Historic Firehouse Turned Luxury Home

Converting historic buildings into luxury homes is nothing new– a while back, we covered the budding phenomenon of converting landmark churches into luxury homes over on Castles Unlimited. This historic firehouse is every bit as creative, and highly coveted, with a price tag to match! Click any picture to view the full listing.

Redwood Hose Station 8 is unique in every sense of the word. This former fire station saw its last active duty in 1912 and is an incredible piece of Newport history. The stunning renovation features the modern architecture of David Hacin with a focus on green living and a commitment to historic preservation. Situated in the heart of the Historic Hill district of Newport, this modern, naturally lit oasis offers three floors of living with four bedrooms and three bathrooms.

Every aspect of the Hose Station 8 restoration and renovation has been thoughtfully designed for ease of living. Luxurious amenities include a ThyssenKrupp elevator that services all four floors, SONOS sound system with individual room controls, nine-foot windows that allow natural sunlight to flood into the house, 200 amp Tesla car charger, and geothermal heat with an 850-foot well that provides heating and central air throughout the residence.

In the Firehouse, you will enjoy 10- to 12-foot ceilings, radiant floors, sustainable woods, and a refurbished fire pole that will take you from the second floor straight down to the Club Level! Relax on the master floor with track doors that open up to a beautiful Ipe deck. Additional features include ADT security, August Smart Lock, Nest Camera System, generator, and master-bedroom steam shower and insulated air tub.

Redwood Hose Station 8 received the prestigious Doris Duke Historic Preservation Award in 2009, the highest compliment for any renovation and restoration in Newport! And for your guests, a very private space with two bedrooms, bath, and kitchenette. Truly a one-of-a-kind property where you can park your car for the weekend, be in the heart of everything that Newport has to offer, and return back to the serenity and quietness that the Firehouse offers.

Olivia Newton-John Puts 12-Acre California Ranch on the Market for $5.4M

Olivia Newton-John has listed her equestrian estate in Santa Ynez, California, for sale. The singer and actress is looking for a buyer with $5.4 million to plunk down for this slice of escapist heaven, which boasts lovely mountain views, frontage on the Santa Ynez river, and an abundance of breathing room.

The lot comes to 12 acres, all told—a sizeable chunk of real estate that accommodates a main house, a guest house, a barn, a pool and outdoor living area, lawns, a four-car garage, and an arena and pastures quite comfortably.

The interiors of the main home are warm, unpretentious, and spacious-feeling; the living room is more of a great-room design, with a spectacular exposed ceiling that rises toward a large center skylight. There’s a great deal of warm wood involved, and those tones and textures define the style of the house. It’s far from rustic, and closer to urbane high-dollar California ranch.

The master bedroom of the main house is a cozy space, and features a peaked ceiling, a hardwood accent wall, and French door access to the exterior; the master bath receives a simple, Eastern-inflected design style, with a bit of color—aquamarine glass sneaks in to support the sinks.

There are just over 4,450 square feet of interiors in the main house and guest house, with four bedrooms and 4.5 baths throughout. Modestly sized structures, but then the Santa Ynez mountains that rise so dramatically to frame the property, and the wide-open spaces that fall away around it, establish a sense of proportion so potent it would be folly to attempt to compete.

Paul Simon Lists Connecticut Countryside Estate for $13.9 Million

Musician Paul Simon is listing his countryside estate in New Canaan, Conn., which comes with its own recording studio, for $13.9 million, or 16% less than he paid in 2002. The pricing reflects the softness of the area’s real-estate market.

The property is on about 32 acres of landscaped grounds with a brook, meadows, woodlands, a great lawn, a pond, and waterfalls. There are also more formal walled gardens and a courtyard

“The first thing we thought when we moved from Manhattan was ‘Wow! We have our own park’,” said Mr. Simon in a statement. “It took half an hour to walk a loop of the property with the dogs.” Mr. Simon called his recording studio, where he recorded his last four albums, a “peaceful space”, and said he would miss playing baseball in the yard with his family.

Mr. Simon and his wife, singer-songwriter Edie Brickell, raised their three children in New Canaan, but the kids have since grown up and moved out, his spokeswoman confirmed.

The roughly 8,500-square-foot main house is a whitewashed red brick Colonial-style residence dating back to the 1930s, according to the listing agent. It has a sprawling living and dining area for entertaining, multiple library spaces and six bedrooms. The recording studio is located in a separate cottage which also contains two bedrooms, according to the listing agents. There is also a three-car garage.

