The most valuable residential property in town -- and one of the most expensive estates along all of Connecticut's Gold Coast -- is on the market for $62 million.
The 20-acre waterfront estate on Sasco Point, once called Riegel Point, at the end of Sasco Hill Road in the Southport section of town, includes a 17,000-plus-square-foot Elizabethan Renaissance-style manor house with a Tudor Gothic Revival wing, a six-bedroom Victorian gatehouse, post-and-beam barn, tennis court, heated swimming pool, numerous out buildings, and spectacular views -- both east and west -- of Long Island Sound as well as Southport Harbor. There is also a grotto-style stone staircase leading to the beach.
"It's just exquisite. It was kept grand and splendid for over 90 years," said Victoria Fingelly, who represents the house for Nicholas H. Fingelly Real Estate, which has an office in Southport Village.
Fingelly said the main house was designed for the original owners, Benjamin DeWitt Riegel and his wife Leila Edmonston Riegel, by noted New York City architect Henry C. Pelton, famous for designing the Riverside Church and the Cloisters in Manhattan.
The water views from the property can never be obstructed. In 1997, Katherine Riegel Emory, daughter of the original owners, deeded a conservation restriction to the Aspetuck Land Trust, safeguarding 6.4 acres of the estate, including 1,850 feet of waterfront on Long Island Sound. Emory's vision was not just self-serving for her family and for future owners of the property. Fingelly said Emory kept in mind the public, shorebirds and wildlife.
In her purpose statement for the deed restriction Emory said she wanted the shorefront portion of her estate to be preserved "as one of the last remaining examples of the gracious and expansive open spaces on Long Island Sound that were traditionally a part of the large estates that formerly flourished in the area."
In the document, Emory also said it was her privilege to be a good steward of this particular land. "The views of this open space have given pleasure, not only to generations of owners and their families, but also to generations of the public, who enjoy the sight of the scenic, undeveloped shoreline from two nearby public beaches, from the public road past Southport Beach, and from the waters of Long Island Sound. In an area as rapidly and as intensively developing as the Connecticut shore, this remaining, highly-scenic open space is a unique treasure which provides pleasure and spiritual renewal to many, as well as sanctuary to birds and animals," the document reads, in part.
The estate is not only the most expensive residential property in Fairfield, it is also one of the most highly taxed of all properties -- either commercial or residential -- in town. As of October 2010, the house was assessed at $24,203,270, which represents 70 percent of the fair market value. On the 2012 grand list of all taxable properties, the house assessment was $24,453,790.
The property owned by Bradley and Karin Jack -- the actual address is 1143-1155 Sasco Hill Road -- was the only residential holding among the 10 most highly taxed in town, ranking eighth last year.
According to Fairfield Tax Collector Sinda Buchter, Bradley Jack, who now lives in Westport, is in arrears for the taxes but for $144,796.06, only the first installment of this year's taxes, which was due in July.
The next installment is due in January 2014. The current interest payment due as of Sept. 6 is $6,515.06.
Jack, a former Lehman Brothers executive, made headlines of a different sort in 2011 and again in 2012 when he was charged in both Fairfield and Westport with forging prescriptions to controlled drugs.
In March 2012, the Jacks' estate was put on a list of tax-deliquent properties that the town threatened to sell at auction unless the overdue taxes were paid, which at the time totaled more than $270,000. They taxes and penalties were subsequently paid and the compound was removed from the town's delinquent tax list.