Legendary Hamptons property auctioned for debt repayment

Once listed for $ 140 million, an 11.4-acre estate in East Hampton was auctioned off for a credit offer of just $ 700,000 to pay off more than $ 6 million in debt.

The estate, known as Briar Patch, had been owned by Chris Whittle, who founded the exclusive network of private schools Avenues: The World School.

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

For an offer of just $ 700,000, the company took over the right and title as well as over $ 6 million in debt accumulated by Whittle. A spokesperson for the company told the WSJ that title is expected to transfer over the next week while plans for what needs to be done with the house are expected to be announced in the near future.

“We hope this will facilitate the collection of the over $ 6 million that remains owed and unpaid at Avenues,” a spokesperson told Avenues. WSJ.

Occupying 11 acres on the tiered Georgica Pond, Briar Patch comes with a Georgian Revival style home that occupies approximately 10,000 acres and was built circa 1930. It includes over a mile of waterfront property and would, if not for the debt attached to it, be an incredibly valuable property.

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

More recently the property has been put on the market for $ 95 million, but ultimately failed to find a buyer to take over the sizable loans Whittle had taken out through the property, ultimately forcing it to be put up for auction.

Whittle, who quit Avenues in 2015, had accumulated a considerable debt to the company – earlier report indicating that he had not made any payments since 2019. Whittle told the WSJ that he had “seen better days” and had taken on debt to develop a network of private schools, which was unsuccessful during the pandemic.

“When Covid struck it shut down schools around the world,” Whittle said. “Over the past 18 months, I really had a terrible choice from Sophie: to support school or support home. I chose the school. Today is really the result of that.

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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