2005 Hamptons Special: After $45 M. Record-Breaker on Burnt Point, All Eyes on East End as Elites Carve Up Summer Turf

In the rarefied air of East Side real estate, 2004’s highlights included billionaire Ron Perelman suing a sidewalk café and hawkish co-op tenants evicting endangered birds from their longtime rooftop penthouse perches. Late in the game, however, Rupert Murdoch made the gossip columns with his $44 million all-cash purchase of the late Laurance S. Rockefeller’s triplex penthouse at 834 Fifth Avenue.

But even as Manhattan’s media and real-estate circles buzzed over the sale, the News Corp. titan found himself outdone last month by pharmaceutical magnate Stewart Rahr’s record $45 million purchase of commodities trader David Campbell’s quirky doppelgänger of Dracula’s Castle: the 18,000-square-foot Burnt Point estate in Wainscott.

And so the East End record topped the East Side’s, making it the priciest home sale in New York State history.

And things could get even more dramatic: Deep-pocketed buyers sick of the sleet and chilly rain of a Manhattan midwinter know there’s still Cheryl Gordon’s $75 million Three Ponds Farm up for sale in Bridgehampton.

In fact, it’s prime selling time out on the East End-and so Manhattan Transfers decided to fix a hot toddy and take a look at who’s planning a warm Hamptons summer.

In November 2003, Ford Motor Company heiress Charlotte Ford, the daughter of the late Henry Ford II and the author of 21st-Century Etiquette, listed her Southampton Village estate on Squabble Lane for $15million (the move comes one month after she nabbed a one-acre lot nearby for $2.12 million). Now, Ms. Ford has completed the downscaling deal with the sale of her Squabble Lane spread for $8 million, township records show. The 1970’s French stucco-style mansion-which shares the same block with tennis-ace-turned-failed-CNBC-talker John McEnroe-has six bedrooms and five and a half bathrooms. The grounds cover some seven acres and include private beach access, a separate two-bedroom guest cottage, a tennis court, a three-car garage and a swimming pool with pool house.

Peter Hallock, the president of Allan M. Schneider Associates, who brokered the sale of Ms. Ford’s Squabble Lane spread, didn’t return calls seeking comment.

Ms. Ford’s Southampton divestiture followed shortly after Dorothy Lichtenstein, the widow of famed pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, laid down Southampton roots of her own with a $1.75 million purchase in Southampton Village. Township records show that Ms. Lichtenstein, the president of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, snapped up a 3,000-square-foot shingle-style home on a three-quarter-acre plot on Layton Avenue. The spread has five bedrooms and three bathrooms. Ms. Lichtenstein didn’t return calls seeking comment.

Apparently, more art types were pulled eastward by the Suffolk County tractor beam last year. In August, Chelsea art-gallery owner Christophe Van de Weghe paid $2.1 million for a 4,000-square-foot contemporary home in East Hampton Village, township records show. What was the draw?

“His clients are here, and socially it worked for him,” Sheila Smith of the Corcoran Group, Mr. Van de Weghe’s broker, said. Diane Saatchi, Corcoran’s regional vice president of finance, represented the seller.

The well-appointed modern home on Cove Hollow Road was built in 1989 and is sheathed in white wood. The alabaster-hued spread has four bedrooms, five bathrooms, central air, a heated pool and a two-car garage.

“He calls it Casablanca,” Ms. Smith added. “You can walk to the ocean, and he saw the space as being blended with his line of work.”

Last February, Mr. Van de Weghe also snapped up art dealer Stellan Holm’s 2,100-square-foot Soho loft at 77 Mercer Street for $1.6 million.

Mr. Van de Weghe didn’t return a call seeking comment.