Posted on October 5, 2010


Reprinted from The Boston Globe – May 13, 2010

Cohasset castle for sale; bring a king-sized wallet

by Peter Schworm

If you’ve got the wherewithal for a sprawling waterfront estate with a 45-room mansion, private beach, and deep-water dock, you might as well spring for more amenities, say, a nearby inn, a marina, and, for those summer nights when you just don’t feel like cooking, a fine seafood restaurant. Look no further. The Oaks, a 9-acre property that juts into Cohasset Harbor, is up for sale. So, too, are the neighboring businesses that ring the tranquil bay: the Cohasset Harbor Inn, the Atlantica and Olde Salt House restaurants, and the Mill River Marina. All for the asking price of $55 million.

“There’s never been an offering quite like this on the market,’’ said Jonathan P. Radford, the property’s listing agent, who specializes in luxury real estate.

The price of the portfolio, which went on the market yesterday, is easily the highest in Massachusetts, real estate analysts say. The second most expensive home — a 26,000-square foot property on Dartmouth Street in the Back Bay — is listed at $23 million. There are 25 homes priced at $10 million or more, but many have languished, including a $15 million Beacon Hill property that has been on the market for 733 days. A home has not sold for $10 million since 2008, according to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. In Cohasset, the 20,000-square-foot mansion alone accounts for half the asking price. Still, Radford is hopeful that a single buyer will take the whole package, and he plans to market the property internationally.

“We plan to cast a wide net,’’ he said. Radford said the asking price was set after “careful study,’’ but acknowledged there are few comparable properties.

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Peter Roy, a retired investor who sold an independent power company in 1998, and his wife, who have owned the ivy-covered mansion for 20 years, are selling to move to Toronto, Radford said.  “They want their children to enjoy a Canadian experience, as well,’’ he said.  The Georgian revival house is a landmark in Cohasset, a quaint coastal town some 20 miles south of Boston, and has a storied history. Clarence Barron, who built a media empire including the Wall Street Journal, and his heirs lived there for decades. Only three families have ever lived in the home.  The original 1850 structure was razed in the early 1930s, when the current house was built. The Roys have made extensive renovations, Radford said, building a vast roof deck with panoramic views and a massive private dock that can accommodate craft more than 100 feet long. The Roys dredged much of the public harbor to provide access for large boats.  Even along a coast lined with lavish houses, the mansion is strikingly opulent, towering above the tiny harbor. A tree-lined carriageway runs through cast-iron double gates past a huge front lawn to a bluestone terrace.

Among the 45 rooms are a library, sunroom, gallery, and 10 bedrooms. The lower floor features a media room, billiard room, home gym, and pub room complete with a mahogany bar. From the pub, there is access to a wine cellar that can hold 1,800 bottles.  The size of the home is staggering. Besides 10 bedrooms, there are 11 bathrooms, 12 fireplaces. The family room alone, the centerpiece of a 2006 expansion, is 816 square feet, larger than many Back Bay apartments.  Outside stands a clapboard-sided carriage house, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a lawn chessboard with stone pieces that are 2 feet tall.  In the current fiscal year, taxes on the home totaled $107,000.  Early yesterday afternoon, a few people gathered by the harbor to eat lunch and spend quiet minutes overlooking the water, where the Roys’ titanic boat dwarfed nearby pleasure craft and fishing boats.  Nick DiNardo thought it was a shame when the Roys bought the hotel and the restaurant along the water, especially when they painted them all the same drab gray, he said.

“It became this bland, corporate town,’’ he said.

DiNardo, a chimney sweep, had visited the Roys’ home several times. He wasn’t impressed.  “Too many rooms,’’ he said. “What are you going to do with all that space?’’  Others thought they could manage. One woman in her 30s said she knew the Roys and thought they were good neighbors.  “I’d make do,’’ she quipped, “though I wouldn’t pay a dollar more than $50 million.’’

For more information on this property, contact:

Jonathan P. Radford, VP | Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Phone (mobile): 617-335-1919 | Email: jonathan@jonathanradford.com