Ever since reclusive copper heiress Huguette Clark bought the 51.7-acre New Canaan estate “Le Beau Chateau” in 1951, the property has sat empty, save for a caretaker who lived in a small, separate residence. Ms. Clark, who died two weeks shy of her 105th birthday in 2011, setting off a bitter battle over who would inherit her $300 million estate, never even spent a night in the house, let alone moved in. Moreover, no one has been particularly eager to snatch the property up, at least not for the $34 million it tried for when it first hit the market nine years ago. Now, however, Le Beau Chateau may finally getting some new occupants—broker Barbara Cleary told the New Canaan News that a buyer has signed a contract to buy the estate, which was last asking $15.9 million.
Though the costs of renovating and keeping up the estate at least bought Ms. Clark some peace of mind, as the exceedingly risk-averse heiress, who lived out the last decade of her life in a hospital even though she was not ill, reportedly considered the property a country hide-out in the event of nuclear war. One hopes, however, that the 22-room house will bring the new owner—whom The Daily Mail is reporting as former Coach honcho Reed Krakoff—more than psychic comfort. And, if Mr. Krakoff is indeed the buyer, he might actually be planning to use the estate as something more than a weekend getaway, given that he just sold his $52 million Upper East Side mansion.
Ms. Cleary was, when she spoke with the New Canaan News, coy about who was behind the LLC that’s buying the estate, but said that “the buyers have a keen appreciation for the rarity and unique history of this beautiful estate.”
Which will, apparently, like all of the heiress’s properties, require extensive renovations, having been painstakingly maintained, though not updated, under her ownership. Though Mr. Krakoff, who showed his first collection since leaving Coach at this year’s spring fashion week, might well enjoy a creative side project.
Meanwhile, it is likely that Ms. Clark’s relatives, who reached an advantageous deal this fall over the division of her estate, will be the primary beneficiaries of the sale.