Just when you thought the real estate market couldn’t get any weirder, CNBC reported last week that there is a “mansion shortage” in this country. The inventory of $1 million-plus homes is plummeting, Robert Frank wrote. But before you collapse in tears, be reassured by this: There is a $25 million property in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County that is yours for the taking. But you better act fast — there have already been inquiries of “intense interest” since it was listed on Friday, one of the agents said Monday.
This is not just any old mansion. It’s “River View Estate,” the home of Tysons Corner tycoon Jerry Halpin, and it’s also 16.5 acres of Potomac River-front property that formerly belonged to George Washington as part of his Mount Vernon-area property in southeastern Fairfax. It’s where his personal secretary once lived (and died), and it stayed in the Washington family portfolio until 1859, according to Heather Corey of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, which is handling the sale. (They also have a $15 million shack in The Plains if you’re a little short on the $25 mill for Mount Vernon.)
Halpin is only the third owner, and he bought the place in 1962. The founder of West Group Management, once the largest landowner in Tysons, Halpin is moving to Jackson Hole, Wyo., one of his former associates told the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story last week. The main house is 6,000 square feet, six bedrooms, four full and two half-baths, with a 2,000-square foot guest house, a four-car garage and carriage house, “staff quarters” and 383 feet of river frontage. It was built in 1914 out of concrete, Corey said, because the owner feared a fire.
The property is “poised for modern renovations,” the Sotheby’s brochure states, which we all know is code for “some of this stuff has been here awhile.” But it is also “not constrained by a conservation easement,” so the potential is there for further development or subdivision on the 16.5 acres. Maybe not what George Washington had in mind when he looked out over River View Estate and said, “I had rather be on my farm than emperor of the world,” but then, there was no mansion shortage back in the day.
Here’s a video tour of River View Estate conducted by Cynthia Steele Vance, a former Fox 5 and PBS anchor.