May 23 2014, 11:31pm CDT | by Jessica Hannan
Fenwick itself is 8,368-square-feet with 6 bedrooms and Hepburn lived there as her primary residence until her death in 2003. She once called the home "paradise" with tennis, swimming, and golfing at her fingertips. The house and land had been in her family since at least 1938, when a hurricane once lifted the house off its foundation. Previously, the property had worked as a summer home for her family growing up.
New York developer Frank Sciame bought the home for $6M in 2004. Due to the condition of the house, he spent time fixing up and modernizing the layout. The developer upped the price to $30M and then lowered down to $18M before deciding on a new way of selling. In 2012, he listed the house for $28M, but no one was interested in the price, so he took the house of the market for a while.
Trying to sell the property as a complete piece didn’t work.
Now he’s willing to update the chance by chopping the 3.6 acre property into three lots: 1.47 comes with the house while the other two lots are split. One of the undeveloped land properties has the potential of a 3,000-square-foot home, which Sciame may keep for himself. He feels this will offer “the best return on investment,” even though he paid less for the entire property—not just one piece.
For those worried about flooding after the 1938 hurricane debacle, where Hepburn and her family barely escaped with their lives, there’s good news.
A rep for Sciame claims he "raised the home five feet to avoid water damage from events” such as Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. “And will not be likely not be "affected negatively by similar events in the future."
Of course he did face some minor problems by adding driveway-marking granite posts that did not match the era of the house. The historical society felt the markers did not enhance the home and a judge agreed, so the owner had to take away some of the extra size off the posts. Bigger isn't always better.
Judy Samelson, a museum committee member for the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, tells the Wall Street Journal a new record would be set for the town of Old Saybrook if the house sales for the asking price of $14.8M. And would be over twice the price a decade ago. Candace Taylor’s “Katharine Hepburn's Home Returns to the Market for a Reduced $14.8 Million” also notes the property has a pond.
The listing agent is Colette Harron of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty.
Source: Architectural Digest
Source: Asia One
Source: Big Government
Source: Spectator Magazine
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