The Fordune estate, rechristened Jule Pond when it was listed for sale four years ago, is legendary in the Hamptons. The Water Mill property boasts the longest stretch of private oceanfront in the area — nearly a quarter mile — and a gigantic 42 acres of land. Now, the estate has broken records as the most expensive single parcel ever sold in the Hamptons. (Yes, hedge funder Barry Rosenstein did pay $147 million back in 2014 for an oceanfront property in East Hampton. But that was three parcels.)
The recorded sale price was $105 million. Listing agents Zach and Cody Vichinsky of Bespoke Real Estate said the unnamed buyer hails from a family of American real estate tycoons not based in New York. Per records, the estate was technically acquired by an offshore company based in the Cayman Islands, so we are not sure, but we think the Florida-based Richard Funk family may be the new owners. (Darn these tax haven islands!) Considering the giant property could potentially be subdivided, we wonder if said “American real estate family” plans a development there. The seller was financier Brenda Earl, a former partner at equity fund Zweig-Dimenna, who paid $21.8 million for the property way back in 2002.
Weighing in at a massive 20,000 square feet, the main house was built by Henry Ford II (grandson of the Ford founder) and erstwhile wife Anne in the late 1950s at a cost of $2.3 million (about $22 million today). In 1957, Sports Illustrated wrote of their plans for the house, “Whole paneled rooms, fireplaces and parquet floors have been imported from European chateaux in the grand fin-de-siecle manner perfected by the Vanderbilts.” Many of the home’s original details from the Ford era are intact: Italian marble fireplaces, French parquet floors, antique bathroom fixtures, and best of all, the antique boisierie paneled reception room imported from France.
The main living spaces include a 48-foot-long living room, family room, game room, recreation rooms and a large (20’ by 28’) kitchen. There are 12 bedrooms in all, including two master suites, and 13 bathrooms. In addition to the main house, the property features a separate carriage house with three bedrooms and one and a half baths, plus a detached six-car garage.
Rolling lawns, mature trees and lush gardens dot the property. There’s a meditation garden with a koi pond and waterfall, while a hedged garden boasts a 60-foot pool, separate spa, outdoor kitchen and outdoor shower. The recreational areas include tennis and basketball courts; also still on the estate is the original greenhouse. A vast array of meandering pathways wind down to the ocean.
Henry and Anne Ford divorced in 1964 and she was subsequently awarded full ownership of the estate, then 235 acres. In 1975, Anne sold the entire property to Italian financier Carlo Traglio. He paid the bargain price of $1.8 million, $500,000 less than Ford spent to build the place. Traglio then subdivided the property, keeping the main house and 42 oceanfront acres for himself, and held onto the place until 2002, when he sold his portion to Brenda Earl. For her part, Earl listed the property four years ago for a heft $175 million; two years later, the price was chopped to $145 million. Even the discounted $105 million sale price surely makes for a nice return on her $22 million investment.