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:

Click to access meadowrdeasement.pdf



Do We Have To Just GIVE This Stuff Away?


562 Riversville Road, just closed at $1,670,000. Take a look at all you get for that relatively small sum, and there’s more like this one, still available! List: Amanda Miller  Sell: Erin Murphy

Ok, that last post might have been a bit… sarcastic. And for the record, KJUS is, according to their web-site, pronounced (I kid you not) “Shoos, rhymes with juice”, got it?

But back to real estate… What’s it going to take to get you people to accept the backcountry again? Does a half-price sale sound appealing? Because that’s essentially what is going on. No, you won’t be able to walk to the damned train station (you big baby) but in exchange you’ll get sprawling acres of lawn/woods/trees, swimming pools, tennis courts, guest houses, the ability to NOT be able to observe your neighbor’s daily comings and goings (hooray!), and a genuine feeling of living in the country, remember that feeling? It’s nice.

Speaking of Riversville Road bargains, this baby started out way back when at $7,590,000, now down to $4,995,000. 5 acres, beautiful house, lawns, pools, tennis courts, western-facing sunsets, what a package! Click on the address for the full picture.

636 Riversville Road, a Greenwich bargain. List: Fran Ehrlich

, $4.995M, a Greenwich bargain. List: Michele Klosson

Oops, looks like WordPress has added nuclear fall-out to my homepage again! oh, wait a sec, that’s supposed to be snow, is that it? Charming!

Barry Sternlicht vs. Gideon Fountain


82 Doubling Road, Greenwich, came on this week for $5,995,000. Gideon predicts a quick sale...we shall see, shan't we? Listed by: Leslie McElwreath

82 Doubling Road, Greenwich, came on this week for $5,999,000, Gideon predicts a quick sale. We shall see, shan’t we?
Listed by: Leslie McElwreath

As we all read this week,Starwood Capital’s own Barry Sternlicht is down on Greenwich, possibly because he’s been trying to sell a property or two and is encountering difficulties. But is it really as bad as he says? Mr. Sternlicht’s done famously well for his investors, and, after all, Starwood’s focus is real estate, but is he an expert on Greenwich, CT? No, he ain’t.

And I’m not disagreeing with him about the ongoing destruction of the Connecticut economy by Hartford politicians and their “public service” unions; we are heading down fast, presently one notch above Puerto Rico.

But guess what? California’s doing the same thing, none worse than San Francisco, where taxes are practically raised hourly. Yet San Fran’s real estate continues to chug along. Can it last forever? Hell, no! But continue, it undeniably does.

For the nonce, then, my view of Greenwich real estate is simple: If you price it right, buyers will suddenly appear. In fact, I saw a house this week (featured above) that I believe was well-priced and will therefore sell immediately. Let’s watch and see if I’m right.

The “Pizza Hut” Building Comes Back On The Market

24 & 28 Meeting House Road, asking $4.995M. BYO bulldozer. Listed by Joe "Call me Joe" Barbieri!

24 & 28 Meeting House Road, asking $4.995M. BYO bulldozer. Listed by Joe “Call me Joe” Barbieri!

Smart-alecks dubbed this place the “Pizza Hut” years and years ago. Why, the red roof? The stucco exterior? Who knows. Anyway, back in 1997, a builder named Licata purchased the 8.3 acre parcel (in the 4-acre zone) for $1,250,000. He got pretty far along, getting about 50% completed, when we had one of our periodic crashes, this one called the “dot-com crash” of 2000, and everything ground to a halt for a while.

The rest of the market recovered quite nicely after that, but somehow, this place stayed the same. My guess is it was mired in litigation between various owners and lenders, but in any case, it has sat up there in Greenwich’s backcountry, untouched, for SIXTEEN YEARS.

But the thick tile roof protected it, and the truth is, it’s really not so bad. One could actually finish this place and have an impressive 14,000 square foot palace.

But one will not do so, I’m afraid. Nope, the whole thing’ll be scrapped, a terrible waste of building materials and labor, but that’s the way these things go sometimes.

By the way, the site is spectacular; it’s big, wide space, and you’re really aware that this is one of the highest points in Greenwich. It’s a “top of the world” feeling.

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.







The Cheapest House In Greenwich

107 Halstead Avenue (way, w-a-a-ay west, mere inches from the Port Chester line, fetches $340,000!

107 Halstead Avenue (way, w-a-a-ay west, mere inches from the Port Chester line, fetches $340,000!

Too late, this baby has sold! Still, it amazes me you can get an actual house in this town for well under $400,000. And it’s not like this one got snapped up.

Nope, it came on for $419,000 back in July, got one big price reduction in November, down to $350,000, made a deal in January, and has now closed at the bargain price of $340,000.

I suppose out-of-towners would smirk at my use of the word “bargain” for this charming little dump on .18 acres, but gosh-darned it, it sounds cheap, doesn’t it??

Listed by: James O’Brien

Sold by:  Richard Breglia

Alternative link to 107 Halstead Avenue

(Listing office Raveis)

Will you get hosed buying a spec house?

