Long Island Cheet Sheet: Nassau and Suffolk home sales fall, ‘Gatsby’-era Gold Coast manor hits the market… & more

Apr.April 29, 2019 05:00 PM

Clockwise from top left: Retired tennis star Björn Borg’s Sands Point home lists for nearly $9M, Luminati to move upstate as legal and money woes imperil its industrial real estate deal in Calverton, a Douglas Elliman market report sees Long Island sees home sales slip in the first three months of 2019 and a surgeon and his wife look to sell their $35M ‘Gatsby’-era manor in Locust Valley.

Report finds dip in LI home sales, as prices and inventory rise
Fewer people bought homes in Nassau and Suffolk counties during the start of 2019, but the median home price and inventory both rose, according to data published by Douglas Elliman. Closed home sales fell less than 1 percent from the start of 2018, to 5,659, but that decrease was also a 24.1 percent drop from the fourth quarter of last year. The median sales price rose nearly 5 percent, from $410,000 in the first quarter of last year to $429,999 during the first three months of 2019. “Prices are up, but it’s not like the bubble days,” Ann Conroy, president of Elliman’s Long Island division, told Newsday. Elliman’s report noted that 2018 ended with 9,572 homes on the market, but that inventory jumped 23.6 percent in the first quarter of this year, to 11,828. Compared to the same period last year, however, the increase is only a 7.3 percent jump, per Elliman data. Homes were selling a little quicker at the end of 2018, but during the first quarter of this year they spent an average of 81 days on the market, compared to 84 during the same period last year. Long Island’s luxury market told a similar story, as sales fell 23.4 percent from the final quarter of 2018, to 581, but increased more than 2 percent during the first three months of this year. Elliman’s report noted that the median sales price stayed relatively flat throughout 2018, but jumped 7.1 percent from the end of the year, to $1.07 million. Inventory also grew from the 3,426 homes listed for sale in the first quarter of 2018 to the 3,832 on the market during the past quarter. [Douglas Elliman]

Surgeon lists ‘Gatsby’-era manor in Locust Valley worth $35M
Plastic surgeon Sherrell Aston and his wife Muffie Potter Aston have listed their 93-year-old manor on 32 acres in Locust Valley, Mansion Global reported. The price is given “upon request” but Dolly Lenz, the broker handling the listing, said the property is worth more than $35 million. Known as Lands End Manor, the 13,000-foot-home was built in 1850 and then altered in 1926 by the architectural firm Walker & Gillette for Helen Whitney and Harvey Dow Gibson, a prominent businessman at the time. The owners apparently entertained regularly and hosted Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who wrote about extravagant parties on Long Island’s Gold Coast in his novel “The Great Gatsby.” The Astons eventually moved in and during the 1980s began to build the 32-estate around the home. The home itself has six en-suite bedrooms, a living room with 15-foot ceilings and french doors leading outside. Its library and dining room are both wood-paneled and have their own hand-carved fireplaces. Staff can live in an adjoining two-bedroom apartment and the two caretaker cottages attached to the stable. There is also another cottage with six bedrooms. The architect behind Manhattan’s Central Park designed seven gardens on the property, which includes a pool and pool house. [TRD]

Luminati to move as legal, money woes imperil EPCAL deal
Canadian conglomerate Triple Five Group, which is in the process of buying the Enterprise Park at Calverton, has agreed to pay more than $46,000 in debt owed by its partner in the deal to the Town of Riverhead, Long Island Business News reported. Luminati Aviation has operated out of the Enterprise Park and partnered in the $40 million purchase with Triple Five under a new entity called Calverton Aviation & Technology. Luminati, which has been struggling amid financial and legal battles, now plans to move its operations from the Calverton site to the upstate New York city of Little Falls. “I just made the complete decision that my life is really here, not there,” Luminati’s owner Daniel Preston told local news site My Little Falls. “I’m going to be a landowner and investor on that property [in Calverton], but I’m two feet out the door and I don’t really enjoy being there.” Riverhead officials, however, are trying to hire a law firm to review Luminati’s role in the purchase of the Enterprise Park in light of Luminati’s various legal and financial troubles. Judge Jerry Garguilo ruled that Connecticut-based Hexcel Corporation can seize Luminati’s $7.4 million property at the park because it hasn’t paid taxes on a $10 million loan, according to the Riverhead News Review. No one from Luminati or Hexcel showed up to a Central Islip courtroom, so Garguilo ruled on submitted documents that sheriffs can search Luminati’s Enterprise Park buildings located at 400 David Court and 300 Burman Boulevard. The ongoing legal drama, and others, has led to some disagreement among Riverhead officials about which outside law firm to hire. Town supervisor Laura Jens-Smith wanted to hire Stagg, Terenzi, Confusione & Wabnik, but Republicans balked, calling the selection “political patronage” because the law firm has donated to Democrats, Riverhead Local reported. [LIBN]

Hauppauge Industrial Park’s makeover could involve homes
The Hauppauge Industrial Park could become a regional economic hub by building co-working spaces, manufacturing facilities and residential developments, according to a recently-released report by James Lima Planning Development and the Regional Plan Association. Newsday reported that the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency commissioned the report. The park already hosts 1,350 businesses that generate $806 million in income taxes, along with landlords who pay $19 million more in taxes to local governments. The report recommends building co-working spaces; shared labs for prototyping; and small-run manufacturing that can work with the conventional manufacturing, warehousing and distribution already in the industrial par, as well as adding residential development along its east side. The area, which is currently a mixed-use corridor along Motor Parkway, would need to have its zoning eased to permit retail along with denser, taller buildings. Apartments with amenities will help attract and retain workers who have yet to flock to the 40-year-old, 1,650-acre park. Heeding some of the advice including in the report, local officials have already renamed the site the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge. Local officials said they are supportive of the revitalization effort, but would need to closely evaluate any proposed zoning changes. [Newsday]

Björn Borg’s former Sands Point home for sale at nearly $9M
A waterfront home designed by architect Norman Jaffe and once owned by tennis great John McEnroe’s former Swedish rival Björn Borg has listed for $8.999 million, Newsday reported. The home in Sands Point, the latest notable property in the area to hit the market, was built in 1979 and has seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, a theater, a pool on a stone patio and a great room with towering windows looking out over Hempstead Bay. The two-acre property at 34 Forest Drive also has beach rights. Jaffe, who died in 1993, distinguished himself with his modern style and the Sands Point property now for sale still adheres to that aesthetic. Borg apparently lived in the home during the early 1980s with his ex-wife, retired Romanian tennis player Mariana Simionescu. Borg and McEnroe dueled across tennis courts throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, although it wasn’t immediately clear if Borg lived in Sands Point during his battles with McEnroe, a New York native who sold his Southampton estate for $11.25 million in 2017. Yvonne “Bonnie” Doran and Dana Forbes of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty have the listing for Borg’s former Sands Point home. Ironically enough, earlier this year both brokers had another Sands Point listing for Antonio Palafox, a former Mexican tennis player who once coached McEnroe. [Newsday]

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