A reader highly recommends Jeff Benedict’s Little Pink House about the New London eminent domain case:
I just finished reading this book – I swear, I am just a regular (non American) reader and I think you should read it and/or plug it.
Little Pink House by Jeff Benedict – it’s about eminent domain with the Kelo Case in New London. I just think it’s brilliantly written, in such a compelling way, I could not even put it down. I swear I am just an interested reader, and nothing to do with publishing or e. It’s recently come out in hardback, and he has already done his ‘tour’ of Greenwich, (which I missed) but the library has 4 copies or so (one of which I just returned to Cos Cob). Not only does it cover the way that American government assumes a right to everything and anything (ok, I’m biased being European), but it reveals some aspects of the lives of Chris Dodd, Jodi Rell and many more. I think particularly as a Connecticut resident, it is utterly fascinating. The reviews for this book are incredible and with it being so pertinent to CT real estate, I figured you could do with the ‘filler’ – and maybe a good read, given there’s nothing much else going on in the neighborhood! I plan to read one of his other books about Indian Reservations next, this was utterly gripping.
Benedict is the author of a previous, well-written and absorbing book on how gambling came to Connecticut (with the corrupt cooperation of Lowell Weiker) called “Without Reservation”. I relied heavily on that book when researching my own, (much, much funnier, he said) book on Indians, casinos and Tod’s Point, “Greenwich Mean Time”. Benedict’s a good writer and a fascinating one – I’m funnier – or I like to think so.
One number for all your calls. David Pogue of the Times reviews it and is impressed. Text messages, voice mail, whatever, all to one number, all free (and international calls are almost free – far cheaper even than Skype). Coming in a few weeks.
If Google search revolutionized the Web, and Gmail revolutionized free e-mail, then one thing’s for sure: Google Voice, unveiled Thursday, will revolutionize telephones.
It unifies your phone numbers, transcribes your voice mail, blocks telemarketers and elevates text messages to first-class communication citizens. And that’s just the warm-up.
Readers are posting that Broadway Partners owns that unsold land in Khakum Woods as well as 112 Field Point Circle and even Lowther Point in Riverside. (not so – others, yes). Don’t know if that’s true but it is true that, as reported here, both the Khakum Woods and the Field Point Circle properties are back on the market for less than was paid for them. And if Broadway Partners does own them, this article supplied by a reason gives the reason why: they’re in big trouble. UPDATE: and this one.
He’s talking about stocks, not real estate, but I think the principle applies: if you can find a house priced at a level that mirrors the Dow’s current depreciation, buy it. If not, wait.
28 Edgewood Drive
So here we have a house (I blogged about a few months ago) that seems to have a builder who ran out of money. That’s fine – happens a lot these days – but it’s just been listed for sale at $3.675 million which I calculate is about $1,000 square foot for the portion above ground, and the bank’s offering the selling broker a whopping 0.005% commission (one-half of one percent, in case I didn’t get my decimal right). So we’re asked to sell a house for far more than it’s worth today and cut our pay 80%. I understand shared sacrifice and all that but I’d feel better about engaging in that charitable activity if I didn’t think the bankers demanding it were off golfing in Hawaii. Fat chance, guys.
UPDATE: Brother Gideon points out that this 1/2 of 1% deal is put on short sale listings to protect the listing broker in case the deal goes through and no money shows up at closing to pay a commission. Usually, the bank will agree beforehand to a 2% or higher fee. That’s fine, but the price still seems steep.
48 Parsonage Rd
This house’s sale price was reported today: $6 million. That’s a tad off the original price of $7.850 but everyone’s got to dream, and $6 million is still not chump change. Out of town buyer and broker, for what that’s worth.
UPDATE: Land records show a $5.3 million mortgage and roughly $600,000 in interest payments to date – if accurate, these builders escaped without too much damage but won’t be going anywhere exotic on the proceeds.
From my only reader in Maine comes this story of opportunity in La La Land. Hugh Hefner’s place is up for sale.
Hugh Hefner and wife Kimberley have listed their personal residence, located next door to the Playboy mansion, for sale at $27,995,000. It’s a mini-me to the party palace next door, a sister house if you will.
The two-story, 7,300-square-foot English Manor-style home was built in 1929 and bought by the Hefners in 1998. It sits behind private gates on 2.3 acres and has some of the original wood paneling, leaded-glass windows and hand-carved staircase. There are hand-painted walls, a newly remodeled kitchen with a morning room and butler’s pantry, two staff rooms, formal living and dining rooms, a library and family room. It has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms.
The grounds back up to the Los Angeles Country Club and include a pool. There is room for a tennis court, which would provide the new owner with plenty of excuses to visit next door when a ball errantly finds its way over the wall.
The home was designed by Arthur R. Kelly for the sister of Arthur Letts Jr., the original owner of the Playboy mansion.
I like this part, referring to the 82-year-old Hefner’s reason for moving out:
The Hefners are selling the home because their two sons will soon head to college.
Chris Dodd may need a case or two of the swill if he’s going to forget about his Irish cottage deal. I was screaming about this months ago but now the big boys have noticed (thanks to the Hartford Courant, who’s been on the story for some time). Today the Wall Street Journal weighs in. Like Rangel, Pelosi and maxine Waters, the Democrats aren’t going to do anything about Dodd but if the polls are right, Connecticut voters just might. Time to send this crook back home, where he can devote his time to looking for his father’s real killers.
