Tuesday, October 24, 2006 return to news index
Photo Viewerview large
AMR’s Anita Sisney was the listing agent for Llangollen, which was on the market for less than three weeks before the owners, Roy and Lila Ash, had a ratified contract in their hands. To say that Llangollen is a "one-of-a-kind property" would be an understatement. Located on over 1100 acres in the renowned Piedmont Fox Hounds Territory at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the property includes a magnificent manor house, formal gardens, several guest cottages, seven ponds, and a variety of equine accommodations, including paddocks, tack rooms, training track, stud barn and broodmare sheds. Formerly the home of well-known horsewoman Liz Tippett, many successful thoroughbred horses were raised on the property.
The Ashes, owners of the property since 1988, spent many years executing a fabulous renovation of the home. They also turned the property into a highly successful cattle-producing operation with an emphasis on environmental conservation. The farm won a regional Environmental Stewardship Award in both 2003 and 2004 from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. The sellers are pleased that Llangollen will continue in agricultural use and also as a place for family and friends of the new owners, according to Sisney. While honoring the buyers’ request for anonymity, Sisney did scotch rumors that Tom Cruise and Katie Homes were the lucky buyers. The property is scheduled to close in January 2007.
Asked how the sale of the property, which carried a $22 million price tag, was accomplished, Sisney answered, "As a realtor, I have always said — as many others do — that if a property is priced correctly, buyers will recognize that and make their offers accordingly and usually in a very timely manner, so as not to lose it." The buyers, who were represented by an agent from another brokerage, fell in love with it on their first visit. She believes that AMR’s aggressive marketing plan played a very large role in the buyers’ decision not to hesitate. Sisney noted that the property had numerous inquiries as soon as the advertising campaign began and that requests for showings continued even after the contract was ratified. Photographs of the property can be seen at www.armfieldmillerripley.com.
Sunnyside Farms, which is located outside the Town of Washington at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, was both listed and sold by Alan Zuschlag. The property was listed and went under contract in less than three weeks this past June and settled on September 29. The almost-422-acre property sold for the asking price of $7.5 million.
The seller was David Cole, venture capitalist and former America Online executive, who is now prominent in the organic farming industry. He purchased the property in 1996 from the Miller family, which had farmed the land since 1780. He spent millions turning the property into a model of agricultural innovation.
Sunnyside Farms has nine dwellings: a main manor house, two guest houses, an apartment, an un-renovated house, and four tenant houses. The three-bedroom, four-bath main house dates from 1785 but has been substantially enlarged and renovated over the years, most recently in 1999. Outbuildings include a spring house, smoke house (wine cellar) and pump house (gym and laundry).
The farm operation includes the oldest, longest-continuing, commercial apple orchard in Rappahannock County. Approximately 200 acres of the farm are open and used for agricultural production, including about 20 acres of different varieties of fruit trees and four acres of berry brambles. The remaining 150 open acres are used as pasture, hayfields, ponds and annual field crops. Sunnyside has operated as a fully diversified, certified organic farm, producing organic fruits, vegetables, broiler chickens and eggs, according to Zuschlag. There are also extensive walking and bridle trails and six stocked fish ponds. The farm buildings include a huge barn, machine shed/office, machine shed/fruit storage, fuel depot, stables/office and nine greenhouses.
The buyers, who also wish to remain anonymous, had been renting a small place in the area and were looking for a small weekend place to buy. When Sunnyside came on the market, they asked to see it. Long familiar with the well-known property, they took about a week to mull over making an offer on the property, according to Zuschlag, and were motivated to proceed by the tendering of another offer.
Asked how such a unique property could generate so much interest (including inquiries from as far away as Hawaii), the AMR agent stated quite succinctly, "It was well-known and priced to sell." Zuchlag’s marching orders from the owner were to price the property to sell within six months. In determining the asking price, he had to consider the possibility that someone would look at the property as an estate, in which case the millions of dollars of farm infrastructure could be a negative, something that would have to be gotten rid of. For the eventual buyers, who do indeed plan to continue using Sunnyside as a family organic farm, the farm infrastructure came at a huge discount.
Additional information and photographs of the property can be seen at www.farms-estates.com.