Category Archives: Waterfront

54 Cathlow Drive, Riverside

View from 54 Cathlow Drive (Rat Island, background)

View from 54 Cathlow Drive (Rat Island, background)

$18.225  million if you want all 4.4 acres, or just $16 if you’ll settle for 3.72. I assume that means that you can pick up a building lot for $2.225 million, which, for Cathlow Drive, is a good deal – I’ll ask at its open house tomorrow.

Cathlow is a wonderful street off Indian Head with some great houses. I won’t pretend to know what this one will sell for, though my hunch is, “less”, but it’s a fabulous location.

UPDATE: Reader “Riverside” (pseudonym of Peter Tesei’s, presumably) points out that the building lot is the land on Highgate discussed here a bit earlier today). So it is.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Riverside, Uncategorized, Waterfront

Riverside land for $9.5 million? Maybe

View from 73 Club Road (representative)

View from 73 Club Road (representative)

73 Club Road, which sold for $8 million in 2010, is back on the market, unchanged, for $9.5 million. This is very nice land with Cos Cob Harbor frontage (and Mianus Bridge highway noise, but that’s a quibble). Its 2.67 acres comprise two separate building lots but to split this parcel would, I think, be a mistake; you’d end up with two narrow side-by-side rectangles and neither would be anywhere nearly so nice as the whole.

2010 was not a great year for real estate, so it’s possible that in this recovered market this price will stick. On the other hand, Club Road sold well even during that period and $8 million struck me then as a very high value.

One way to find out: wait and see.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Riverside, Uncategorized, Waterfront

$50 million price cut from Ogilvy

Stormy Weather ....

Stormy Weather ….

499 Indian Field Road, which made headlines around the world when it was listed a few months ago for $190 million has, as predicted here, taken the first of what will probably be many price cuts. Today, that same property can be yours for the bargain price of just $140 million. Also as predicted here, the same reporters who gave Ogilvy such great press originally will not be around to report on this or subsequent price cuts. Smart man, that Ogilvy and a master at garnering free publicity.

I’m still holding to my prediction of $45 million, tops.

Stormy Circle

Stormy Circle

Further down the price scale and across the street from the water, 7 Stormy Circle (I kid you not) reports an accepted offer. It asked $1.680 in 2004 and didn’t get it. Owner brought it back at $1.095 this year and found a buyer.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Byram, pricing, Waterfront

Fortress Singapore?

There’s a rather modest house on the corner of Marks Road and Riverside Avenue that recently sold. The new owners have been busy ever since laying down stone, everywhere and building what I think will prove to be the framework  for a stone wall. At least I think it will be a wall; it’s late in the season to grow climbing beans.

Hey, it’s their property and the can do what they like with it, but it does add a certain fortified look to the neighborhood.

FWIW Ace Cub Reporter/photographer Sarah Fountain has been on the scene.





Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Byram, Waterfront

You can’t find this on Hearthstone

Sister Lorin was visiting last week and she took this picture at sunset from our deck.

Ole's Creek

Ole’s Creek


Filed under Neighborhoods, Riverside, Waterfront

Ole’s back?

Ole's Boat Yard

Ole’s Boat Yard

From our Irish correspondent, this Craig’s list ad:

Indoor storage and repair for classic and antique boats (Wood & Fiberglass).
We also have a showroom for small boats for sale and maritime antiques on consignment in a 1890 Stone Boathouse that has offered repair, storage and marine supplies since the 1930’s by the highly respected Amundsen (Ole & Eric) Family. We also have 230 feet of dockage (tidal) for boats that can sit on the hard at low tide.
Presently reserving space for the winter and spring. Please call to discuss our facility and your needs. Varnish and paint work. Major and Minor repair. Boat Designer, Marine Surveyor, Yacht Brokerage and Charter available, all at one location! New owner/operator with over 40 years experience!!! 561-254-4943 (c)
Interior (duh)

Interior (duh)

This Riverside landmark has sat vacant for quite a while, and so far as I know its owner Erik Amundsen has been unable to find a buyer. Now it appears that someone has leased it (or maybe he bought it; I haven’t seen any record of that, though) and will service boats here again.

