Daily Archives: October 22, 2013

46 Havemeyer Lane has an accepted offer

 

46 Havemeyer Lane

46 Havemeyer Lane

Asking $449,000. This was the scene of a tragic fire and suicide a year ago October and the house has been left as is since then. I’m sure the neighbors will be relieved that it’s going to be razed, finally.

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So I saw the spec house at 751 Lake Avenue on the tour today

751 Lake Avenue

751 Lake Avenue

And it’s really, really nice. Once again, architect Kali-Naagy has nailed the proportions and he’s built another beautiful, gracious,  human-scale house. I think the man is designing classics that, unlike much of what’s gone up in Greenwich since the 1980s, will still be here, and valued, one hundred years from now. Some misses, perhaps, but I’m predisposed to like anything by Kali-Naagy and I almost always do.

This house is huge: 10,000 sq. ft., but about a third of that is basement space which, while useable, doesn’t add to the bulk, so the place feels almost moderately sized. Hey, builders build to the market, and that’s where they see the market now. The lot’s big enough, at 2.3 acres, to set the house back from Lake Avenue and still have a decent back yard and there’s an approved pool and pool house site: add those to your negotiations.

So what will it sell for? I’d guess  $7.5 (higher than my original guess of $6.7, but that was, as I noted, just a throw-away figure made before seeing this) but even something in the high $7s wouldn’t surprise me, because there’s no other new construction out there in this general range or if there is, it’s not as good. The competition for this one is probably a custom build (one of the three homes on this site is just that), but for buyers with the cash, looking for new and wanting to move in within a couple of months, this is literally the only game in town. The market for houses in this price range may be slim, but it’s real, and there are more buyers than (good) houses, especially south of the Merritt. I bet this sells quickly.

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Sales and accepted offers reported

Two sales, two A/Os.

65 Rockwood Lane

65 Rockwood Lane

65 Rockwood Lane, 2.39 acres, sold for $2.085.

5 Keofferam

5 Keofferam

5 Keofferam, Old Greenwich, sold for $3.030 million. I’ve written about this house a couple of times as it came on and off the market. I like it.

72 Stanwich Rd (photo by Jimmy Smith, age 9)

72 Stanwich Rd (photo by Jimmy Smith, age 9)

72 Stanwich Road, also a land sale, or at least the house should be being tossed in for free, has an accepted offer. Asking $1.590 for 1.32 acres.

The world's atilt - 19 Hendrie Lane

The world’s atilt – 19 Hendrie Lane

And in Riverside, naturally, the beat goes on. Little 19 Hendrie Lane, $1.350 and on the railroad,is gone in 14 days.

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Land for sale on Rogues Hill

17 Fort Hill Lane

17 Fort Hill Lane

New broker, new price, it must be time for another broker open house at Frederic Bourke’s house at 17 Fort Hill Lane, a little spur off lower Round Hill Road and almost directly across from Walter Noel’s own digs at 175 Round Hill. Forget the house, a drab little 1935 bungalow with window air conditioning: a friend of mine observes that when you pull up and see air conditioners in the windows, start calculating land value, not house, and he’s right. I overheard another agent say, “this is what the ‘old’ Greenwich looked like” – if so, life in the fabled thirties must have been nasty, brutish and short. And hot.

In any event, the property’s been marked down from $15 million to $13 – is that close? More or less, I suppose, in the great game of hand grenades. Although this parcel is 11+ acres, it is restricted to just two building lots of 4 and 6 acres (the balance, swampland, can be devoted to the 15% “set-aside” rule our zoning imposes on subdivisions. A large building lot this close to town should fetch about a million per acre, tops, but I’d discount these for their so-so topography and the narrowness of the land. So, total, $8 million? Probably around there, but I wouldn’t start there.

Mr. Bourke, alas,  is presumably unavailable to personally engage in negotiations until May, 2014, when he’ll be eligible to leave his temporary quarters in the federal facilities provided him in Englewood, Colorado. I doubt this land will go anywhere before he does, and Walter Noel, sitting up the hill on $800 million or so of stolen money, must be laughing his ass off at his friend and neighbor’s plight. Funny how life turns out, sometimes.

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In Greenwich, we recycle both our houses and their listings – why reinvent the wheel?

Nice house on River Road is on the market today, asking $3.150 million. Same house unchanged, sold for $2.7 million in just three days back in 2002/2003. Here’s how the house was described then:

2002: NOT A DRIVE-BY!COMPLETELY HIDDEN FROM VALLEY RD;DIRECTLY ON THE MAGNIFICENT UPPER MIANUS RIVER(AT ITS WIDEST).IMPECCABLE HOME,REDONE IN 1996, OF NOTED GREENWICH INTERIOR DESIGNER,CLARE STURTEVANT.ALL THE BELLS & WHISTLES.SEPARATE GARAGE APT.

