Real Estate

Legendary Hamptons Property Auctioned Off For Debt Repayment

Once listed for as much as $140 million, an 11.4-acre East Hampton estate was auctioned off for a credit bid of only $700,000 to repay over $6 million in debt.

The estate, known as Briar Patch, had belonged to Chris Whittle, who founded exclusive private school network Avenues: The World School.

The Wall Street Journal reported that, after seven years on and off the market, the estate was picked up in a forced sale by Avenues parent company Avenues Global Holdings, which Whittle also helped found.

For a bid of only $700,000, the company picked up right and title as well as over $6 million in debt accrued by Whittle. A company spokesperson told the WSJ that title should be transferred over next week while plans for what is to be done with the house should be announced in the coming future.

“We hope that this facilitates the recovery of the more than $6 million that remains owed and unpaid to Avenues,” a spokeswoman told the WSJ.

Taking up 11 acres on the storied Georgica Pond, Briar Patch comes with a Georgian-Revival-style house that takes up around 10,000 acres and was built around 1930. It comes with over a mile of waterfront property and would be, if not been for the debt attached for it, an incredibly valuable property.

Georgica Pond, a picturesque lagoon in between East Hampton and Wainscott, is one of the most exclusive areas of the Hamptons — according to Vanity Fair. Steven Speilberg, Martha Stewart, Beyoncé and Jay-Z and Calvin Klein have all owned properties there at different points in time.

Most recently, the property has been put on the market for $95 million but ultimately failed to find a buyer to take on the considerable loans Whittle had taken out through the property, ultimately forcing it into auction.

Whittle, who resigned from the Avenues in 2015, had amassed considerable debt to the company — prior reporting stating that he had not made payments since 2019. Whittle told the WSJ that he had “seen better days” and had taken on the debt to develop private-school network, which failed to come to fruition during the pandemic.

“When Covid hit, it interrupted schools all over the world,” Whittle said. “Over the last 18 months, I really had a terrible Sophie’s Choice: to support the school or support the home. I chose the school. Today’s really the result of that.”

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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