It was once British soldiers protecting their New York City stronghold rather than deckside sun-worshippers who reigned over a stretch of Oyster Bay that is now part of a multi-million-dollar estate in Lloyd Harbor, New York.
The 37-room brick Tudor mansion heads to the luxury auction block next month after struggling to sell for several years. Besides the landmarked, 100-year-old main house, bidders will be vying for a piece of land once underlying Fort Franklin, a Long Island base for British troops during the Revolutionary War.
The historic property, which underwent a full restoration in the 1990s, has been on and off the market since at least 2012, according to listing records. The owners were once asking as much as $24 million. The property is now on sale for $10 million, and will go to auction with a suggested opening bidding price of $5.75 million, according to auctioneers Paramount Realty USA.
The property was prime real estate, even in 1778, when the British anchored their control of Long Island Sound there and sheltered tory raiders pillaging rebel-held towns around the island and Connecticut. American rebels would have had to attack the fort by sea, landing their boats on a narrow stretch of beach and then scale a high bluff up to the fort, according to an article in the Journal of the American Revolution.
Despite bloody battles there, the Revolutionaries never took Fort Franklin, and it was eventually abandoned after the British conceded.
Today, the property still offers panoramic, albeit much more peaceful, views over Long Island Sound thanks to its seat high on a bluff over the water.
Catholic Jesuits turned the property into a secluded retreat some time after the war, and in 1879, Anne Coleman Alden, a descendent of some of the first settlers who arrived on the Mayflower, purchased the land and built a shingle-style home there. Around the turn of the 20th century, owners expanded and transformed the main house into the massive Tudor-style chateau that stands there today, according to a listing with Maria Babaev of Douglas Elliman.
“This is a VIP luxury auction,” Ms. Babaev said. “The last time the property changed hands was 25 years ago and who knows when it will be for sale again.”
The current owners, Greg and Kimberly Campbell, bought the property about 30 miles east of New York City for an undisclosed sum in 1992 and spent three years restoring it, Newsday previously reported. They redid the electric, heat and plumbing, and relandscaped the English country-style gardens.
The nine-bedroom home includes indoor squash courts, a wing with a grand ballroom and guest suite, a solarium and a banquet-sized dining room, according to the listing with Douglas Elliman.
“We’ve stewarded it for 23, 24 years,” Mr. Campbell, who could not be reached for comment, told Newsday in 2014. “It’s time to give someone else a turn.”
Now, the owners are taking the home to auction. The sale on June 14 will feature five other mansions from Long Island’s so-called “Gold Coast,” including the home of Mike Tunnicliffe, executive vice president and head of Universal Music Group and Brands.
His home in Roslyn Harbor has an opening bid of about $1.5 million.
“Auctions are appropriate for luxury homes because they, like art, are distinctive and because they include intangible value that goes beyond the physical characteristics of the property,” Misha Haghani, managing principal of Paramount Realty USA, said in a statement.
The auction will take place at the Guggenheim Estate (which is not part of the auction properties), a historic, castle-like venue in nearby Sands Point. Bidders must purchase the due diligence information ahead of time from the auction house website for $50 and come with bank or certified checks in a specified amount for each property, ranging from $150,000 to $575,000, the auctioneer said.
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