Mr. Simon, 77, rose to fame as half of the duo that made up Simon & Garfunkel, which is known for hits like “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Mr. Simon’s solo hits include “You Can Call Me Al.”

Abu Dhabi’s Real Estate Investment Law Reforms are Game Changing


The relaxing of foreign real estate investment laws in Abu Dhabi will create jobs and stoke demand for property, according to one of the leading property developers in the United Arab Emirates.

“It’s game-changing,” Aldar Properties CEO Talal Al Dhiyebi told CNBC’s “Capital Connection.”

Aldar is the largest listed property developer in Abu Dhabi and one of the largest in the United Arab Emirates, with plans to hand over approximately 1,500 homes in 2019.

“We’ve always traditionally had strong interest from international buyers, but one of their key concerns was this concept of land ownership,” Al Dhiyebi said on Sunday.

Under the new laws, all foreigners will be entitled to own the freehold of land and properties they purchase in investment zones. Until now, ownership was only permitted for UAE and Gulf Cooperation Council nationals, and foreign investors were limited to 99-year leases.

“We’re extremely excited about how attractive this segment is now going to be for some of the international investors,” he added.

Property developers like Aldar hope the initiative will encourage longer-term residencies and inject more liquidity into the UAE’s real estate market, a life-blood of the national economy that has struggled in recent years due to oversupply and limited demand.

Skyscrapers Near Body of Water

“The performance of Abu Dhabi’s real estate market remained subdued in Q1 2019,” analysts at JLL said in a recent research report.

“In the office sector, reduced business growth and corporate restructuring placed downward pressure on rents. This, in turn, impacted demand for residential space which saw both average rents and sale prices decline,” it added.

Analysts at S&P Global have previously warned that real estate prices in Dubai should not see any significant improvement until 2022.

“This is normal in the property sector, where these cycles happen every few years, which are extremely healthy, and to some degree predictable,” Al Dhiyebi said, pointing to improving fundamentals in the economy. “Oil is at quite a good price today, government spending is back, but more importantly, there have been some insightful government decisions that have come out over the last few periods. ”

The government has made major changes to visa laws, and enacted various stimulus measures and reforms to stoke demand in the property sector and drive growth in the non-oil economy.


The changes also bring regulations in the capital closer in line to Dubai, where foreigners can already buy freehold property in investment zones.

“With all of that, we’re hoping to see much more job creation in Abu Dhabi, and more demand for real estate across all of the asset classes,” Al Dhiyebi said.

Source: CNBC

Marc Jacobs Lists Manhattan Townhouse for $16 Million

The kitchen.

Marc Jacobs is putting his Manhattan townhouse on the market for $15.995 million, following his recent marriage and his purchase of a Frank Lloyd Wright home in the wealthy New York suburb of Rye.

The designer got married earlier this month, soon after closing on the roughly 6,000-square-foot Rye home for about $9 million.

A representative for Mr. Jacobs stated that his client is selling because he plans to downsize his footprint in Manhattan. Mr. Jacobs will be splitting his time between New York City and Rye, Mr. Poore said. Mr. Jacobs declined to comment.

Marc Jacobs is listing his Manhattan townhouse for $15.995 million.

In the West Village, the Bethune Street townhouse is one of a handful built as part of the Robert A.M. Stern Architects-designed Superior Ink condominium project developed in the late 2000s. Mr. Jacobs paid $10.495 million for his property in 2009, public records show.

The four-story house spans about 4,346 square feet of interior space plus an additional 1,462 square feet of outdoor areas, including a garden courtyard and a rooftop terrace, according to the listing. There is an oak-paneled living room with glass doors leading out to the ivy-draped courtyard; a dining room with alabaster sconces and art lighting; and a study. The master suite spans an entire floor and includes a mahogany dressing room and a marble bathroom. There are also two guest suites.

Listing pictures show Mr. Jacobs’s art collection on display. Pieces include a sculpture by François-Xavier Lalanne. The art isn’t included in the sale.

The new owner would also have access to the amenities of the condo project, which include a gym, yoga, screening rooms, and a garage.

Foreign Bargain-Hunters Flock to Vietnam’s Luxury Highrises

Forget New York City or Hong Kong. The newest hotspot for luxury real estate is Vietnam.

The Southeast Asian country has been seeing a surge in luxury real estate development, Bloomberg reported, thanks to a booming economy and laws making it easier for foreign buyers to buy property in Vietnam.

