Say you buy a $43.5 million, 6,000-square-foot oceanfront estate on 6.5 sandy acres in Sagaponack, (in my homeland of Eastern Long Island).
What's the first thing you do? Well, if you're hedge fund billionaire David Tepper, you tear the thing down -- along with the guesthouse, swimming pool and tennis court -- to build an even bigger house.
Tepper bought the home from ex-wife of former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine. In April, he got a permit for the demolition, and yesterday, the site was cleared.
The new house will be about twice the size, with ocean views from every room, "a sunken tennis court, three-car garage, a widow's walk, second-floor decks including one with a Jacuzzi, and a covered porch," reports Hamptons Curbed.
Back here at my adopted home at the Jersey Shore, the Rumson and Fair Haven markets have seen some pretty amazing tear-downs, too. Your nominations for the most fabulous home that was torn down are welcomed. Mine would be the 80 West River Road home of Jeanne Wrightson that was torn down and replaced by the 18,000 square foot super-house built by Judy and Peter Dawkins.
Here, left, the Wrightson Estate, a French Normandy inspired home on over 10 waterfront acres with 700 feet of Navesink River frontage. The home was set on a promontory with 220 degree views of the river.
The house was reached by a long, meandering drive, past the pool and caretaker quarters. For many years I had the pleasure of weekly visits with Mrs. Wrightson and remember the U-shaped home built around a flower-filled courtyard. The all brick, slate-roofed home featured a foyer with a sweeping staircase, an 18th century French lavender marble mantle and luxurious amenities that included a temperature-controlled closet just for furs. Why not? People do it for their wine :-)
Sold in 2000 for $4,500,000, the Wrightson estate was felled to make way for the spectacular 18,000 square foot Dawkins home. The estate is now under contract, listed for $19,500,000
Above, the Wrightson Estate at 80 West River Road, Rumson
Below, the Dawkins estate at 80 West River Road, Rumson
Not all of the 100 plus tear-downs in the two small towns of Rumson and Fair Haven have been this dramatic, but they continue to dominate home sales in our market.
The trend started on the waterfront and estate lots and has spread to practically every street in Rumson and Fair Haven. The buyers are builders as well as families who want to build a custom home. Builders who had grown wary of building spec houses in the three million plus range scaled back after the market downturn. Instead, they began acquiring "lower" priced homes to level and build anew. There's a big demand for new homes in the $850,000 to $1,500,000 range and the houses sell well.
If you are in the market for a new home or are thinking of selling, I can introduce you to the builders - the best of the best - who can work with your budget. If you are thinking of selling and like the idea of an uncomplicated sale to a builder, call me for a confidential chat. You can reach me directly at 732-768-1068.