The Grand Experiment

107 Meadow Road, just listed by broker Monie Sullivan, for $6.995M, but there's a catch!

107 Meadow Road, just listed by broker Monie Sullivan, for $6.995M, but there’s a catch!

Oh Em Gee, was I not just talking about the preservation of older houses in Riverside?

No sooner does my post hit the streets (figuratively) than along comes this listing of 107 Meadow Road!  With 3.2 acres at the end of hyper-valuable Meadow Road, spectacular high views over Greenwich Cove, and priced at $6,995,000, my first reaction was it’s underpriced by about $5,000,000.

But then I noticed the “Declaration of Conservation Easement”…

A great lady, Donna Brace Ogilvie, owned this place, or maybe had “life use”? not positive. Anyway, she or someone before her, perhaps old Donald C. Brace himself,  put this amazing restrictive easement on the house and property.

How amazing is it? Get a load of this excerpt from the covenant:

“Only the existing residential dwelling, for single family use and occupancy, with all improvements related thereto, shall be maintained upon the Property…”

Click the link below to read the entire 8-page Easement, but the long & short of it is, you cannot change anything on the exterior of the existing house, and you cannot add any additional buildings.

Listing broker Monie Sullivan definitely had her hands full coming up with an asking price, but I think she’s nailed it. There’s no question the easement restrictions shaved millions off the value, but at $6.995M, I think more than one buyer will step up.

Here’s the actual easement language:



Alternative listing link, in the event the one above gets de-activated:

107 Meadow Road


14 thoughts on “The Grand Experiment

    • D:
      Hold on, whilst I review the &@%#-ing EIGHT PAGE easement language….
      Ok, I’m back. So here’s the exact language: “No remodeling, demolition, additions and/or improvements shall be made to the EXTERIOR of the residence”.
      Got it? Go ahead and swap out the window air conditioners (i.e. install central a/c!).

      • Anon:
        The issue is, what can the Greenwich Land Trust allow the new owner to do without putting their endowment at risk. Apparently they have been advised by their lawyers that they must enforce the restrictions TO THE LETTER, so…well…this is going to be a challenge!

    • Doof:
      Maybe so, by golly. But I guess, back in 2001 (the date of this restrictive easement), Mrs. Ogilvie looked around and didn’t like what was happening to the look of her neighborhood and decided it wasn’t going to happen to HER property! Nantucket does essentially the same thing, hasn’t hurt THEIR property values, has it!

  1. Remember Leona enriching Trouble? Using that same scenario, I think the heirs have a good platform to void the easement, should they want to enrich themselves.

    • Flashed:
      Blogger Chris Fountain mentions the existence of “1,000 years of British common law” regarding property easements. My guess is that there’s a bit less settled law regarding idiotic bequeathments to pets…

  2. Conservation easements were/are often put on for reasons including but not limited to the resulting estate tax savings — which can be substantial. Back in 2000 when this easement was created, the estate tax exemption was, I believe, only $675,000 with a 55% tax rate. Hence, it made great sense to create these easements to significantly reduced the estate tax burden. Given all the additional restrictions, this person had other reasons in mind as well. My guess, though, is that without the estate tax savings, this easement would not have been created, let alone discussed, at all.

    • Friendly:
      I couldn’t agree more that the punishing estate tax we had back then was a major motivator for people to devise ways to avoid or lessen its impact. But as you say, “this person had other reasons in mind”. My contention is that preserving the look of her neighborhood was her ONLY motivation. I’ll ask around tomorrow at the broker open house and see what I can dig up (or I’ll ask Senator Scott Franz, he’ll know!)

    • Don:
      Nope, I disagree. I admit this multi-page deed restriction is a HUGE impediment, but someone smart will figure out a way to work with it and then snap up the bargain of the century.

Comment (anonymously, if you wish) On This Post....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s