Vietnam is “where southern China was 10 or 15 years ago,” Goodwin Gaw, chairman of Hong Kong-based private-equity firm Gaw Capital Partners, told Bloomberg. Prices have been going up over the past year and a half, but investing in real estate in the country is still a good bet in the long-term, Gaw said. Prices for luxury condos in Ho Chi Minh City increased by 17% in 2018, according to Bloomberg.

ho chi minh city vietnam
Prices for luxury condos in Ho Chi Minh City increased by 17% in 2018.

Vietnam’s economy is seeing strong growth, according to Al Jazeera. And in 2015, a legislation change made it easier for international buyers to obtain long-term leases and buy property in Vietnam, Mansion Global reported.

Ultra-luxury living at a low price point

A luxury apartment in the city center of Ho Chi Minh City can cost upwards of $5,000 per square meter or $465 per square foot, Sunny Hoang, associate director of International Residential Sales at Savills in Ho Chi Minh City, told Mansion Global. Compared to other cities, that’s an absolute bargain.

In Hong Kong, a similar home can easily cost four times more than that, Hoang said.

Average prime home values in Hong Kong are now at $4,660 per square foot, according to a separate Mansion Global report, while Manhattan real estate costs an average of $1,773 per square foot.

Feliz en Vista
An artist’s rendering of a swimming pool at Feliz en Vista.

At Feliz en Vista, a four-tower luxury condominium development in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 2 developed by Singapore-based CapitaLand, buyers can choose from a mix of garden villas, duplex penthouses, and “sky mansions.” The property offers ultra-luxe amenities including a swimming pool with hot spring Jacuzzi and water slide, an outdoor movie theater, a treetop adventure walking bridge, a fitness center, sky garden, library, playground, tennis court, and parking.

The condos are currently priced between $232 and $290 per square foot. This would come out to between $400,000 and $500,000 for one of the building’s 1,722-square-foot four-bedroom units.

More than 99% of the units at Feliz en Vista were sold by the end of 2018, a representative for the developer told Business Insider.

Feliz en Vista
An artist’s rendering of Feliz en Vista in Ho Chi Minh City.

And at the The Grand Manhattan, a 39-story development that will include apartments, a hotel, and restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1, known as “Saigon’s Wall Street,” the New York City-inspired condos start at about $557 per square foot.

Compare that to NYC, where even a tiny penthouse can cost$2,143 per square foot and it’s common to see asking prices of $10 million and up. And in Hong Kong, which has one of the most expensive housing markets in the world, a modest house that many would classify as a knockdown is selling for a staggering $446 million.

Not only foreign buyers

International buyers may be jumping to invest in Vietnam real estate, but wealthy locals are giving them competition.

“We have more and more very rich Vietnamese, particularly entrepreneurs looking for places to put their money,” Neil MacGregor, a managing director at Savills Vietnam, told Bloomberg.

Vietnam now has 142 people who are worth more than $30 million, according to a 2019 report from global real estate consultant Knight Frank.

50 Cent’s House in Connecticut Sells After 12 Long Years on the Market

Rapper Curtis Jackson, better know as 50 Cent, has finally found a buyer for his massive compound in Farmington, Connecticut. The sprawling property sold for $2.9 million — significantly less than the initial $18.5 million ask (84% less, to be more precise).

But the sale put an end to a 12-year search for a buyer, as 50 Cent’s house was first listed back in 2007, resurfacing on the market every now and then with a fresh price. Jennifer Leahy of Douglass Elliman was the one who brokered the sale, wrapping up the property’s long run on the market.

50 cent's house in connecticut exterior

50 Cent’s house comes with 19 (!) bedrooms

The Farmington home, located about 80 miles north of the affluent city of Greenwich, is far from your average house.

With slightly over 50,000 square feet, the massive property comes with 19 bedrooms, 25 bathrooms, an indoor pool and hot tub, an indoor court, multiple game rooms, a full gym, a conference room, a home theater, among many other exciting spaces! It is set on 17 acres and the grounds includes a pool, grotto, pond, and a basketball court.

And since this was 50 Cent’s house, it’s bound to have its own night club. Because where else would Fifty feel at home if not “in da club”? The rapper also set up his own recording studio on the property and a green screen room for filming.

