- The fate of one of the largest and last remaining nearly pristine properties on the East End has yet to be decided as the search for a buyer in a down real estate market continues.
Two years and three real estate brokers into the effort, Robert Rust, owner of the 55-acre "Anderson Property" on Ferry Road in North Haven is looking to subdivide the impressive waterfront property he inherited from his aunt in 2003 to into three parcels to facilitate new ownership.
The property listed with Scott Strough
of Strough Associates and Gary DePersia
of the Corcoran Group
is on the market at the reduced price of $75 million. The property, first listed with Dolly Lenz of Prudential Douglas Elliman
in August of 2007, hit the market at the sky-high price of $80 million earning the distinction of being the most expensive residential property on the market in the state according to real estate agents involved with the property.
"We have had some showings," DePersia said this week noting Rust's plans to subdivide the property are expected to facilitate a sale. DePersia optimistically noted the subdivision may be approved by planning officials in the next six months. So far, discussions have been informal and unofficial with no applications filed before the North Haven Village Planning Board.
"This is one of the most unique properties on the eastern seaboard," Strough said, noting the property has been in the Anderson and Rust families for more than 50 years. "Bob Rust always intended to have one family own the property. He wants to see the natural beauty of the property protected." Strough is working with buyers who are very interested in the property.
Rust floated a trial balloon on the subdivision in January when he met with representatives of the North Haven Planning Board to discuss the possible plan. The 55-acre property has 3,000 feet of waterfront on the shores of the Shelter Island Sound beginning just east of the South Ferry loading dock on Route 114, also known as Ferry Road and ending near the Village of Sag Harbor. The property offers views of Shelter Island, Robbins Island and Jessup's Neck.
The dock and cabana as seen from the water side. There are four structures on the site now, including the main house and a sprawling country ranch built by the Andersons in the 1950s.
"It's very rare to have so much waterfront property so close to a major deep water port like Sag Harbor," Strough said. The uniqueness of the property makes it priceless and difficult to price since it is truly incomparable."
The property is comprised of meadows, wetlands, and wood lands. There is an orchard and a deepwater lagoon that can accommodate large boats on the property as well. There are two docks in place making the property an ideal site for avid boaters.
The 55-acre property can be subdivided to create a maximum of 18 lots with 50 percent of the land set aside for open space. However, Rust would like to see the property developed in a more underwhelming way - having proposed the creation of a three lot compound in which lots would be sold in pairs permitting the homeowners to build a main house and a guest house on their property, creating a total of six structures in all on the three large parcels with the remaining acreage set aside for open space.
There are four structures on the site now, including the main house and a sprawling country ranch built by the Andersons in the 1950s. A renovated two-story house with a gambrel roof dating back to the late 1900s sits on a secluded portion of the property along with a barn with living quarters built at the same time. There is also a California style ranch on the site that is in the midst of renovations.
"It's important to point this out," Strough said, noting a project comprised of three large lots with main and guest houses on each parcel would be very close to the existing conditions on the property. "There would be little if any visual or environmental impact with this plan. No one wants to see this land preserved more than Bob Rust."
The sprawling Anderson ranch house was built in the 1950s on the nearly pristine estate comprised of woodlands, wetlands, a salt water lagoon, orchard and a meadow.
Rust frequently vacationed on the property as a child. He reluctantly put the estate on the market as property taxes increased to more than $180,000 a year when he acquired the property from his late aunt's estate in 2003. Rust, a retired Assistant United States Attorney, lives in Florida. He worked in the U.S. Justice Department under Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford
Lorraine and Olen Anderson purchased the North Haven property in the early 1960s from its previous owner, Charles Jundt, a perfume manufacturer who created Charles of the Ritz perfume. The property was originally part of a parcel of land owned by the Tyndal family, the operators of a ferry service established in the 1860s running from their front lawn in North Haven to Shelter Island. The property is frequently referred to as Tyndal Point, a reference to its prior owners.
The Andersons occupied the property from the 1950s until 2000. Rust's Aunt Lorraine remained on the property until she died, living alone in her home after the death of her husband in the 1980s. Rust recalls his aunt describing the property he frequently visited in his youth as the best place on earth and the only place she wanted to live.
The Andersons built a simple ranch house approached by a long driveway marked by stone posts. The property is unimposing from both the road and the water - appearing to be a simple woodland devoid of the usual Hamptons landscaping, glitz and glamour.
When Lenz carried the listing she reported a flurry of interest when the property hit the market noting she received more than 300 calls including those from prominent billionaires. International pop singer and Sag Harbor and Sagaponack property owner Billy Joel
was reportedly interested in the property according to information provided to the news media by Lenz.
North Haven village officials have reportedly expressed an interest in acquiring the property as well, but the hefty price tag may put the property out of the reach of the municipality. North Haven Village Mayor Laura Nolan was unavailable for comment as was the Village Planning Board Chairman.
"Simply put, it is the most beautiful waterfront property available for sale in the Hamptons today," DePersia boasts on his website. "It's a great family compound for a wealthy investment banker," Strough concluded.