We Found a Teardown!
Having realized Greenwich Cove is the perfect waterfront view for their dream house, Rich Granoff immediately set out to find the right property. Unlike a bedroom or bathroom count, a spacious kitchen or ample closet space, the qualifications for finding the land for new construction are quite different. The hunt for the perfect teardown required vigilant searching and coordination with the realtor, Ed Mortimer of Sotheby’s.
“Unlike a bedroom or bathroom count, a spacious kitchen or ample closet space, the qualifications for finding the land for new construction are quite different.”
First, it is important to understand that there are two types of homes in a waterfront town: those near the water and those on the water. When looking for a truly waterfront property, your options are a small percentage of the whole community.
Next, the team looking for the new location of ‘Villa Granoff’ began to evaluate the number one characteristic that would inform the final decision: the view. As the seed of the eventual design was permeating in Rich's mind, he knew with certainty that he intended to feature the waterfront as much as possible. Maximizing the amount and quality of the water views was paramount.
Finally, there was the matter of size of the property. You see, zoning imposes certain limitations on land owners like the floor area ratio, or FAR, which determines how much gross floor area a building can have based on the size of the lot. Most waterfront areas in Old Greenwich have ¼ acre lots, which only allows for small home sizes to be built on them. The Granoff dream house would likely need and oversized lot to get approved by the town.
With all these conditions at play, Rich found himself with 8-10 possible locations to choose from, but none of them were ideal. It was time to employ the most important tool in real estate: patience. After six months, the Granoffs finally caught a break in the form of a major price drop on the ideal property. Located on a peninsula, the sale included two lots, one with an existing structure and one the was partially submerged in water. The sum of the two would allow for the FAR needed to build their new oasis.
“The floor area ratio, or FAR, determines how much gross floor area a building can have based on the size of the lot.”
The arduous search required constant coordination among the real estate team, civil engineer and Mr. Granoff himself. Even after the offer was accepted, closing took an additional year. Still, with patience and a bit of luck, Rich and Jill were finally able to tell their close family and friends: "We found a teardown, time to celebrate!"