50 cent's house in connecticut exterior
50 cent's house in connecticut exterior
50 cent's house in connecticut exterior
50 cent's house in connecticut exterior
50 cent's house in connecticut exterior

From Mike Tyson to Curtis Jackson and on to new owners

50 Cent (by his real name, Curtis Jackson) bought the sprawling property for $4.1 million in 2003 from former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson in a record-breaking deal for the area.

That purchase price was, and remains, an anomaly for Hartford County — where the mansion is located — as Farmington is a fairly modestly priced home market. So you can imagine the shock of an $18 million listing price when Curtis Jackson first brought the property to market.

50 cent's house in connecticut exterior
50 cent's house in connecticut exterior


50 cent's house in connecticut exterior
50 cent's house in connecticut exterior

According to media reports, the proceeds of the sale would be donated to the G-Unity Foundation — an American nonprofit public foundation established rapper 50 Cent himself along with his group, G-Unit. The foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations that focus on improving the quality of life for low-income and under-served communities across the United States.

Scottish Luxury Home Market Robust in the Face of Brexit

gray castle on shore

Scotland’s luxury housing market continues to thrive, outperforming much of the rest of the U.K. as Brexit fuels uncertainty and dampens home sales in much of England and Wales, according to a report from real estate firm Knight Frank on Monday.

Average prime prices in Edinburgh rose 7.4% in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. That robust price growth makes the Scottish capital one of the fastest growing high-end real estate markets in Europe—let alone the U.K., according to the brokerage, which tracks luxury markets around the globe.

Single-family homes have been particularly strong, with prices increasing 9% in the first quarter compared to a year ago as demand for standalone dwellings continues to outstrip supply, according to Knight Frank.

beige concrete house on grass fields

Scotland has not been entirely immune to the cooling effects of a drawn-out and politically divisive exit from the European Union. The pall of uncertainty has scared off a portion of discretionary buyers, such as landlords and those looking for pieds-a-terre, in Edinburgh.

“A lack of clarity surrounding Brexit has increased caution among some buyers and sellers,” wrote senior analyst Oliver Knight in the report. 

The price segment from £1.5 million-£2 million (US$2 million-US$2.6 million) posted the biggest annual price gains, rising nearly 13% in the first quarter compared to a year ago.

Meanwhile, in the countryside, luxury Scottish homes and properties logged a more modest 2.3% annual price growth. Scottish country homes have outperformed the rest of the U.K., where prices have fallen over the past year.

herd of sheeps on road during daytime

Overall, homes in a commutable distance of major cities have fared better than those in more remote areas, according to Knight Frank’s index.

“With Brexit leading the headlines and impacting on housing market sentiment, the prime market is driven primarily by needs-based purchasers who are moving for work, schooling or because they require more space,” Mr. Knight said.

Source: Mansion Global

Sandra Bullock Selling Georgia Island Compound for $6.5M

“Birdbox” star Sandra Bullock is ready to fly away from her Georgia getaway. The “Ocean’s Eight” actress is listing her oceanfront beach house on Tybee Island for $6.5 million, TMZ has reported. In addition to being an Oscar-winning actress, Bullock also has a keen eye for real estate. The A-lister purchased the vacation home in 2001 for just under $1.5 million. But Bullock has already been reaping financial rewards from her investment.


She’s been renting the home out for the last two years, at a whopping $1,400 a night, according to a report in Variety in 2017. Even so, we hope she’s not in a rush to sell. The asking price dwarfs other local homes on the market, with a median listing going for $499,900. With 279 active listings on the market, there are plenty of options to choose from at lower price points. To view the full listing, Click here!


Carrie Underwood Lists Tennessee Home!

Pop country music star, Carrie Underwood, has listed her mansion, which is located in a guard-gated golf course development in the affluent suburban community of Brentwood, Tenn., about 20 miles south of downtown Nashville, for $1.45 million. At the end of a manicured cul-de-sac that backs up to the rolling greens of the tony Governors Club, and described as an “Italian Style Villa,” the 7,083-square-foot, stone accented beige brick home, has four bedrooms and four full and two half bathrooms over three opulently outfitted floors.

The home features soaring ceilings, large open floor plan in kitchen that features stainless steel appliances, sub-zero fridge, and a wine fridge.

Master suite has beautiful gas fireplace, with his and her vanity, and a walk-through shower.

Other bonus touches include a finished basement with heated marble floors, wet bar in den, in-home gym, and extra storage in basement.

For more information email Jim Lowenstern at Jim@castlesunlimited.com.