Junk bond billionaire Ira Rennert has a massive house in the Hamptons.
It’s also pretty controversial. The business mogul, who Forbes says is worth $5.9 billion, was recently in court defending the funding of his Sagaponack estate. Representatives of a now-defunct mining business he used to own claimed he looted the company to build it, and in late February he was ordered to pay back at least $118 million in damages.
But the mansion, constructed for about $110 million but now valued much higher, has been the center of a number of controversies since Rennert built it in the 1990s.
We’re here to walk you through the giant, limestone, Italian renaissance home and its surrounding estate. And thanks to our friend Jeff Cully at EEFAS for supplying the gorgeous aerial photos and video footage of the property.
1. Fair Field, Rennert’s estate, is one of the largest homes in the United States.
According to Crain’s, Rennert’s mansion spans 62,000 square feet, which is equivalent to nearly an acre and a half of land. And the property itself is massive, covering 63 acres of prime Hamptons beachfront.
It’s also one of the most valuable. The home is worth $248 million, according to the Fiscal Times, and would be listed for about $500 million today, one real estate broker told Crain’s.
2. There are actually several houses on the estate.
In addition to the colossal main home, there’s also a play house and two pool houses at Fair Field. Altogether, the buildings cover more than 110,000 square feet.
3. The mansion has somewhere between 21 and 29 bedrooms, and between 18 and 39 bathrooms, depending on who you ask.
By most reports, Fair Field has 29 bedrooms and 39 bathrooms, but Zillow, which collects real estate data using public records, counts 21 bedrooms and 18 bathrooms. (For what it’s worth, we think it makes more sense to have more bedrooms than bathrooms.)
The confusion could stem from whether you’re counting the rooms in all buildings on the property, or just the main house.
4. It has 12 chimneys.
Mother Jones noted the dozen chimney, presumably leading to a dozen fireplaces, in a 2012 story about Rennert’s fight with his neighbors about his the path of his helicopter.
5. And a 91-foot-long dining room.
That’s the distance between the bases on a baseball diamond.
6. The 10,000-square-foot playhouse includes a basketball court and a two-lane bowling alley.
That’s according to Crains and Southampton news site 27East. Rennert is widely reported to be reclusive, so we’re not sure who he plays with in his play house. Oh, and there’s also a billiards room, two tennis courts, and two squash courts.
7. The mansion has its own 164-seat theater.
You could basically stage a Broadway production at this place.
8. Rennert’s property taxes alone are enough to buy a few other houses.
Curbed Hamptons reported Rennert’s property taxes at $483,742.54 – or more than $40,000 a month – in 2008. According to CNBC, his taxes were up to $649,281 last year, or as they put it, enough to buy two houses in most other parts of the country.
9. The garage can hold 100 cars.
10. The hot tub cost a reported $150,000.
That’s in addition to three swimming pools.
11. Rennert has repeatedly ticked off his neighbors with his grand plans for Fair Field.
Back when he constructed the place in the 1990s, neighbors found the mansion “audacious,” New York Magazine reported. They fought the construction “tooth and nail.”
They also weren’t pleased when he tried to build his own private museum on site.
According to Curbed, Rennert tried to build a new, 10,000-square-foot museum on the estate. He supposedly owns $500 million worth of art. The reason his neighbors were ticked off that time? He reportedly broke ground for the new building without seeking permission from the village.
They were also peeved when Rennert tried to expand his pool house to include a pilates room. In 2013, he requested permission to add a Pilates studio and, yes, another bathroom, to one of his two pool houses. His neighbors were reportedly fed up with the number of zoning rules he’d already scooted around.
“I don’t even object to the square footage,” one neighbor told 27 East. “It’s a question of principle.”
In the end, the addition was never built.