Seven years after hitting the market for $140 million, Chris Whittle’s Hamptons estate has been auctioned for just $700,000 to repay a debt to the school he helped found.
In an auction Tuesday morning, the estate, known as Briar Patch, was awarded to Avenues Global Holdings on a credit bid, the Wall Street Journal reported. Whittle told the publication after the auction that he has “had better days.”
It was not immediately clear how much debt on the sprawling estate Avenues is taking on.
Whittle, an education entrepreneur who helped co-found the Avenues school network, listed the property for $140 million in 2014 and put it back on the market earlier this year for $95 million. The 11-acre spread has almost a quarter mile of frontage on Georgica Pond. Its 1930, six-bedroom home is about 10,000 square feet. Whittle purchased it in 1989.
Whittle owes more than $6 million to Avenues, which lent him money in 2013 so he could focus on his job with the school rather than his financial woes. That apparently failed: He resigned from the company in 2015 and has not repaid the loan.
Avenues was awarded the right and title to the property to help satisfy the debt. The school, which began with a main campus in Manhattan and has since expanded, including in the Hamptons, is expected to make plans for the property soon.
Whittle told the Journal that he took out a large mortgage on the home to help fund Whittle School & Studios, a for-profit school network, which was then hammered by the pandemic.
“Over the last 18 months, I really had a terrible Sophie’s Choice: to support the school or support the home,” Whittle said. “I chose the school. Today’s really the result of that.”
[WSJ] — Holden Walter-Warner