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June 2010


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REAL ESTATE

Deeds & Don'ts
By Lily Oliver

INSIDE STORIES BEHIND AREA
REAL ESTATE DEALS

Given the sad state of the 2009 real estate market, we were thrilled when Greenwich was able to pull off its first $20 million deal, albeit at last year's end: the sale of fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger's estate, called Stone Hill, reduced from $27.5 million.

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RIDE ON (click photo for larger view)

We'll take it as a sign of good things to come that Greenwich has already reported its first big deal of 2010, another sale involving the peripatetic designer: Hilfiger (who in the past couple of years sold his East Hampton home, as well as a Plaza Hotel duplex to Mariah Carey, no less) is rumored to have purchased the spectacular Hirshhorn estate—so called because it was once owned by Joseph Hirshhorn of Washington, D.C., museum fame—on 22 acres with views of both the Manhattan skyline and the Long Island Sound. Listing price is $33 million; purchase price, not yet public. Greenwich has also recorded a deal struck for the sale of actor Mel Gibson's 75-acre Old Mill Farm. At press time, neither buyer nor price had been disclosed, so we can only pass along the fact that Gibson had dropped his asking price some $10 million, to $29,750,000—and the rumor that the developer who purchased the property intends to carve out multiple lots.

Happily, Greenwich isn't alone in getting its groove back. In Westport, for instance, we hear that the sale of the modern home owned and renovated by interior designer Mar Silver (which CTC&G featured in full in March), is due to close at $4.5 million after just a few months on the market. In Litchfield County, one of the Marcel Breuer–designed homes, known as Stillman II, also sold (it was listed with Klemm Real Estate for $1,650,000). Best of all, new listings are coming onto the market with a sense of optimism not felt for some years now. Here are a half-dozen of our favorites, from the Long Island Sound to the Berkshire Hills.

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TEARDOWNS ARE UP
Economic measures are often odd, and here's proof. One surefire controversial indicator of a resurgent real estate market: The number of applications filed for permission to demolish is on the rise. The Wall Street Journal singled out Westport as having finally, blessedly reclaimed its status as a "teardown town." At the market's peak in 2005, 110 demolition permits were granted—at a rate of nearly two properties going down every week—compared to half that figure last year. But there's also been an increase in permits issued during the first half of 2010 as newly confident developers look to snap up still-undervalued parcels for spec homes. Pictured above is a soon-to-be-demolished circa-1975 Colonial on Westport's prestigious Minute Man Hill.

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