On the Market: Former real estate tycoon's hunting lodge now a sophisticated home

WESTON -- Lawrence Wien was used to majestic places, among them the waterfront estate called "Byebrook," at 232 Newtown Turnpike in Weston.

As one of New York’s most powerful real estate barons Wien headed the investment group that purchased the long-term leasing rights to the Empire State Building in 1961. At the time it was the tallest building in the world and it was one of many prestigious acquisitions made by Wien (1905-1988), who "Crain’s New York" referred to as “his era’s king of New York real estate.” Wien’s biography on the website for Columbia Law School, his alma mater, said “His holdings encompassed 20 million square feet of office buildings, including the Empire State Building, the Equitable Building, the Graybar Building, the Fisk Building, and the Lincoln Building.”

When not reigning in New York’s concrete jungle, Wien, a noteworthy philanthropist, preferred the quietude of Fairfield County. Wien lived in Westport but also owned the Weston property, which was used for hunting. At the time it comprised about 100 acres on which he built a hunting lodge in the early 1930s, according to the listing agent. Over time the acreage was sold for development, the most recent being the homes built in 1997, along Michael’s Way and Hills End, the agent said.

Today, Byebrook contains 13.06 acres with a main residence, a large guest house, greenhouse and barn-style detached garage. The hunting lodge is now the great room. Wien eventually added other rooms to create the residence – a colonial farmhouse, the agent said. The chandelier in the great room was imported from Germany in the early 1930s, she said. The main house features three fireplaces, exposed beams, and 8,791 square feet “of grandeur and grace,” the agent said.

The main house was built in 1935 and one of the more recent owners, the Paukers, enlarged the original structure to accommodate their family. The current owners, who purchased Byebrook in 2007, fully renovated and modernized it while maintaining the same footprint. “We also kept and restored all the original wood and stonework in the great room.”

The six bedrooms main house and the four-bedroom, two and a half bath guest house have a “sophisticated yet casual vibe,” the agent said. It is “a family compound with the charm of yesteryear that has been masterfully renovated with top notch amenities to meet today’s standards,” she said.

The guest house is perfect for extended family, visiting guests or it can be rented, according to the agent. It has a stone fireplace. Additional accommodations are available for visiting family or friends, or for a nanny, in the guest suite above the garage. This heated garage features three vehicle bays with the opportunity to install lifts to accommodate two more vehicles for the car collector.

On the attractive grounds there is a Gunite in-ground swimming pool and pool house with a kitchen, full bath and changing rooms. A covered patio has a built-in outdoor grilling area.

ABOUT THIS HOUSE

STYLE: Colonial farmhouse

ADDRESS: 232 Newtown Turnpike, Weston

PRICE: $5,195,000

ROOMS: 16

FEATURES: 13.06-acre level and partially fenced property, waterfrontage, river views, walk to water, four-bedroom guest house, heated Gunite in-ground swimming pool and pool house, patios, greenhouse, professional landscaping, exterior lighting, underground sprinkler, porch, generator, Thermopane windows, proximity to Devil's Den Nature Conservancy, only about 10 minutes from the Merritt Parkway, just 75-minute drive to New York City, three fireplaces in main house, attached and detached garages totaling six bays, central vacuum, zoned central air conditioning and natural gas heat, private well, septic system, circular driveway, full partially finished basement, attic, six bedrooms, five full and three half baths

SCHOOLS: Hurlbutt Elementary, Weston Middle, Weston High

ASSESSMENT: $2,777,300

MILL RATE: 32.37 mills

TAXES: $89,901

“Like to garden? The greenhouse will be your sanctuary for all things green,” the agent said. The meticulously landscaped grounds sit along the west branch of the Saugatuck River and the property contains a footbridge that crosses the river. According to the agent, the river opens at one point to form a large pond on which the owners of this property can canoe.

The recreational activities are greatly expanded by this estate’s proximity to Devil’s Den Nature Preserve, which boasts 1,756 acres of protected land, and 20 miles of trails for hiking and cross-country skiing. It is also a great place for bird watching. Also close by is the center of Weston, public schools, library, ball fields and other town amenities.

“This is rare gem in the heart of lower Weston,” the agent said.

For more information or to make an appointment to see the house contact Susan Seath of KMS Partners and Compass at 203-984-0143 or Susan.seath@compass.com.

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