6 Rincard Terrace
Here’s a house that comes with one of KM’s patented full acres, a commodity that’s rare these days. Built in 1978, someone tried selling it for $825,000 in 1999 but it expired unsold. In 2008 they tried again, this time for $1.999 without, so far as I can tell, doing anything to it other than let it age gracefully for nine more years. In any event, it came down today to $1.4 million. Your call – nice yard.
112 Field Point Circle
Someone’s finally managed to lose money on direct waterfront on Field Point Circle. Never thought I’d see the day. This place (site of Victor Borge’s house that has joined that musician in Valhalla) , four acres of great waterfront with, I think, a deep water dock, sold for $25.750 million in June 2007 and was put back up for sale at $35 million (and who the hell thought that was a good idea?). Today it’s been reduced to $24.5 million, dangerously close to the similar land my brother Gideon sold in Riverside last year for $23 million. Riverside? Field Point Circle? Wow.
The Senate is moving closer to ratifying the Law of the Sea Treaty. The proposed treaty, with its grab-bag provisions for ripping wealth from those that have it and giving it to dem what don’t (with a quick trip through the United Nations for a little financial load lightening) has been around since 1982. With nothing else to do, the Senate has decided that now’s the time to ratify it. Brilliant idea if your goal is to attack free enterprise from every possible angle and at every possible opportunity. As I’ve noted before, I’m beginning to think those black helicopter folks are on to something.
Here we have a house in Bailiwick that was built in 1997 on land that cost $500,000. The owner tried selling it for $1.359 million in 1998 so it seems safe to assume that he has much less than that into it. Yet he tried selling it again in 2007 for $3.495 and today, after two years, has dropped a million off that and now asks $2.450. It’s a nice house, with a pool, and back in 2007 he might have sold it for more than his new, lower price. But by overpricing it by that million dollars he missed the market and is now trying to sell in a falling one. So he’s had to keep his house in showing condition for two years, lost who knows how much by scaring buyers off with that first price and now will have to take less than I think he would have received back then. What has he gained?
My pal John Schneider out in Tuscon has his fangs out today and they’re dripping poison. Sounds like John’s grown as irritated by insane listing prices as I have.
Phew! Really, Awesome Timing.
Just listed for $5,000,000 or $722/sf, and a spec home no less.
Yep. We’re a little thin in that category, so hopefully this’ll hold back the hordes of hungry home buyers looking for $5,000,000 homes in the Foothills.
It’s new, it’s in the Canyons, it’s 6924 sq. ft., and it’s still under construction so, if you hurry, you may still have time to choose your color scheme.
7454 N Secret Canyon Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718
**unless someone reminds me to update it, this link will expire on
4/9/09** then again, by then, this house may be long gone.
Best Wishes, and welcome to the 2009 real estate market.
Money to (my) People!
According to the NYT, our crazyiest, dumbest member of Congress (and it was a close race), Maxine Waters, tried to use her office to secure favors for a friend. Of course, her peers are no more likely to chastise her for this than they are Charlie Rangel for his little shenanigans. And we won’t discuss Air Nancy either, shall we?
WASHINGTON — Top banking regulators were taken aback late last year when a California congresswoman helped set up a meeting in which the chief executive of a bank with financial ties to her family asked them for up to $50 million in special bailout funds, Treasury officials said.
“Here you had a tiny community bank that comes in and they are not proposing a broader policy — they were asking for help for themselves,” said Steve Lineberry, a former Treasury aide who attended the meeting. “I don’t remember that ever happening before.”
Ms. Waters declined on Tuesday to comment on the meeting, or to say if her husband still owns OneUnited shares. Her staff released two letters that showed the meeting was initially called to discuss industry concerns broadly, not matters related just to OneUnited.
The congresswoman, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, did not disclose her ties to OneUnited to Treasury officials, who said they learned of them only later.
Picture of a typical cell in the Manhattan Correctional Center. I’ve always wondered why people facing a lifetime behind bars choose that over death. I’m still wondering.
FBI arrests two after raiding offices of Obama’s pick for Chief Information Office. I have no idea what this is about but two men in Vivek Kundra’s office, Yusif Acar and Sushil Bansal, were nabbed by the FBI today. Maybe they were holding an illegal meeting of the United Nations?
UPDATE: Googling Mr. Kundra turns up lots of information on him, including this NYT article. He sounds like a pretty smart guy who could bring good ideas to the government so I hope this arrest story is restricted to the two arrestees.
25 Dairy Road
This house was bought new for $7.3 million in 2006 and put back up for sale in April 2008 for $10.5 million. In the best of times, this house wouldn’t have appreciated $3.2 million in two years and in this market, listing it at that price bordered on stupid – to be kind, let’s use “futile”. It expired today, unsold. If it comes back, the owner might consider that prices have dropped since 2006, not risen.
Demmerkrats unveil ad campaign attacking Rush Limbaugh. I keep hearing from my liberal friends that we finally have a genius in the White House. I keep asking, where’s the evidence of that? Not here.
Monica Noel tries on new outfit
Besides, Monica rather likes the fashion!