Copper Beech Farm, the 50-acre Greenwich estate that thundered onto the market last May with a record-setting $190M price tag, has sold this morning for $120M, according to Greenwich Time. Though it sold for just 61 percent of its initial ask, the property still managed to edge out a win over the reigning champ of single-family residential sales in the United States, a nine-acre Silicon Valley spread that sold for $117.5M in January 2013. (It did not, in fact, beat Montana's Broken O Ranch, which sold in 2012 for $132.5M—though most would consider that a working farm and not a single-family home of the Copper Beech breed.) In all: quite a feat for the debt-saddled mansion, which endured a monstrous PriceChop pummeling, first down to $140M in September, then down to $130M just after the New Year. According to the Greenwich Town Clerk's office, the buyer is "Conservation Institute LLC"—more information forthcoming, no doubt.
Sold by timber mogul John Rudey, the property comes stocked with a 12-bedroom mansion, 4,000—yes, four thousand—feet of water frontage, and two offshore islands. Rudey originally told the Journal that he was selling the spread, which he bought 31 years ago, because his kids had grown, but that may have been only half of the truth. According to a followup piece in the Times, Rudey's timber holdings had 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 totaled 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.)
Copper Beech Farm dates back to the 1890s and was once owned by the Lauder Greenway family, which made its fortune helping Andrew Carnegie start up his steel business. Other stats: the living space measures 15,000 square feet and includes a dining room with a tracery ceiling, as well as a "huge solarium with a coffered ceiling with plaster detailing and three exposures," according to the brokerbabble. Also on the property: formal gardens, a grass tennis court, two greenhouses, an apple orchard, a 75-foot-long heated pool, and a 1,800-foot-long driveway.
From the onset, listing agent David Ogilvy admitted to the Journal that pricing is a bit of a guessing game with properties this valuable—and it's true, there's ample evidence that many nine-figure places endure harsh PriceChops. (Some, meanwhile, tap their fingers on the desk waiting for a buyer to match their absurd demands.) Take the old Versace in Miami, which first hit the market for $125M, fell to $100M, then $75M, and finally sold at auction in September for—ouch—$41M. Though Copper Beech Farm has the lack of 24-karat gold-encrusted mosaics and six-person gilded showers going for it, until now no publicly listed Greenwich property has ever sold for more than $45M. But, then again, until two weeks ago nobody had ever paid $102M cash for a house in L.A. before, either. Only time will tell what fate awaits Dallas' $135M Crespi-Hicks Estate, which is still the most expensive megamanse listed for sale in the country right now.
· All Copper Beach Farm coverage [Curbed National]
· Copper Beech Farm sells for $120 million [Greenwich Time]
· A Greenwich House Aims to Sell for $190 Million [WSJ]
· Copper Beach Farm [Christie's Real Estate]
· 499 Indian Field Road, Greenwich, Conn. [Zillow]
· All Blockbusters coverage [Curbed National]