107 Meadow Road: Bargain Of The Century?

107 Meadow Road, Riverside. Started at $6.995M, just closed at $3.7M. List: Monie Sullivan. Sell: Ann Simpson. Note: if the damned Houlihan link doesn’t show photos, try this one, from (the idiots at) Zillow: https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/107-Meadow-Rd,-Riverside,-CT-06878_rb/?fromHomePage=true&shouldFireSellPageImplicitClaimGA=false&fromHomePageTab=buy

A century’s a long time, a lot can happen in a hundred years, but I’m prepared to bestow the title of “Bargain Of The Century” upon this (heavily deed-restricted*) spectacular house and property right now.

107 Meadow  Road, former home of Mrs. Donna Brace Ogilvy, closed this week for $3,700,000. To give you an idea how cheap that is, consider the sale of 70 Meadow Road, a few doors away, which fetched $6,350,000, back in 2012. For that, you got a, um, imposing, classic old Tudor mansion on 2.1 acres in the R-20 zone. Naturally, the Tudor was torn down faster than you can say Jack Robinson, and THREE building lots were created. Each now has a spanking-new mansion sitting on it (one sold last month for $6,2000,000).

70 Meadow Road sold in 2012 for $6.350M. It quickly became three building lots.

Beginning to get the picture? That 2.1-acre parcel yielded three building lots. How many lots could you have carved out of Mrs. Ogilvy’s? With 3.21 acres in the R-20 zone, you’re about an inch short of SEVEN BUILDING LOTS, so, to be conservative, let’s say the Town allowed five lots. Properly configured, all of those lots, measuring around 28,000 sq. ft each, would have had great, high-elevation views of Tod’s Point and Long Island beyond.

So what would five 28,000 square foot lots, with beautiful water views, at the end of hyper-valuable Meadow Road be worth? A bare minimum of $2,500,000 each. Would a builder have paid $12,500,000 for the whole thing? Who knows. But surely $10,000,000 would have been a no-brainer. The difference, therefore, between true market value and the value after Mrs. Ogilvy laid down those restrictive covenants was at least $6,300,000!

When you have bought one of the most impressive properties in Riverside, that includes a classic, high-ceilinged mansion, the inside of which you can improve any way you see fit, and you save yourself $6,300,000 in the process, you have gotten a bargain.

 

* The actual deed restrictions run 7+ pages or so, but here’s the gist of it:

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

And here is the entire list of restrictions, if you feel like plowing through it:

https://gideonfountain.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/meadowrdeasement.pdf

 

 

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What’s Become Of The High-End Market?

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2 Pierce Road, Riverside: asked $12,000, got $11,500 1st year, $12,500 2nd yr., $13,000 thereafter. Listing agent Gideon Fountain   Renting agent: Julie Lowe.

See that rental above? It rented quickly and easily, hooray! And lots and lots of other properties in town are renting quickly and easily, in all price ranges, isn’t that wonderful?

You sense my sarcasm… I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but this business is about selling stuff. Rentals, as I’ve explained previously, are all well and good, but sales, my friends, sales, that’s why we’re here!

To be accurate, properties are selling right now at a very nice clip, but there’s a price-ceiling that we can’t seem to crack; that ceiling starts at around $4,500,000. Below that number, plenty of sales, above, almost nothing.

And it’s not just Greenwich. Fellow brokers up the line, in towns like Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, they all report the same thing, little or no high-end sales (in Norwalk, that high-end starts around $1,500,000). Perplexing.

Pictured below is what I’d call a typical sale these days. Perfectly nice house, with what I thought for sure was a smart asking price, yet it took NINE MONTHS to get a deal. Anyway, plenty of these “cheapie” sales, but not enough of the big stuff…so far.

55 Wesskum Wood (on the hill overlooking Binney Park), Riverside. Asked $2.895M, Got $2.650M. List: Heather Platt Sell: Jill Miller

55 Wesskum Wood (on the hill overlooking Binney Park), Riverside. Asked $2.895M, Got $2.650M. List: Heather Platt Sell: Jill Miller

 

 

 

Havemeyer Park Building Lot

39 Northridge Road, asked $799,000, GOT $965,000.

39 Northridge Road, asked $799,000, GOT $965,000. List: Bill Andruss. Sell: Andy Healy.

“Havemeyer Park” is on the Town of Greenwich’s eastern border, one side of Havemeyer Lane is Old Greenwich, the other is Stamford. Other streets in this neighborhood are named after famous WWII military figures, so you’ve got MacArthur Drive, Halsey, Nimitz, and Marshall. In addition, there’s Northridge Road, Old Wagon, a bunch of others.

