Fairfield County town nears private island purchase for over $100M

Darien officials are in contract to buy Great Island, a 60-acre parcel last sold a century ago

Tri-State /
May.May 25, 2022 08:45 AM
Darien First Selectman Monica McNally and Great Island in Darien, Connecticut (Darien Republicans, Google Maps)

Darien First Selectman Monica McNally and Great Island in Darien, Connecticut (Darien Republicans, Google Maps)

Just how much are 60 acres of mostly undeveloped land on Connecticut’s Gold Coast worth? Darien taxpayers are about to find out.

The Fairfield County town is in contract to purchase Great Island (technically a peninsula) on the Long Island Sound for somewhere north of $100 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Town officials began negotiations last month with descendants of William Ziegler, a 19th-century industrialist who bought the parcel 120 years ago as a summer getaway.

The Steinkraus family, who descend from Ziegler’s granddaughter, listed the property for $175 million in 2016, then dropped the price to $100 million earlier this year.

Great Island, which has beaches and a deepwater dock along its mile-long coastline, is one of the area’s largest undeveloped parcels, according to Darien town officials. Douglas Elliman’s Jennifer Leahy has the listing.

The centerpiece of the estate is a two-story, 13,000-square-foot stone manor. The 10-bedroom, eight-bathroom home was built in 1905, complete with a Prohibition-era wine cellar with century-old bottles of whiskey.

An equestrian facility built by Rafael Guastavino features vaulted, tiled ceilings reminiscent of one of Guastavino’s better-known projects, Grand Central Terminal. The granite stable has 18 stalls and an indoor riding arena. The estate also has a guest house, a caretaker’s cottage, a farmhouse, a seaside cottage, a polo field and riding trails.

Other bidders vied for the property, according to Leahy, including developers and would-be residents. It’s not clear how the town intends to use the land, and the deal will need “several layers” of approval from Darien officials, Monica McNally, the town’s First Selectman, told the Journal.

“There will never be another opportunity for the town to control this property’s destiny, or to add an asset to benefit all of us like this, for us and for generations to come,” McNally said at a Board of Selectmen meeting last month, when talks began.

[WSJ] — Holden Walter-Warner





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Passage Island (Fay Ranches, iStock)
    Private Alaskan island that expands at low tide to ask $20M
    Private Alaskan island that expands at low tide to ask $20M
    A photo illustration of No. 15 Shouson Hill Road West in Hong Kong (Emperor International Holdings Limited, iStock)
    Hong Kong’s priciest 2022 home fetches $111M
    Hong Kong’s priciest 2022 home fetches $111M
    Accurate CEO Jack Klugmann and the Fairfield, CT Metro North train station (Accurate, Robert Mortell/via Wikimedia Commons, iStock)
    NJ developer buys languishing project in Fairfield
    NJ developer buys languishing project in Fairfield
    116 East 65th Street and Ghislaine Maxwell (Zillow, iStock)
    Investor Frederick Rudd sells Ghislaine Maxwell’s former UES townhouse
    Investor Frederick Rudd sells Ghislaine Maxwell’s former UES townhouse
    HomeLight CEO Drew Uher (HomeLight, iStock)
    HomeLight lays off a fifth of its workers, weeks after raising $60M
    HomeLight lays off a fifth of its workers, weeks after raising $60M
    Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices' Steven James (right) and Brad Loe (BHHS, iStock)
    Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices wants to be a New York contender
    Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices wants to be a New York contender
    Amy Schumer and 19 Cranberry Street in Brooklyn Heights (Zillow, Getty Images)
    No joke: Amy Schumer strikes deal for “Moonstruck” home
    No joke: Amy Schumer strikes deal for “Moonstruck” home
    CoStar's Andy Florance and REBNY’s James Whelan (Getty, iStock)
    REBNY, CoStar launch Citysnap listing portal
    REBNY, CoStar launch Citysnap listing portal
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...