Daily Archives: November 4, 2008


Chieftans
A reader asked about the recent history of this place and I’ll admit that my memory of the subject has faded. 96 acres, owned by a Borden heir until 1925 when Bernard Gimbel bought the place. My old law firm represented Mr. Gimbel and, as a young associate, I’d be dispatched there occasionally with documents requiring his signature. I never met the gentleman himself but I’m told he was very nice – certainly his property was. It was chopped into something like 17 lots in, maybe, 1990 and the first houses went for sale around then (if Greenwich Time had searchable archives you could follow Casey Stengel’s advice and look it up – there was a long, protracted zoning battle over development plans, all dutifully reported on by that paper). Prices have climbed a bit over the years, from mid-$2s to, by 1998, as high as mid-3s. Judging from today’s price reduction on 20 Chieftan Road, those prices may be returning to earth.

Another reader asked, “why would anyone want to live here?” I don’t know – it’s close to the Merritt Parkway and Westchester Airport, which might be considered a convenience, and it does have a guarded gatehouse – whether that speaks to necessity or simply the owners’ desire for privacy is a matter of which I have no knowledge (“up with which I will not put!”). There’s an association that takes care of all grounds keeping and such so, if someone just wanted a place to stay while making a brief visit to Greenwich, this could work.
Update:
From the comments section to the original post comes this far more knowledgeable history:

Chieftans – Alva Gimble created a beautiful spot.

The original developer died before beginning his project. John Ferari took it over.

John Ferari built good houses but there were some screwy sales, especially at the beginning of the sales effort (10 plus years ago?).Ex – Famous baseball player custom finished a unit and sold it before moving in. His buyer paid an extremely inflated price. Hard to generalize about prices – lot and house sizes vary, some have over an acre and pools, others don’t.

I think sales had followed the market until the collapse. One of Greenwich’s highest earning Realtors sold many of the houses at Chieftans, some more than once.

Plusses – Beautiful setting – acres of conservation land – gated, with excellent security if that’s your thing. Residents are interesting group, with some under the radar “biggies”. Convenience of Westchester Airport if you fly corporate, close to B’wick & Sacred Heart, and the Merritt, without Merritt noise.

Minuses –
Airport,though the bigger houses backing up to Sherwood aren’t as affected. Who knows, with all the new FAA changes, we all may be buying earplugs.

Glenville isn’t the golden triangle or circle, or any other golden shape, so those Wickie moms may have a problem.

A few years ago there was a great house on the market, right at the beginning of the drive. It was beautifully decorated, tasteful, warm. Fantastic views over the trees, and the sellers read books! There were real tomes on the library shelves, and books on tables-that were being read! Didn’t see too much of that when touring open houses back in the day.

And still another update:
Highest price paid at Chieftans might have been (records are spotty) $6 million + back before 2000. At least a 2002 listing for #8 Chieftans, when it was priced at $4.3 claimed that the seller “originally paid more than $2 million over this price”. It does appear for sale for $5.750 back in 2000 and four brokers and three years later, sold for exactly $4 million. So did someone overpay in the sixes in 1999, realize he’d been a chump and try to salvage what he could a year later? I don’t know – ask his agent, Tamar Laurie.

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History of Voting Rights
Inspired by an ongoing discussion in the comments section, I thought I’d dig up the history of property requirements for voting. Interesting footnote: Connecticut was the first state to impose a literacy requirement, in 1855. Couldn’t we at least bring that one back?

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A reader emails:
At North Street School, I stepped into a “privacy booth” that was situated between those being used by Dick Fuld and his wife. I was not the only one who recognized Fuld and, upon leaving, overheard this conversation between two other voters:

“Gee, I thought the guilty were not allowed to vote”

“Well, he hasn’t been convicted of anything yet.”

“I guess your perspective depends on whether you worked for Lehman or not”.

Only in Greenwich.

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20 Chieftans

Another example of the death by a 1,000 cuts. This house was originally listed in February, 2007, for $4.350 and has dropped in price, slowly, ever since. Today it was reduced another 8% to $3.5 million, or 20% from its original price. The sellers aren’t my clients and certainly don’t want or need my advice but as an object lesson, it’s hard not to conclude that it’s better to cut deeply, all at once. I’ll bet a surgeon would agree.

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The crushing of dissent
The polls aren’t yet closed and the Demmerkrats are already licking their chops, preparing to shut down talk radio. Senator Chuck Schumer compares Rush Limbaugh with pornography, which should give civil libertarians pause but won’t – these are the same people who adore Che, after all.

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414 Stanwich Rd.

How not to sell your house?
This property was bought for $2.1 million back in February, 2003. Three years later in March, 2006 the buyers put it back up for sale asking $2.695 which I thought at the time was a tad aggressive. For the ensuing three years the house has lingered, suffering the indignity of five price cuts, each too little to stir a buyer into action but gradually reducing its price to exactly what the sellers had paid for it: $2.1 million. Today they took a sixth cut, knocking another 5% off to $1.995, but wouldn’t someone who liked the house (but not its price) before have offered 5% less to begin with? I think so, in which case this latest cut won’t help.

My advice is, try to price your house right to begin with and if it turns out that the market disagrees with what you thought that right price was, don’t dither. A $50,000 price cut, as this one once endured, won’t accomplish anything. Move aggressively and swiftly and you’ll be able to sell before something bad happens, like the DJI dropping off the face of the earth.

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Go soak your head!
Some readers have had bad experiences with Summer Rain, complaining that as the business has prospered and expanded customer service has suffered. I have had no experience either way but for those looking for an alternative, reader CEA writes:

“Kevin Zosiak: 203 509 9568

My parents and I have both used him. He is prompt, he does great work, and is very professional.”

Sounds good to me – I’ll post his contact info in the column to the right.

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Just voted at District 5 and discovered that there’s no name printed on the ballot for the Libertarian candidate. I was limited to merely casting a vote to cancel that of the Greenwich Diva’s but I have now found out that the Libertarian’s candidate is
Bob Barr. Too late for me to write him in but it’s not too late for those of you who have yet to vote. There’s still time to avert disaster! Go vote.

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27 Vineyard Lane
This 1920’s, 2500 sq.ft. house on 3+ acres has been on the market since February. The owners switched brokers but until today, stuck fast to their price: $4.995 million. Now they’ve cut that 20% to $3.995. It’s still a land deal, in my opinion, although it would be wonderful to see the house restored. And, oversized lot or not (it’s in the RA-2 zone) $4.0 million seems rich, even for Vineyard Lane.

But it’s more realistic than $5 million.

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“And there shall be a great wailing and gnashing of teeth”

This woman thinks Obama’s going to pay for her gasoline and mortgage

Oh, things are going to get interesting next year.

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From John Cooke of Prudential Connecticut, October’s Inventory (no, John, I didn’t deliberately cut out your identifying material – I just couldn’t fit it in the screen shot – it’s down below.) Click on the numbers to enlarge, if you wish.

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