Tag Archives: Greenways

I said it then, it’s inching closer to proving me right

499 Indian Field Rd

499 Indian Field Rd

Ogilvy & Associates has cut the price of the Greenways/Copper Beech estate another $10 million to $130,000, down $60 from its opening price. Last May I noted that Ogilvy held the record for largest fall from asking to actual selling price: the Helmsley place, $90 million price cut; and predicted that he’d break his own record for this one. $60 million isn’t $90 million, yet, but back in September, when this property took its first price cut of $50 million I predicted an eventual selling price of $45 and, even if I was too conservative then,  there’s still plenty of room for that $90 to be surpassed.

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$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.

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

So how much is Greenways / Copper Beech really worth?

(Representative mansion)

(Representative mansion)

Probably not the $190 million being asked for it. I was playing with some napkin calculations and here’s my guess, completely unsupported by accurate surveys, wetland delineations and so forth, so you know how much credence to give it:

Of its fifty acres, there are probably no more than five  or six building lots it can accommodate after wetlands, tidal lands, road set asides, conservation set aside, etc. are deducted and accounted for ( and deduct the two islands – they count for the acreage total but won’t be built on). Of those lots, the parcel that the obsolete mansion itself sits on is the best and the only one that, so far as I can tell, has (quasi-) deep water frontage and a view down the Sound. Be generous, give that lot $18 million for land, $0 for the house itself. The other lots are either “waterfront” with mudflats in front, or interior. You might carve out two mudflat lots and, maybe, sell them for $5 million apiece, and up to three more interior lots worth maybe $2 million each. That’s $32 million total. It might be more, it might be less, but it’s not $190 million.

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See if you can do better than a Greenwich tax assessor

Get out your arborist/silviculturist hat and take a look at this picture of Copper Beech just sent over by Mike Finkbeiner. Does that look like 28 acres of forest to you?  Our town’s thought so, for nearly 4o years.

UPDATE: Readers want a more current photo than the one on the bottom. Here’s Google Earth – still looks like an overgrown golf course to me. Either way, you won’t find Robin Hood skulking in wait for the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 1.18.36 PM

Copper Beech / Greenways Forest

Copper Beech / Greenways Forest

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When will David Ogilvy demand a retraction from Greenwich Time?

Books left behind when Greenwich Time decamped Greenwich

Books left behind when Greenwich Time decamped Greenwich

Greenwich Time, faced with the painful dilemma of reporting the news or offending its largest advertiser, chose one approach for two months and then jumped to the other and lost both ways.

Last May, when David Oglivy took the Greenways Estate listing for $190 million, this blog and its readers quickly reported on the financial mess the property’s owner was mired in. No way would Greenwich Time touch that one – Greenways is the largest listing of the paper’s largest advertiser – so it didn’t, until Sunday, when the New York Times found the story (and tracked this blog, by the way, up to and including the naked, drunken Harvard rugby player incident of a decade ago). No longer able to ignore a story in its own town that was now the subject of international attention the paper capitulated and ran its own story yesterday.  But in doing so, they’ve managed to probably get the story wrong and certainly piss off Ogilvy and his client because they let Francis Fudrucker call it, without contradiction, a short sale, and then discuss the implications of that status.

My friend and former reporter David Yudain points out that there is no evidence that this is in fact a short sale – the New York Times story, if not the Greenwich Times’, reveals that a number of the loans collateralized by this property have been paid off. It’s entirely possible that this property is not underwater in the financial sense of being worth less than the debts of its owners. It’s also possible that it is worth less, but if there were a formal short sale going on, the Greenwich Multiple Listing Service rules dictate that that be disclosed to other brokers, and no such disclosure has been made. Is Greenwich Time implying that Ogilvy is breaking the rules of the organization he helped found? That would be a story, but it would be no more accurate than the rest of the paper’s coverage.

So Greenwich Time has stated as fact what can only be speculation. I’ve skated near that line too, but David Ogilvy doesn’t buy pages and pages of advertising from me, week after week, year after year, so I can get away with it; Greenwich Time has no other advertiser on Ogilvy’s scale.

I’d be pretty ticked at the paper if I were Ogilvy, and if I were the property owner I’d be furious that a “serious” newspaper had told the world that I was in a must-sell situation when, at least theoretically, I’m not.

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This, of course, is why he priced it where he did

Have I gotta deal for you, Shiekhy Babby!

Have I gotta deal for you, Shiekhy Baby!

Reader Shedless sends along this link from London’s Daily Mail profiling David Ogilvy and his $190 million listing here in Greenwich. David’s a past master at getting the press to promote him for free, and God bless him: free publicity is always more persuasive than paid advertising and well, it’s free.

Of course this property will never sell for anything close to its asking price: I think $35 million will be the magic number, other realtors guess $45,000,000, but so what? Just as the press that fawned over his $120 million Leona Helmsley listing was long gone after it finally sold, years later, for $29 million, The Daily Mail won’t be back in 2019 to report on this one’s final sale.

But who’s complaining? The owner gets international attention for his property and David Ogilvy even gets a link to his web site. Win win, and unless someone is really stupid enough to be persuaded by a newspaper article to pay full price, no one’s hurt; if they are that stoopid, they deserve to be parted from their money on general principle alone.

UPDATE: Oops, not quite such a home run after all. The link to David’s place in the Mail’s article doesn’t work, [do we get results or what? Working now] and the spoilsport reporter buried this caveat at the bottom of the page:

The real estate market has not been kind to Greenwich since the recession of 2008.

Mansions that have gone on the market in the luxurious community have generally sold drastically lower than their original listings.

The most expensive sale [84 Field Point Circle] in the last five years was for a waterfront home with over 20,000 square feet that sold for 39.5 million (it was originally appraised at 42.5 million).

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