House/Sale of the Week, Bargain Alert!, Affordable Housing in Larchmont, and a GM Mini-city?



House of the Week

A Truly Maaaarvelous House on the Market

A 24-acre estate with barn, pool, and four-car detached garage in the top-rated Katonah-Lewisboro school district, this 1927 Georgian manor also has a gatehouse, center entrance hall, grand living room, formal dining room, study, and a country kitchen.

518 Harris Rd
Bedford Hills
7 bedrooms, 5 1/2 baths
$7.45 million
Annual Taxes: $88,281
Interested? Call Muffin Dowdle at Ginnell Real Estate: (914) 234-9234 x101

Sale of the Week

A lot of the action may be in Northern Westchester these days, but Scarsdale, as usual, is holding its own. Take a look at this beauty at 82 Brite Avenue, a co-listing of Houlihan Lawrence and Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, which sold after a mere 45 days on the market. This five-bedroom, six-bath renovated 1926 brick Colonial on 0.28 acres features a custom-built master bedroom suite with a sumptuous bath, a balcony, and floors of Brazilian Cherry. The kitchen is top-of-the-line. Outside, there are professionally landscaped gardens and a brick patio. And that’s just for starters. How about the advantage of an easy stroll to town? Listed at $2.1 million, it sold for $2,015,000. Annual taxes run $25,825.

Bargain Alert! Have We Hit Bottom Yet?

Astor’s Estate Reduced—Again!

If you couldn’t afford the late Brooke Astor’s Briarcliff Manor estate last month, maybe you can now. The price just dropped to $9.75 million—from $12.9 million in 2008, and $10.5 million in 2009. (What a sad family story! The beloved philanthropist died in her home three years ago at age 105, and her only child, Anthony Marshall, was convicted last year of altering his mother’s will, which had left $60 million to charities. Sentenced to one to three years in jail, Marshall is free on $500,000 bail pending an appeal.)

What will $9.75 mil get ya? Ten bedrooms on 65 prime Briarcliff Manor acres. But beware: the annual property tax bill is $200,842 (not to mention what it’ll cost you to mow that lawn). Oh yes, if you’d like, you can also purchase Astor's 14-room Park Avenue apartment, which, coincidentally, was recently reduced from $46 million to $29 million. Bargains abound!

Have We—Please, Please—Hit Bottom?

Price cuts like the one for Astor’s estate are the primary reason the high-end market is about the only sector in the real estate market that’s thriving, agents tell us. Savvy buyers with deep pockets—and no need to bother with petty annoyances like mortgages—are plucking up the bargains. “I’m crazed with phone calls,” says Ghy Manning, owner and principal broker of Vincent & Whittemore in Bedford. Buyers held off for a long time, she says, and now, “they’re poised to jump.” The reason? According to Manning, they’re worried that, come spring, prices will begin to edge up again. (For clarification, when we refer to the high-end of the market, we’re talking $4 million and up. )

Affordable Housing in Larchmont

The county has announced that it will build 51 more affordable housing units in Larchmont to comply with a federal housing desegregation settlement. The developer for the new housing, Wilder Balter Partners in Elmsford, a firm that has built both below-market-rate and at-market-rate housing throughout Westchester, says that most will sell for an average of $160,000 to $229,000. Last year, as you probably remember, Westchester signed an agreement to spend $52 million on 750 affordable-housing units in mostly white, affluent areas after the Manhattan-based Anti-Discrimination Center won its lawsuit. But let’s point out that the word “affordable” is relative. What’s affordable in Westchester terms might be considered out of reach in another area.

GM Mini-City in Sleepy Hollow?

There may be hope in Sleepy Hollow for the vacant, weed-filled, 99-acre General Motors site. There’s apparently a deal in the works to build 1,200 units of housing, along with stores, offices, and a park along the banks of the Hudson River—a mini city—where the automaker once turned out Chevys and the like. But we’ve heard promises like this before that came to naught, and the site has been vacant for about a decade. The question this time is: Will the Rip Van Winkles in Sleepy Hollow finally wake up and get their act together enough to approve the plan?

A Literary Fest

Rizzoli New York is holding a night of book signings with 13 authors at the 2010 Holiday House, 2 E 63rd Street, on December 9 at from 6 to 8 pm. Special guests include Richard Mishaan, author of Modern Luxury; Jamee Gregory, author of New York Parties; Bobby McAlpine, author of The Home Within Us; Liz O’Brien, author of Ultramodern: Samuel Marx, Architect, Designer, Art Collector; and many more. A portion of the night’s proceeds will go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Holiday House, the designer table-top show house, was founded three years ago by Iris Dankner to benefit the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Admission is $25.


Who's building, selling, buying, and who's profiting from our favorite contact sport: real estate

About This Blog

White Plains resident and writer Karen Odom has a passion for interesting architecture, especially when architecture and history collide. Her extensive experience as a real estate feature writer has led her in an around Westchester's distinctive homes uncovering the fascinating stories behind the houses, their owners, architects, and designers with awe, admiration, and more than just a little amazing curiosity.

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