That’s great: I wish them all the best of luck and success.
UPDATE: Good history of the building (I thought it was much older than the 1890 age given in this Craig’s list ad, and I was right), and its owners, here.  

At different periods in its long history, the building had functioned as Stephen Clason’s blacksmith shop and later as a steam laundry.

The Amundsens, Tina and Ole, bought the waterfront property on a tidal inlet of Greenwich Cove from the Marks family around 1933 during the Depression. Ole Amundsen was a boat builder and used the first floor of the building of 3,135 square feet to build sail boats and skiffs, some of which may still be afloat today.

Many were one-off designs, but he also built 19-foot Hurricanes of molded plywood in the late 40s and early 50s that were sailed out of the Rocky Point Club, according to his son, Erik Amundsen. He also built small cruising boats up to 34 feet but stopped building when fiberglass boats arrived on the scene.

Erik’s grandfather had sailed on tall ships out of Norway, and Ole became a cabin boy at the age of 11, Erik added. After high school, Ole went to sea on tramp steamers all over the world. Later he emigrated to Brooklyn, where he took courses in marine architecture. By 1933 he was working at a shipyard in Stamford but was laid off and lost the sailboat where he, his wife and his daughter were living.

“With his last bit of money, he bought the Riverside building and turned it into a boatyard,” Erik said.

Ultimately, seven Amundsens lived in the 900 square-foot second floor apartment, but it never seemed cramped, according to Erik.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Neighborhoods, Riverside, Waterfront

Creek front sale reported

7 Ole's Creek

7 Ole’s Creek

7 Hendrie Drive, Ole’s Creek, $2.2 million. This was a nifty piece of property: 0.8 acres in the R-12 zone, high above any possible FEMA flood zone revision – not even a polar bear could climb this high – and of course, an incomparable view of Chateau de La Fontaine across the way. I’m surprised it didn’t sell for a premium.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Neighborhoods, Old Greenwich, Waterfront

Bloomberg News discovers Greenwich FEMA regs

FEMA House, the "Greenwich Executive" model

FEMA House, the “Greenwich Executive” model

A reader sent along this Bloomberg Story:

Greenwich Stilt Houses Foreshadow Impact of New FEMA Maps

In the coastal areas of Greenwich, Connecticut, the latest housing craze requires hydraulic jacks, pylons and stilts. One home towers over its neighbors like a cruise ship. Others look like expensive tree houses.

“People are stopping in to ask us about it,” said Patrick Grasso, 59, a resident of the hedge fund enclave who jacked up his 1920s waterfront house about 3 feet (1 meter). “People want to know how long did it take and how much did it cost.”

Ten months after Hurricane Sandy, Greenwich is among the first U.S. municipalities to adopt revised flood maps from theFederal Emergency Management Agency that predict fiercer waves and higher storm surges. In doing so, the town has fallen in line with a federal initiative meant to thin the density of low-lying coastal populations, prepare for more damaging weather and reduce rebuilding costs borne by taxpayers.

The maps add as much as 5 feet to previous predictions of how high the waters of Long Island Sound would rise during a 100-year storm like Sandy. Starting next year, homes in surge areas across the country won’t qualify for flood-insurance rates based on the old maps. That means some homeowners will face a choice between paying as much as $150,000 to raise their houses or accepting premium increases as high as $20,000 a year.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Waterfront

Elvis sighting in Shorelands?

Castle a la Diane

Castle a la Diane

Mobile homes on stilts replacing bungalows made obsolete by FEMA regs.

In the past few months, modular builders say they are seeing an uptick in demand that they hope will translate to long-term business, especially as new federal flood maps and insurance rates force more homeowners to elevate structures. Because many older beach bungalows won’t survive being raised, those owners may choose to replace them with new, easy-to-produce modular homes that are fabricated in factories and shipped in sections to the building site.

Two days after Sandy struck, John Westrum, who has built modular homes primarily in Pennsylvania suburbs, took a helicopter ride to survey the devastation along the Jersey Shore and had an idea: He would take his prefab houses and put them on stilts.

