Greystone on Hudson: An Exception to the Rule?
by Barrett Seaman –
Andy Todd walks briskly up the unfinished front steps, made of Belgian Bluestone that costs $40-per-square-foot, through a foyer that could easily accommodate a medium-sized diplomatic reception and past a not-quite-finished kitchen destined to house a full array of state-of-the-art appliances. Out back, there’s a built-in fire pit for chilly evenings and a large flat-screen TV protected from the weather for al fresco entertainment. The view from the wide veranda encompasses two acres of lawn bordered by majestic old trees—and not a hint of another building in sight. Upstairs, the master suite has his and hers dressing rooms in matching turrets—and, of course, his and hers bathrooms.
Welcome to one of Todd’s grand Greystone on Hudson estates, inspired by those Gilded Age mansions that once dotted the Hudson Valley. Off Broadway, just opposite Lyndhurst (once home to railroad tycoon Jay Gould), this 100-acre wood will, with any luck and a good economy, one day hold 21 such estates, available for anywhere from $5 to $13 million apiece. “You couldn’t get a better piece of land,” said Todd, noting the sweeping views of the Hudson from the road above this house.
So far, he has sold only four. This one, which Todd described alternately as “shingle-style” and “Gatsby-style,” is on the low end at about $6 million. It has 10,000 square feet of living space. Even the basement has 10-ft. ceilings (but no indoor basketball court, like the $13 million house down the road). Who are his buyers? “Finance people, for the most part,” he said—hedge fund managers, investment bankers. He sometimes hints that one or two big-time pro athletes are interested, but there is no evidence so far of an Eli Manning or a Derek Jeter in the neighborhood.
Whoever buys here will face a six-figure property tax bill. One of the houses, with 20,000 square feet of space, now occupied, has been assessed by Greenburgh at just over $9 million. Property taxes total $283,138.67-per-year.
Why would anyone buy here, rather than Greenwich, Connecticut with a fraction of the taxes? Why here and not Villa Nuits and other classic old mansions that sit idle on the market? Because those old houses, however once grand they were, don’t have family rooms and the other accoutrements of modern suburban life, says Todd. He’s looking for buyers with hefty cash flows who won’t balk at big assessments and are already in income brackets immune to the SALT deduction cap. Plus, he’s betting, they are willing to pay for modern conveniences—and their own private view of the Hudson.