House of The Week | Brooke Astor’s Holly Hill | Bedford NY Real Estate

BRIARCLIFF MANOR — The asking price on the
majestic Briarcliff Manor estate of the late Brooke
Astor fell to $9.75 million this month.

It was the second price reduction for Holly Hill,
which was put on the market for $12.9 million in
2008 and came down to $10.5 million in 2009.

“There aren’t many properties of this type on the
market, and I see a lot of impressive properties,”
said listing broker David Turner of Houlihan
Lawrence in Bedford. “Holly Hill is a wonderful
opportunity for the buyer with the resources,
insight and desire and who understands its rarity
and value.”

“I didn’t know (Brooke Astor), but walking around
here, I wish I had,” Turner said while moving
through a circular foyer with a black-and-white
marble floor into what had been a library and then
into the dining room. The 1927 stone mansion
designed by William Adams Delano features
fireplaces with marble-carved surrounds and French
doors leading to terraces. The famed New York
socialite and philanthropist bought the estate in
1964 after her third husband, Vincent Astor, died.

In August 2007, she died here at 105. Her only
child, Anthony Marshall, was convicted last year of
taking advantage of Astor and altering her will that
had left $60 million to charities. He was sentenced
to one to three years in jail, but is free on $500,000
bail pending an appeal.

Personal items have been removed from the 10-
bedroom, 21-room house. Now the 10,888-square-
foot home on nearly 65 acres of prime Westchester
land is empty, save for some draperies and well-
worn chintz-covered chairs. Most items are in
storage, said Turner, and will be distributed to heirs
or sold at auction at a future date.

Although vacant, Astor’s country house seems to
still hold touches of the grand dame — a Chanel
powder puff in a bathroom, tiny satin slippers
glimpsed on a closet floor and plush pink paisley
towels hanging on rods.

Bathroom sinks are sunk into large slabs of marble
 standing on thick crystal legs. The kitchen has
1960s-era yellow formica counters, metal St.
Charles cupboards, linoleum tile floors, a
commercial-grade Garland stove and a Traulsen
refrigerator. The property also has a pool, a four-
bedroom gardener’s cottage, a carriage house, a
root cellar and two separately deeded tax lots.
Annual total property taxes are $200,842.

“It is a marvelous piece of property,” said Eileen
Weber, 92, whose own family house bordered the
estate at 298 Scarborough Road and who worked in
real estate.

“But it is not just a flat piece of land. And in these
times, who wants to gamble on putting in all this
work, sewers, roads and such?” said Weber.

She is concerned that possible development of the
property could change the neighborhood.

It is one of four large parcels in the village. The
other three are the 98-acre Philips Lab campus, the
97-acre property owned by Barbara and Albert
Erani, and the 57-acre former Kings College
property that is being tranformed into luxury senior
housing for The Club at Briarcliff Manor.

Briarcliff real estate agent Mark Seiden says the Holly
Hill property could be a tough sale to close.

The potential buyer would either be a developer
who wants to transform the entire parcel or
someone who wants to renovate the home and sell
off a piece of the land, Seiden said. The village
rezoned the area recently, requiring 2 acres per
parcel.

There aren’t many large estates in Briarcliff, he said,
explaining that most buyers want to be near similar
properties in North Salem or Bedford. Currently
there are 52 homes marketed in Briarcliff and so far
this year, 45 properties sold at an average price of
$862,297, he said.

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