Westrum Development’s first elevated modular home is scheduled to open Saturday in Seaside Heights. The two-story, Cape Cod was assembled in 28 days after the local permits were secured and the land was cleared. Former telephone poles were used to lift the first floor about 10 feet above the ground.

Architects said the modular-construction industry’s improved quality control and ability to use materials in different ways have helped bring its buildings up to design standards in the city. “The day of modular housing is dawning in New York,” said Rick Bell, executive director of the American Institute of Architects New York.

As money trickles in from insurance companies and government, a handful of modular homes on stilts are popping up in some communities in New Jersey, Long Island and Staten Island. Many can be made to evoke beachside bungalows or modernist vacation homes. That has helped allay concerns about identical rows of new, cheap-looking homes.

“It looks beautiful,” said Anthony Rusciano, a local 51-year-old utility worker in Seaside Heights who is buying a three-bedroom modular home from Westrum for $179,000. “It went up so fast. I don’t have the time or patience to deal with any of this stuff anymore.

Modular single-family homes aren’t necessarily less expensive than traditional construction, but may save time because they can be built in the factory while owners are waiting for demolition and foundation work. Once the modules are built and transported to the city, it takes a day or two to bolt the pieces into place.

Michael Fehling, a 55-year-old Island Park resident, and his wife, decided to build a modular home seven feet in the air after docks smashed into their 90-year-old wooden house. Their new home took about a week to build in the factory and was delivered from Pennsylvania a month ago. They plan to move in at the end of August, after contractors finish with touches such as radiant heat and fireplaces. He doesn’t miss the old place.

“A house that’s almost 90 years old, it’s not going to have the insulation.It’s not going to be built as strong. The house was always cold. The house wasn’t level,” he said. “With the breeze going through the whole house, I don’t miss that.”


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Old Greenwich, Waterfront

How do you not sell Greenwich waterfront?

Well, pricing it too high is a good start.

55 Binney Lane

55 Binney Lane

55 Binney Lane in Old Greenwich has just been withdrawn from the market after testing the waters at $16.8 million and then $14.8 million. It’s an old house but it sits on an acre of direct waterfront with its own dock and beach. Someone would have bought it long ago if they hadn’t been scared off by the price. My guess? Had it been listed at $10.5, it would be long gone. Of course, the heirs may not have wanted to sell it for that price in which case, they can look forward to enjoying that beach next summer.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Old Greenwich, Waterfront

Even (Stamford) waterfront has its limits

123 Wallaks Drive

123 Wallaks Drive

This 2003, direct waterfront home on Shippan Point came on for sale this spring at $5.6 million and has yet to sell. Today it was marked down 30% to $3.6 million. I’ve always had a problem with the approach to Shippan: past the sewage plant and car dealers, etc. but once there it’s awfully nice. And this house looks great. You certainly couldn’t find a relatively new house on an acre of direct waterfront for anything close to this price in Greenwich but then again, this isn’t in Greenwich.


Filed under Neighborhoods, Waterfront

Now it can be told

18 Highgate Rd

18 Highgate Rd

$12.9 million Riverside waterfront goes to contract

I mentioned this at the beginning of the week but couldn’t give details until the contract was officially reported. The odd thing about real estate is that, no matter what kind of market we’re in, the magic words, “you can’t have it” seem to stir buyers into action. When rumors spread that a contract is pending, other agents call their own buyers and say, “you’d better move fast”. And it works.

But this time all went well. Barbie Jackson (Cleveland, Duble & Arnold) found the buyer. I don’t know what the final selling price will be but the listing is only 60 days old so I’d imagine it’s close to ask. Nice land, good view, although much of it is of the inner harbor – that gossip columnist in town should perch her chair here on the lawn because it’s straight across the water to Cathy and Frank’s place – no need to beg Valbella’s staff to report sightings.

Whatever – it’s nice to see that someone still has money and is willing to spend it. I suppose the lesson here is that Greenwich waterfront will always be the last real estate to feel the depression, if it feels it at all. Buy more.

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Filed under Waterfront