Daily Archives: May 22, 2009

Money still talks, loudly

96 Round Hill Rd

96 Round Hill Rd

Brad Hvolbeck listed this house four days ago for $8.995 million and it’s reported as under contract today. Nice work, and impressive. It sold for $8.575 in 2003 and the new owners renovated it then so I doubt they’re making money on this transaction but the fact that they sold it so quickly shows what can happen when you don’t reach for the stars. It also demonstrates, as the $24 million contract on Stillman Rockefeller’s former house earlier this week did, that Greenwich continues to be a draw. If not enough of a draw to get Mad Money’s desired price of $1,000 sq. ft. for every proper residence, a draw nonetheless.

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Clay is king – or so they say

Walt Noel tries his backhandThe Wall Street Journal says that clay tennis courts and the ability to play on them are now the “in” thing on the professional circuit. The Fountain boys all learned the sport on our backyard grass court, of course, and so we are loathe to defect to such an inferior, even plebeian surface, but for some kinds of people, I’m sure it’s just fine. Foreigners seem to like it, for instance.

I raise the point not to make life easier in Greenwich for swarthy Spaniards but because I occasionally see new spec houses with tennis courts (21 Cornelia Drive comes to mind) and when I do, I wonder what the builder was thinking of.  No one in the history of the world (I exaggerate slightly) has paid extra for a tennis court – they fall into the category, at best, of “nice to have, thanks”, but that’s it. Pools are a love them- or hate them proposition and those who want them won’t buy a house that doesn’t at least have space for one. But a tennis court? I’ve never heard of one being an issue. Some hedge fund types, convinced that their darling will be a tennis prodigy (I suppose they think it will help her get into Harvard) want a court so that Biffy can work out with her personal trainer without distraction or interruption but will they pay extra for one? Not on a bet. Builders would do better to keep the money in their pocket.

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Greenwich Gossip tours the new Hamilton Avenue school

Building by Committee

Building by Committee

He is not impressed.

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Words of wisdom for Greenwich residents, adult and child

Professor Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit: “Nothing is worse for happiness than a cultivated sense of entitlement.”

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Compounded mistakes

1 Charter Oak

1 Charter Oak

Hmm – here’s a project that’s not going well, and no wonder. First of all, the builder, an experienced local boy so who knows what was going through his head, paid $1.5 for the land back in August 2007. Not only was that awful timing, he paid the record amount for the street and previous sales included a house (!). Charter Oak may be, as the listing for this describes, “in the Byram Shore area” but as everyone knows, Byram Shore Road on the waterside is a completely different animal than the landside, and Charter Oak is landside. We’re talking $23 million vs. $1 million, just to give you perspective. 100 feet, $22 million – go figure.

Okay, so he over-paid for the land. Next up, he lists it for $3.2 million last January, or 3X more than anything on the street has sold for before. It’s a wonderful house and some family will be very happy in it but who would pay that much to be a pioneer? No one, apparently, because he eventually, and much too late, lowered the price to $2.995 in March. Today he made another mistake by lowering it again by just $200,000 to $2.765 million. I keep saying this but it can’t hurt to try again: at this price range, buyers have already discounted your offering by at least that much, so if you aren’t getting offers, itsy-bitsy price cuts aren’t going to do it. Go big or stay home, says I.

Oh, and one final mistake? Check out the snow in the picture. On the eve of Memorial Day, I can’t think of a better way of demonstrating that no one, buyers, seller or listing broker, has any interest in this house. Not smart.

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What’s up on Clapboard Ridge?

205 Clapboard

205 Clapboard

Several readers have asked about this place and since I know nothing about it, I thought I’d toss the question to those of you who do. It’s a spec house built on 3 acres of land that sold for $3.4 million in just 7 days back in August, 2004 – if you’re looking for the highwater mark of Greenwich land sales, that was probably it. The builder originally listed it before construction began at $12.250 and after three brokers and four years worked his way down to $7.995, when, on November 12 of last year, it went under contract.

And it’s still under contract. The house certainly seemed finished when I viewed it in, oh, 2006 or so, and I can’t imagine what’s holding up the sale. A number of us are curious because the market was dead in November and we’ve been wondering whether the buyer got a steal or just paid retail for a house he wanted. But we won’t know until he actually buys the thing. Readers with actual knowledge or just fanciful imaginations are encouraged to write in and share their insight.

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Dear Uncle Walt: Thank you for the lovely gift of matching FGG shares. Unfortunately ….

oman writingMrs. John L. Strong, stationers to high society, closes shop.

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