Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Who Owns the Largest Land in America and In Greenwich, CT?

While the wealthy are seeing the value of adding more land to their investment portfolio, it looks like those that are doing so have ties to the areas of the country where there is lots of land to be had, and where land is a fundamental part of life in those areas.  Ranches and horse farms are common reasons for adding more and more land to holdings.

The two individuals that made the top 100 list that are closest in proximity to Greenwich are #46, Cassidy Heirs with 212,985 acres spread between Maine and Florida and #88, Roxanne Quinby with 119,000 acres in Maine.  
Roxanne Quinby
Unlike many of the top 100, who's land has been handed down and added to for generations, Quinby had no ties to land when she arrived in Maine in 1975 as a 24 year old in a VW bug.  She happened to meet Burt Shavitz, a beekeeper, and soon was joining him to sell honey out of the back of his pickup truck.  It was a small jump from truck to farmer's markets and soon the two where adding to their product line of what they called Burt's Bees products.  As the product line grew, Quinby bought her first land--- 8,000 acres of it to be precise.  When she and Shavitz sold Burt's Bees to Clorox in 2007 she made $350 million.  And with it, bought acres and acres of more Maine land.

The Original Burt's Bees Line
The Burt's Bees Lip Balm Line today, owned by Clorox



The number one private landowner for 2013 at 2.2 million acres is Connecticut native John Malone, the media titan. Malone, who grew up in nearby Milford, Ct ,has land holdings that span the country from New Mexico to Maine and include forests, ranches, deserts, islands and ports. Just to put it in perspective, that amount of acreage is equal to two times the state of Delaware. 

Looking a little closer to home, I thought it would be interesting to take a peek at some of the larger land holdings in Greenwich that are currently on the market. First up is Copper Beech Farm, the 449 Indian Field Rd. Mead Point property set on 50.6 waterfront acres which is currently on the market for $140 million. It is the largest waterfront property to be available in the last decade and was the home of the Lauder Greenway family, co-founders of U.S. Steel, who moved into the 19th century Victorian house in 1904. The property has two mainland parcels, two islands and one mile of shoreline. 

The other large property currently for sale is 124 Old Mill Road, north of the Merritt Parkway. This property is 75.70 acres and has on it a 1926 elizabethean inspired manse designed by renowned architect, Charles Lewis Bowman. It is being offered at $33 million. Other large land holdings in Greenwich that are not on the market, but interesting to know about are: * Calf Island, owned by the Town of Greenwich-At 31.5 acres, this is the largest off-shore island in Greenwich.
  
As for the largest single parcels of town owned lands in Greenwich:  The top five are:

1.  The Babcock Preserve, North St. (it has great hiking trails which are gorgeous during this time of year) :  297 acres
2.  Griffith Harris Golf Course: The town owned golf course at 1323 King St. : 154 acres 
3.  Tod's Point: Old Greenwich : 147 acres (You can read about the history of Tod's point in past newsletters at my website www.robinkencel.com
4.  The Goodbody Property, Cognewaugh Rd.: Another nature preserve: 110 acres
5.  Montgomery Pinetum (which has the Greenwich Garden Center within it), 101 Orchard St. 76 acres 
 For a review of the top 10 landowners, click here Top 10 landowners in America




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