264 Riverside Avenue, Dec. 2010, sells for $3.735M. June 2015, gets $4.4M.

264 Riverside Avenue, Dec. 2010, sells for $3.735M. June 2015, gets $4.4M.

The answer is no, obviously, but for some reason this myth persists. Truth is, buyers often make a profit when they buy and sell a spec house. Why, because they decorate it with nice furniture, wall paper, art work, etc., and that adds value!

Builders finally figured this out and now, many won’t show their new house until it is finished and staged. Smart.

Here are some fresh examples of successful re-sales of former spec houses:

264 Riverside Avenue    new: $3,735,000    used: $4,400,000.

17 Hendrie Avenue       new: $3,775,000     used: $4,100,000.

20 Marks Road             new: $3,327,000.    used: $3,325,000.

8 Dempsey Lane            new: $6,930,000     used: $7,375,000.

47 Shore Road             new: $3,250,000     used: $4,250,000.

Note: If the above links become de-activated, I’ll replace them with Zillow links. In the meantime, click “history” box (on non-mobile devices), top of listing, to get the full story.


Only In Greenwich: An $11M Bargain

465 Round Hill Road, $10.995M. Top-of-the-world setting, nice.

465 Round Hill Road, $10.995M. Top-of-the-world setting, nice.

Well, dammit, it is. I’m talking about 465 Round Hill Road, which started out at around $13M four years ago. Now, three or four listing brokers later ,it can be stolen for $10.995M!

Think I’m crazy, do ya? Well, how’s these for comps:

435 Round Hill Road (about three doors away, closed for $20M, Nov. 2009)

2 Wooddale Road (came on last week at $11.995M, bam! got a quick deal)

More importantly, though, is this: The owners of 465 Round Hill Road did something interesting and smart, they de-decorated the interior somewhat. Nothing wrong with the previous look, in fact, I loved it (the listing photos still show it), but now, most of the curtains are gone, the wallpaper’s been eliminated, and everything looks clean and stream-lined, much like 2 Wooddale, come to think of it.

Hard to imagine needing to spruce up an $11M house in order to appeal to “younger buyers” (a perfect starter home for the little darlings!), but I think that was the motive here, and it works.

Listing broker of 465 Round Hill Road: Joanne Mancuso

45 Baldwin Farms South: Now Will You Buy It?

45 Baldwin Farms South, now $4M, come on!

45 Baldwin Farms South, simply spectacular house,  now down to $4M, come on!

Note: This is not my listing!

Rightly or wrongly*, 45 Baldwin Farms South, on a crisp and brilliant January day in 2008, hit the market at $9,750,000. Back then, a few warning clouds (like dropping volume) were appearing on the horizon, but overall, Greenwich real estate was still looking pretty good.

Yep, in the winter of 2008, there was still time to sell your backcountry property, even at an “ambitious” price, and do quite well. There were always limits, of course, even in the best days of the market; overprice too much, and you’d sit, dead in the water. But at least you were sitting in a rising market!

Sadly for this property, and many, many others, sitting around after September 2008 was particularly damaging. For the first time in decades, the Greenwich market was actually falling, so if you began overpriced, you grew more and more so with each day. Classic Greenwich-seller lines like “I don’t need to sell,” and “All it takes is one,” or (my favorite) “I’ll wait for my price,” fell on the deaf ears of a spooked and shrinking market.

Six years later, here we all are, and the good news is?…lots of things have recovered! The stock market, for one, and Greenwich real estate, too, at least, parts of it: Riverside, Old Greenwich, Belle Haven, central Greenwich, all pretty much back to 2007 levels. Mid-country? Not so much. Backcountry? Definitely not, although I predict that 2014’s going to be very good for these two sections. Hesitant buyers may well end up wishing they had taken advantage of these last remaining bargains!


A Real, Live, Greenwich “Bargain”?

The difficulty in deciding whether a particular property in this town is indeed a “bargain”, or at least, a good deal, is that, within our 48 square miles of territory, there are dozens and dozens of different neighborhoods and zones, ranging from Field Point Circle’s fabulous 2-acre, waterfront zone, to the little slivers of property, as small as .09 acres, off  Byram’s Delavan Avenue, in the R-7 zone, where the minimum lot size is required to be 7,500 square feet (except when it’s even smaller!). 

Consider this: A nice, square 1-acre building lot on Riverside’s Club Road would sell for what, $3,000,000 or more? But go one and a half miles away, to Cos Cob’s “Dandy Drive” (off Nifty, corner of Spiffy) and you find that a beautiful acre (with a nice tear-down thrown in) can be had for a mere $785,000!

Check out 44 Dandy Drive, which closed Friday.

And here’s the street history for Dandy Drive, where the highest sale price so far has been around $2.5M. Club Road, on the other hand, has hit $8.675M.

So is the Dandy sale a “bargain”, or simply a reasonable price for that lot on that street?

List:  Anthony Chimblo

Sell:  Ted Thaxter 

44 Dandy Drive, asks $799,000, gets $785,000.

44 Dandy Drive, asks $799,000, gets $785,000. Here is Bing Maps aerial view of the property. Little known fact: Dandy Drive begins in the R-12 zone, then jumps to the R-1 zone.