DARIEN — The town has begun negotiations to purchase Great Island, a 60-acre estate that has belonged to one family since 1905.
The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Monday to approve a resolution to authorize First Selectman Monica McNally to negotiate the purchase of the property, currently listed for $100 million.
The property was first listed in 2016 for $175 million and then relisted in 2019 for $120 million. The property’s monthly real estate taxes are $49,159, totalling $589,907 annually.
Before the vote, the board discussed the potential acquisition of a portion of the property in a 70-minute executive session.
McNally said that Great Island not only has a unique history, it is the last and best property of its kind that is available on the entire East Coast United States.
“There will never be another opportunity for the town to control this property’s destiny, or to add an asset to benefit all of us like this, for us and for generations to come.”
Baking powder entrepreneur William Ziegler built the estate in 1905 and his descendants, the Steinkraus family, are the current owners.
The property contains a 13,000-square-foot, 10-bedroom main house, a guest house, a caretaker’s cottage, a 19th century farmhouse, and a seaside cottage. On the property is an equestrian facility designed by Rafael Guastavino, the engineer known for his Guastavino tile arch system used in Grand Central Terminal and Carnegie Hall, among many landmarks. The facility also includes an 18-stall stable, indoor and outdoor riding rings, a polo field, riding trails and paddocks.
McNally said she believed that 200 years from now, future generations will look favorably on the purchase. The property “is recognized as one of the largest remaining undeveloped pieces of land in the area,” according to the board’s resolution.
The board has discussed the value of the property and its potential use, and hired an appraiser to evaluate the property, according to the resolution.
The resolution authorizes McNally to “continue to have discussions with the owners of said property in the hopes of arriving at a mutually agreed upon price.”
The final purchase is subject to final approval by the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Finance, and the Representative Town meeting.