’s storied, seaside home in Old Saybrook — which the Oscar-winning actress once described as “paradise” — is back on the market at a reduced asking price of $14.8 million.
The price is for Hepburn’s home and a third of the 3.5-acre estate purchased by owner Frank J. Sciame and his wife Barbara for $6 million in 2004, a year after the actress’ death.
The Sciames subdivided the estate into three lots and pursued an extensive top-to-bottom renovation of Hepburn’s house. The renovations included raising the entire house 5-1/2 feet to guard against flooding.
Most recently, the entire, 3-lot estate had been on the market for $30 million. But Sciame had pulled the shoreline property off the market last year, after two years and no offers to match the asking price.
Sciame told me today the lot with Hepburn’s 8,500-square-foot house was now “priced to sell.” Even though marketing in recent years had been focused on the entire property, the main house was available for $18 million.
“After 10 years, it’s time to move on,” Sciame, a Manhattan-based developer, said. “We always bought it as an investment property, and we decided the best return on investment would be selling as three lots.”
See a gallery of photos from the Hepburn estate.
The Sciames originally had planned to sell the renovated estate as soon as the work was done, but they kept it as a summer house for several years because it became a family favorite.
Sciame is nearing completion on a 3,000-square-foot beach house on the lot to the east of the main house. The Sciames intend to keep that house, at least for now, and they are pursuing approvals to build on the third lot.
Sciame said he believes the three lots — at one time marketed as having potential for a “family compound” — will eventually fetch the $30 million he had been asking, or even more.
The sale of the property has run into a slow market for expensive homes that followed the most recent recession. Recently, however, sales have picked up in exclusive markets in Fairfield County, most notably Greenwich.
The Hepburn House came on the market Friday, according to Colette Harron, a real estate agent at Sotheby’s International Realty in Essex.
“I’ve already had some calls from Los Angeles,” said Harron, who has the listing.