For those flabbergasted by the $190M asking price on Greenwich, Conn.'s Copper Beech Farm, the Times offers some explanation. Owner John Rudey, a big name in the timber business, claims that he's selling the property "because his children have grown," but that may be only half of the truth. It turns out that Rudey's timber holdings have been decimated by transportation issues, endangered species conservation, water limitations, and the spruce budworm, a tree-burrowing insect. These setbacks might not have impacted the Copper Beech Farm property at all had Rudey not used the sprawling waterfront estate as collateral on a series of huge loans. At one time, according to the Times, the debt attached to the property totalled a whopping $203M.
After the 2006 collapse of one of Rudey's timber holding companies, the banks came calling. In 2011, Bank of America began foreclosure proceedings on a portion of Copper Beech Farm. The bank later backed off, but Rudey may have been forced to sell off much of his remaining timber holdings, and his $16.5M Fifth Avenue apartment, to keep creditors at bay. Now the estate with what once seemed like a vanity price will need to sell for at least $120M to settle outstanding debts. One problem: no publicly-listed Greenwich property has ever achieved more than $45M.
· Burdened Estate Bears Monumental Price Tag, And Many Mortgages [NYT]
· All Copper Beech Farm coverage [Curbed National]