Price: $75 million.
The appeal: All or part of the late Edward S. Gordon’s 60-acre estate, the second-most-expensive home for sale in America, has been on the market for the past six years at this monster price. The house covers 20,000 square feet; the grounds have an eighteen-hole golf course with its own pro shop, a 75-foot swimming pool, a guest cottage, three ponds stocked with fish, and fourteen gardens (roses, oranges, hydrangeas, vegetables . . . ).
So why no sale? It’s on the “wrong” (north) side of Montauk Highway, far from the beach; it’s located just off Scuttlehole Road, one of the busiest back roads on the East End; and every summer for six weekends, residents contend with the noise and congestion from the Mercedes-Benz polo matches.
Potential buyer: In this rarefied range, every buyer is unique, but experts say that whoever does write the check will probably pay half the asking price.
The Morpurgo house
Location: Sag Harbor.
Price: Court-mandated minimum of $1.5 million.
The appeal: An eighteenth-century sea captain’s house on one of the plummiest streets in Sag Harbor (journalist Judith Miller is a neighbor). Rare, grandfathered zoning for multiple dwellings, meaning that a developer could whip it into four spiffy condos and quadruple his money.
So why no sale? A leaky, drafty mess, it’s being sold at the tail end of a legal struggle between two sisters, Helga and Annselm Morpurgo. Annselm still lives upstairs, prefers the name Artemis Smith, says she runs a not-for-profit there called the “Savant-Garde Conglomerate,” and is holding out for $4.2 million—nearly three times the judge’s mandated price tag. (The court also decreed that when the house is sold, it will be delivered empty of Artemis Smith.)
Potential buyer: Someone with Martha Stewart–grade renovation skills, or a serious Grey Gardens fantasy.
Price: $40 million.
The appeal: Andy Warhol’s estate (the name means “to the east” in Greek) has 5.6 acres of land and 600 feet of oceanfront, and the house stands on a deposit of boulders, so sand erosion isn’t an issue. If you could sell stories, this place would be Fort Knox. The “Elizabeth Taylor bedroom” has barely changed since Liz slept there in the seventies, the Stones wrote “Memory Motel” here, Halston once talked Liza Minnelli down from a coke high on the back lawn, and scratches from Bruce Weber’s golden Labs are still on the door of one of the cabins.
So why no sale? It’s beat-up and will cost a buyer millions to fix. The estate also has none of the usual amenities—no tennis courts or pool—and the three miles of dark road leading up to the compound through the Andy Warhol Nature Preserve are rutted and muddy. (The owner, Warhol pal Paul Morrissey, recently dropped the price by $10 million, hoping for a buyer—after almost two years.)
Potential buyer: A glamour hound who doesn’t swim and would prefer spending money on Andy’s aura than on his art.
Home of Liz Robbins
Location: Two Mile Hollow, East Hampton.
Price: $15.5 million.
The appeal: It’s priceless! It’s the last of its kind! It’s 2.8 acres with beachfront! Owned by Democratic lobbyist Liz Robbins and her husband, former newscaster Doug Johnson, the 5,000-square-foot shingled main house, built in 1990, has six bedrooms, five fireplaces, and an unusual “beach cabana” on the dunes, complete with running water and electricity—the last structure of its kind to be legally built. It’s also the only house with East Hampton beachfront now on the market.
So why no sale? Its ocean frontage is an East Hampton public beach with a big, noisy parking lot that abuts the estate. That same beach becomes a locally well-known plage d’amour for gay men by night. In other words, that cabana’s lovely—until you find two naked strangers stumbling around it in the dark.
Potential buyer: Two naked strangers stumbling around in the dark with $15.5 million.