Here’s one family estate that won’t become part of a Kennedy history tour: Ted Kennedy’s former McLean home.
Years after new owners took it over, the property on six prime acres overlooking the Potomac is back on the market for $45 million. Wow, the house is worth that much? Not exactly. For that price, you’ll get a brand new 30,000 square-foot French-style chateau — not the actual home where the late senator and then-wife Joan raised their kids in the 1970s.
Kennedy’s house is “going to be a tear down, so it’s not that significant,” said Mike Mafi, owner of the McLean-based The Building Group.
The senator’s place was big but never a showstopper, even back in the day. A former aide described it in a memoir as “an average, gray-shingled ranch house.” But: Location, location, location! A posh address on McLean’s Chain Bridge Road, surrounded by millionaire neighbors like Steve Case (who bought Jackie Kennedy’s childhood home Merrywood), Redskins co-owner Dwight Schar, Jim Kimsey and the Saudi Arabian ambassador.
Hong Kong tycoon Eric Hotung, who purchased the property for just under $6 million in the 1990’s, listed the original house for $10 million last year. No sale.
So, in an eye-popping marketing gimmick, it was relisted last month for $45 million. The offer: To build an ornate mansion on the land with 10 bedrooms, 12.5 baths, eight fireplaces, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis and indoor racquet courts, five-car garage and gatehouse. Mafi said he approached Hotung and the two teamed up to sell the land and the as-of-yet-unbuilt McMansion in one elaborate package. “It will be a very specific buyer,” he said.
If the mini-Versailles sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the big brother of the infamous “Le Chateau de Lumiere” of Great Falls, another Mafi project. Health care entrepreneur Young Yi spent more than $1 million on that 25,000-square-foot dream home but abandoned it last year after her neighbors, former Gannett executive Craig Dubow and his wife, Denise, sued, claiming the mansion would decrease property values and compromise the woodsy feel of their neighborhood.
This site is different, Mafi told us. The house will sit in the middle of six acres and face the water, presumably not bothering any of these VIP neighbors. “We’re not anticipating a problem with this particular lot,” he said.
Earlier: Ted Kennedy’s Kalorama mansion sells for $6.5 million, 7/21/11
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