When we contacted the embassy, a representative said staff had “been instructed not to give out any information” about the sale. Reached via phone, Rima Al-Sabah, who counts Teresa Heinz Kerry as a close personal friend, offered “no comment.” But according to the Washington Business Journal, the home sold for $18 million.
Fessenden (so named because it’s the largest/fanciest property on the Upper Northwest street of the same name) was originally listed for $22 million in March. The $18 million price tag makes Fessenden one of the priciest single-family real estate transactions in the District last year. The former Textile Museum building, which also hit the market at $22 million, sold in May for $19 million.
Just five minutes from the embassy’s new Fessenden property, the Sabahs regularly host Washington’s VIPs at the ambassador’s modern residence on Tilden Street in Forest Hills, a tony neighborhood chockablock with grand embassy homes. Folks with last names such as Kerry, Clinton, Biden, Bush, Powell and Pelosi have been known to rub elbows with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Leonardo DiCaprio and Michael Bolton at the Sabah residence. The parties that the ambassador and his wife throw are noticeably lavish, with Mrs. Sabah overseeing nearly every detail, including devising the perfect mix of A-listers and politicos from either side of the aisle.