A third lighthouse in Connecticut has joined the small, exclusive club of privately-owned beacons in the state — but unlike the two others, there are no plans to use it as a home.
The Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse off the coast of the Old Saybrook borough of Fenwick, has been purchased for $340,000 by Kelly K. Navarro. Navarro snapped up the 48-foot, “spark-plug” style lighthouse through a limited-liability company, Water III, in an online auction conducted this summer by the federal government.
The 127-year-old lighthouse near the Old Saybrook borough of Fenwick is within view of two residences also owned by Navarro’s company and not far from the former estate of the late actress Katharine Hepburn.
Navarro declined the request for an interview with The Courant. But the General Services Administration, which conducted the auction, said it has been told Navarro intends to restore the exterior and badly deteriorated interior but not convert it into a home.
The move to preserve the lighthouse drew praise locally, the lighthouse being closely tied to the town’s development as a waterfront community.
“It’s a signature for the town,” Marie McFarlin, the society’s president, told me. “It’s a strong symbol about being on the water and the town’s history.”
The lighthouse also is known as the “Outer Light” to distinguish it from a conical lighthouse on the mainland nearby.
” We hope this partnership will insure this Connecticut icon endures for generations to come, said Robert Zarnetske, GSA Regional Administrator for New England.”
Two other Connecticut lighthouses that are privately-owned — Morgan Point lighthouse in the Noank section of Groton and Stamford Harbor Light — were renovated as summer or weekend getaways.
See my story about lighthouses for sale in Connecticut and what it is like to live in one.
Navarro, the wife of Benjamin W. Navarro, the founder of Sherman Financial Group, a major debt-collection firm, is now negotiating a required lease with the state on the submerged land under the Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse.
Bidding for the Old Saybrook lighthouse — rendered on some Connecticut vehicle license plates — began at $10,000 in June. There was a flurry of bidding in the last week of the auction, pushing bids from $80,000 to the high bid of $340,000, according to online bidding records.
The auction closed August 9, after drawing eight bidders and 24 individual bids.
Another lighthouse — the Penfield Reef Lighthouse off Fairfield — was expected to also go up for auction to the public this year. But damage caused by Storm Sandy may delay the auction, a GSA spokesman told me.