In the Hamptons, a single acre of undeveloped land nowhere near the ocean will cost you about a million dollars. So, as you might imagine, 42 perfectly-manicured oceanfront acres with a quarter mile of beach – more than any other estate on Long Island – wasn't going to be cheap. The estate we're describing, which was once home to Henry Ford II, just sold for $145 million.
When it was originally listed in 2017 the $175 million asking price was around $30 million more than any home the Hamptons had ever fetched. By our tracking, $145 million is the second-most expensive sale in Hamptons history and fifth most in US history.
The 42.13-acre property has the largest privately-owned unobstructed ocean frontage on Long Island. It features basketball courts, tennis courts, a greenhouse, a pool, a hot tub and a 20,000 square-foot main house.
Here is a video tour of the truly stunning property:
The property has a rich history connected to one of the greatest fortunes in American history. Contrary to what you might assume, Henry Ford II, AKA "Hank the deuce" (not to his face), was Henry Ford I's grandson. Not son. Hank the deuce was born in 1917 to Eleanor and Edsel Ford. Edsel was Henry Ford's only child.
Henry Ford II married Anne McDonnell in 1940. They had three children together. Anne was a socialite who grew up in Southampton. Perhaps at her urging, at some point in the late 1950s, Anne and Hank acquired 235 acres of oceanfront Southampton real estate and began constructing a mansion.
By 1960 they finally completed what was a 16,000 square-foot mansion. They named their new estate, Fordune.
Henry and Anne did not spare any cost in constructing Fordune. They used the most-expensive building materials, importing fine Italian marble for the fireplaces, antique hardware from a European chateau and even commissioned intricate ceiling decoration – all of which are still on display at the home.
Unfortunately for Hank the deuce, Anne filed for divorce in 1964.
Even worse, Anne got Fordune.
Anne soon oversaw a sub-division of the 235-acres into several properties. She also wisely donated chunks of land to a preservation society, ensuring the property would never have close neighbors to the left or right.
In 1978 Anne sold Fordune to an Italian financier named Carlo Traglio.
The price in 1978?
Even after adjusting for inflation, that's "only" $7 million. Today $7 million MIGHT get you a mansion on one acre with binocular views of the ocean.
Traglio sold the home in 2002 to a financier named Brenda Earl. The price in 2002?
Brenda Earl earned her fortune as a partner in a private equity firm called Zweig-DiMenna. According to 2004 biography of Brenda, written when she was named as one of the top 100 Women In Hedge Funds, when she joined Zweig-DiMienna in 1987 the firm had just $15 million worth of assets under management (AUM). She helped grow the firm's AUM to a peak of $8 billion.
Earl performed a major renovation in 2008 that ultimately expanded the square footage from 16,000 to 20,000.
As we mentioned previously, Brenda originally listed the property in 2017 for $175 million. That would have been enough to set the all-time Hamptons record by about $30 million. By our tracking, at today's sale price of $145 million, this is the SECOND most-expensive home sale in Hamptons history. Brenda missed the record by just $2 million.
The #1 Hamptons records still belongs to a hedge fund manger named Barry Rosenstein who paid $147 million in May 2014 for an oceanfront estate in East Hampton. That sale is the fourth most-expensive home sale in US history. Brenda Earl's Southampton sale is fifth most-expensive in US history.
There's no word on the new owner's identity other than it's someone from an "American real estate family".
We'll update you when the new owner's identity is revealed!