The broker who wrote that is dead, but his priceless prose lives on. Here’s the new verbiage,from a new broker:

2013: NOT A DRIVE BY-COMPLETELY HIDDEN FROM VALLEY RD DIRECTLY ON THE MAGNIFICENT RIVER (AT ITS WIDEST). TRUE ENGLISH COL W/LOVELY CARRIAGE STUDIO NOSTAGICALLY REFLECTS THE EXPERT TOUCHES LAVISHED BY FORMER INTERNATIONAL OWNER-DESIGNER CLARE STURTEVANT. FABULOUS GARDEN LEVEL MAHOGANY PUB, FAMILY & MEDIA OR EXERCISE RM & OFFICE & SPA BATH. MULTIPLE DECKS/TERRACES, SWEEPING LAWNS CAPTURING BREATHTAKING VIEWS OF BEAUTIFUL MIANUS RIVER INSPIRE YOUR CANOEING, SKATING, FISHING, BIRD-WATCHING  PARTIES.

Words fail me.

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Is ObamaCare failing because Obama’s crowd hates government?

 

Did I say that?

Did I say that?

That’s what Paul Krugman would seem to suggest.

David Bernstein:

When the government is run by political forces committed to the belief that government is always the problem, never the solution, that belief tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Key priorities are neglected; key functions are privatized; and key people, the competent public servants who make government work, either leave or are driven out. What we really need is a government that works, because it’s run by people who understand that sometimes government is the solution, after all.

Doesn’t make any sense to you? It made just as little sense when Paul Krugman made the argument in 2008, imaginatively (to say the least) positing that George W. Bush and John McCain were wild-eyed libertarians, and that the former’s purported libertarianism was the cause of FEMA’s incompetence in dealing with Katrina.

I ridiculed the premise at the time (and again a year later), noting that “After eight years of “no child left behind,” Medicare expansion, aid to Africa for AIDS, drug warring, abstinence education, nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan, and so forth and so on, and more of the same promised by McCain, the better question is, is there any problem that Bush and McCain DON’T think government should solve?”

As I recall, others rejoined that no, Krugman is right, incompetence by the Bush Admnistration is OBVIOUSLY due to Republicans all totally hating government. It must come as a surprise to Krugman and his defenders that government can prove itself to be wildly, disastrously incompetent even when run by people whom even Krugman would have to admit aren’t going to be confused with libertarians any time soon (assuming, of course, that Krugman actually ever believed the nonsense he wrote).

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No wonder the Republicans hate Ted Cruz, he’s an embarrassment

 

Mmmm, mmm good!

Mmmm, mmm good!

Government resumes business as usual, Congress will shut down and fly to Florida, courtesy of the Air Force.

Just last month, Nancy Pelosi assure the country that there’s not a penny more to cut from the federal budget, “the cupboard is bare.” As I’ve been saying, I think the reports of Ted Cruz and the Tea Party’s demise are premature.

After passing a deal to raise the debt ceiling and reopen government, the Senate went on an 11-day vacation. The House was slated to be in Tuesday evening through Thursday but will now just be in for a day and a half, with the chief business a vote on a public works legislation.

House officials told lawmakers to be ready to leave Washington from Joint Base Andrews early Thursday to make the funeral in Largo, Fla., and then plan to return late in the evening.

A Pentagon spokesman couldn’t say how much it will cost to fly the members to Florida for the funeral.

The move comes the week after Congress took heat for including a $174,000 payment to the widow of multimillionaire Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, who died earlier this year, leaving an estate estimated at more than $50 million
.

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The politically savvy get richer

How to make billions on government subsidies.

Welcome to SolarCity, the latest booming green company that has never recorded a profit. The startup’s stock price has soared by 600% since its IPO last December—it closed on Monday at $57 a share—and spiked after the company announced a couple of weeks ago that it expects business to grow by 70% to 90% next year. Yet the company, based in San Mateo, Calif., and specializing in deploying rooftop panels, ended the first six months this year $61 million in the red.

Ordinarily, that sort of number might disconcert investors. But SolarCity’s business model is powered by government subsidies, which also fueled the 500% stock run-up and turn to profit this year of the electric-car maker Tesla. Steering both companies is Elon Musk.

The company’s base is a 30% federal tax credit that accrues to investors who provide upfront financing for the rooftop panels that SolarCity installs for customers at no charge. Customers “lease” the panels from SolarCity by paying for the solar power they generate, which is priced below their utility’s retail rate.

[I]nvestors include the venture-capital firms Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DBL Investors and Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management LLP.

 

A thick layer of state and local incentives also supports SolarCity. …

SolarCity also benefits from “net metering” policies that 43 states, including California, have adopted. Utilities pay solar-panel customers the retail power rate for the solar power they generate but don’t use and then export to the grid. Retail rates can be two to three times as high as the wholesale price of electricity because transmission and delivery costs, along with taxes and other surcharges that fund state renewable programs, are baked in.

So in California, solar ratepayers on average are credited about 16 cents per kilowatt hour on their electric bills for the excess energy they generate—even though utilities could buy that power at less than half the cost from other types of power generators.

SolarCity and its competitors also implicitly benefit from energy policies like renewable mandates, fracking moratoriums and greenhouse-gas regulations that drive up electricity prices and enable the company to charge its customers more for solar power. Indeed, in its latest SEC filing, SolarCity warns investors that “a reduction in the price of natural gas as a result of new drilling techniques or a relaxation of associated regulatory standards” could harm its business.

And so on. The little greenies pay twice the market rate for their electricity, pay more for the goods whose prices are jacked up by those same energy costs, and enrich the already-rich and the politically connected, cheering all the way. No wonder Obama figures he can sell them on subsidizing their elders’ health care – they’re morons

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