A lot of it is zoned R-7, (FAR = .36) so even the smaller lots have plenty of building potential, plus, this has been one of the last bargain spots in town. Got the picture? No? Well take a good look at the picture above, because that little shack is a typical example of what Havemeyer Park used to be all about.

World War II ended, servicemen returned home to Greenwich, and found there was no “affordable” housing, so the Town modified the zoning for this section and authorized the building of about 100 of these nice little homes. They sold for around $15,000, (possibly funded by George Bailey of the Bailey Bros. Building & Loan Company).

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, 39 Northridge Road! Listing agent, Bill “Blabbermouth” Andruss* brought this baby on for $799,000 way back in March. Was it underpriced? Sure! Was that a mistake? Hell no! As always, underpricing worked its magic, and the end result was it closed today for $965,000, $166,000 over ask.

For that, selling broker Andy Healy’s client gets .29 acres in the R-7 zone, which means our busy little Building Department will (graciously) allow 4,547 square feet of above-ground living space, that’s a lot of house.

It hasn’t happened overnight, but over the last decade, this whole neighborhood has gained substantially, and it looks like there’s plenty more growth to come.

 

*kidding about Bill, he’s the complete opposite!

Greenwich Bargain Of The Year?

1141 King Street, Greenwich, CT, asking $2.250M, bargain of a lifetime?

1141 King Street, Greenwich, CT, asking $2.250M, bargain of a lifetime? (click on photo to expand)

19.14 acres of pastoral Greenwich meadow for a lousy $2,250,000? Sure, it’s close enough to Westchester’s adorable little airport that you could count empty seats on the commuter jets flying overhead, but still, take a look at the aerial views, this is beautiful land!

Besides the airport, you’re also mere steps away from some of the best golf courses on the east coast, and two of Greenwich’s finest private schools. This is a bargain. You said you wanted a bargain? Here it is, go buy it.

Note: It’s listed by Jean Ruggiero at Real Living, but I can’t pick it up on their damned web-site!

The Test

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19 Indian Head Road, $5.2M and an absolute bargain! Listing broker Heather Platt.

This place is the test, or maybe it’s the answer. Should you bother to renovate an older home, and will anyone buy it when you’re done?

19 Indian Head Road in Riverside came on the market eleven days ago for $5,200,000. It’s simply one of the best renovation/expansions I’ve seen and if it doesn’t get  a quick deal, I’ll be amazed and also alarmed.

Listing broker is Heather Platt, and I haven’t checked in with her lately, so it’s possible she already has a deal. I’ll find out tomorrow and update this post.

But holy [cow]! What if it hasn’t sold? What would that mean for the idea of preserving older houses? Because right now, Riverside’s got a slightly swollen inventory of beautifully renovated (or at least, preserved, in one case) antique homes, all with high ceilings, all in great locations, and there they sit, unloved.

Meanwhile, a spec house next door goes up, gets staged, and sells. Not good news for the oldies.

Just a few examples:

Every one of these Riverside beauties is spectacularly renovated (and/or preserved), yet there they sit. But show the market a shiny new spec house, with no character, no charm, no history, and bing! it’s gone in 60 seconds.

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The Next Bidding War?

24 Indian Field Road: rough shape yes, but at $550,000, it's a steal.

24 Indian Field Road: rough shape yes, but at $550,000, it’s a steal.

I drove by this place yesterday and peeked in the windows. It looks like a former occupant might have been a bit of a hoarder, there appeared to be cardboard boxes stacked to the ceiling. Oh, and according to the remarks, there is “water damage from a broken pipe”.

One could also gripe about the relatively busy street it’s on, and the proximity of the gas stations, but at $550,000, you can dismiss these petty objections! A price like that in Greenwich puts it near the bottom of our price range, so you take what you can get.

And what you get isn’t all that bad. The property is .3 acres in the R-7 zone, so that means it’s practically a double lot, and it backs up to a fairway of the Milbrook Golf Club. I stood in back yesterday and was amazed by how quiet it was. It dawned on me that this was potentially a good deal.

So what will the market think? I predict the price will be bid up by quite a bit, maybe all the way to $700,000+, who knows? And I think this was smart pricing, either by broker Julianne Ward, or the seller, or both.

Let’s watch this one and see how a (apparent) strategy of under-pricing plays out, shall we?

 

alternative link if the one above gets disabled: 24 Indian Field Road, Greenwich, CT