Former vice presidential candidate R. Sargent Shriver and his wife, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, this week bought for a reported $750,000 the 30-room Foxhall Road mansion that the late Nelson A. Rockefeller once owned.
The Shrivers, who for 18 years have leased the elegant Timberlawn estate in Montgomery County, had their belongings moved into their new home yesterday, although both of them were reported to be out of town.
The Shrivers were forced to move from Timberlawn when the 211-acres north Bethesda property was sold last year for development of 600 luxury homes.
The Shrivers, who now will be living on a one-acre parcel, will not be scaping nearby development. A total of 120 luxury homes, initially costing between $397,000 and $457,000 apiece, are planned for the 24 acres surrounding the Shriver home on land that Rockefeller sold to the Rozansky and Kay Construction Co. before his death.
William Crowell, vice president of the Crowell and Baker Construction Co., which will build the homes, said that construction work near the Shriver home will not take place for at least three years.
Crowell said that the District of Columbia's Office of Planning and Development and nearby residents still must give final approval for the development plan. All approvals might be granted and construction started within two months, he said.
After Rozansky and Kay bought the entire estate for $5.5 million, Crowell said, the Rockefeller house was placed on the market and four embassies sought to buy it. In addition, Crowell said that another embassy wanted to buy the entire property, while various nationally known athletes and entertainers tried to purchase the house and 10 acres for $10 million. He declined to name any of the would-be buyers or the seven people who have signed contracts to buy the homes that will be built.
Crowell said that his firm, along with Rozansky and Kay and local developers Stephen Gallin, Morton Levine and William Bush, "are emotionally committed to the development" and decided not to sell the property even though they easily could have made a substantial amount of money by doing so.
He described the prospective development, named Foxhall Crescents, as "one of a kind," with three-story homes whose walls will be detached but will be connected with fences to nearby homes.
Crowell said that the project will take five years to complete and will cost nearly $60 million, figuring that will increase the average price of a house in the development to $470,000.
"This is what people with money want," Crowell said. "They want to live in the District and not in a dondominium."
For that kind of money, Crowell said the buyers will get 3,500 to 4,200 square feet of living space, four bedrooms, three full and two half bathrooms, one to three fireplaces, a two-car garage, a family room and living room and a kitchen with a charcoal grill, trash compacter and refrigerator with an icemaker.
In addition, he said that elevators can be purchased as an option and that four of the seven people who have bought so far have added the $13,000 item.
Burglar alarms, marble foyers, ceramic tile kitchen floors and whirlpool tubs are standard in the homes, which will be built in what Crowell described as Georgian or neo-Classic architecture.
In an unusual agreement with residents who live near the estate, located at 2500 Foxhall Rd. NW, Rozansky and Kay agreed to leave about 30 percent of the heavily wooded tract undisturbed. In addition, a 30-foot buffer of trees will ring the property, although some might be chopped down during construction and then replaced with trees at least three to five inches in diameter.
Rockefeller purchased the estate in the mid-1940s and frequently lived there when he was vice president. CAPTION: Picture, The former Rockefeller mansion, with 30 rooms, was bought by Sargent and Eunice Shiver. By Joel Richardson - The Washington Post