Licensed as Timothy G. Davis, Lic. Assoc. R.E. Broker At The Corcoran Group
The Wall Street Journal-6/8/2010
Asking Price for Restored Gardiner Estate Is $29 Million
One of the Hamptons' most elaborate restoration projects has gone on sale for $29 million.
The historic home, known as the Gardiner Estate, was owned and occupied for decades by Robert David Lion Gardiner, a descendant of the prominent Long Island family that has owned Gardiner's Island for nearly 400 years. The 3,300-acre island, between the South and North Forks of Long Island, is still owned by the family. Mr. Gardiner died in 2004 at age 93.
The current owner of Gardiner Estate in the Hamptons, Shahab Karmely, is a New York-based real-estate investor. Records show he purchased the 5.4-acre property and house for nearly $9 million in 2005. Mr. Karmely declined to comment.
The home's listing agent, however, says Mr. Karmely put at least $10 million worth of improvements and updates into the home, built in the 1930s.
"It was completely run-down," says Tim Davis, a real-estate agent for Corcoran in Southampton who also represented Mr. Karmely when he bought the home. "It was really quite a mess." Several bathrooms weren't functional, windows had been painted shut and the roof had leaks.
Using historical photographs and documents, some found stored in a wine cellar at the home, Mr. Karmely was able to get a sense of what the stone-built home and its landscaping looked like in its heyday.
He also has made upgrades, including adding geothermal heating and a closed-circuit TV system that monitors the home from 32 security cameras. A climate and security system can be accessed from afar by computer.
The home's 8? bathrooms are now all functioning, and many of them have custom slab marble and heated floors. All the home's arched French doorways have been restored, along with its windows.
An old elevator has been replaced with a new one. Several fountains have also been added, as has a large, original U-shaped hedge in the front of the home along a stone path that has been restored. There's also a mahogany screening room.
The home, which is a short walk from East Hampton village, maintains its original 1930s layout, with a grand entry foyer flanked by a formal dining and living room. Originally set up for a prominent family that likely had an extensive support staff, one wing of the house has five bedrooms meant for the help near a butler's pantry and laundry room.
There are also five main bedrooms and a two-bedroom guest apartment above a carriage house, which has its own kitchen. Mr. Karmely and his wife, Libby, have since hosted a 2008 Nature Conservancy benefit.
Real estate in the Hamptons has picked up momentum in the first quarter of this year, according to a report released in April by Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate. The number of sales more than doubled compared with the first quarter of 2009.
But brokers in the area say despite growth in sales volume and price the luxury market (there were 28 home sales at $5 million and above during the first quarter of 2010, up from seven in the year-earlier period), sales in the $20 million-plus range have languished.
Though there are a few other listings in the $30 million-plus range in the Hamptons this summer, most others are spec homes or houses that were custom-built in the past decade.
Mr. Davis says the Karmelys are selling the home because they plan to spend more time in Europe