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Billionaire Sternlicht’s Eroding Nantucket Home Will Be Demolished

by Staff

Topline

Billionaire investor Barry Sternlicht’s attempts to save his beachfront Nantucket home were dashed this week, as coastal erosion carved away so much of his multi-million-dollar Massachusetts property he received permission for emergency demolition of the structure, making Sternlicht’s summer home the latest estate threatened by erosion.

Key Facts

Sternlicht, through his architect Matthew MacEachern, received unanimous approval from Nantucket’s Historic District Commission for a full demolition of his summer house along Cisco Beach this week, officially ending the investor’s former plans to relocate the home on two adjacent lots he purchased for nearly $3 million.

Sternlicht’s two adjoining properties at the end of Hummock Pond Road on Nantucket are valued at $676,703 and $56,709, respectively, under two separate limited liability companies with the same address in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Those properties, listed at a combined 1.81 acres, have been mostly carved out due to erosion in recent years, with the southern end of the two lots forming the intertidal zone between the Atlantic and the beach, and only a sliver of vegetated land left on the northern half of the parcels.

Aerial imagery from 1998 shows nearly 50 yards between the house and the edge of the beach, plus another 20 yards separating the beach from the neighboring garage, which was demolished after a series of late-summer storms in 2020.

The house itself has stood on cribbing for the past four years in preparation for a pre-approved move to the northern edge of the eroding property, though MacEachern told the HDC on Tuesday that “significant erosion” carving out more than 30 feet left him with little option for remaining on the property, with companies rejecting his request to move the structure.

Big Number

Over $2.8 million. That’s how much the two properties sold for in 2016 and 2019, in total, to BSS Hummock Pond LLC and Hummock Pond Holdings LLC, according to local property records. The 1,638 square-foot, three-bedroom house Sternlicht bought was built in 1995, including two bathrooms, one half-bathroom, gas heating and cedar shingles. His neighboring property sits vacant, between the Atlantic and Hummock Pond, a brackish body of water opened twice per year to the ocean.

Forbes Valuation

We estimate Sternlicht’s net worth at roughly $3.8 billion, making the real estate investor the world’s 823rd richest person. Starwood Capital Group, the real estate-focused private equity firm he founded, has roughly $115 billion in assets under management, while the W hotel chain he founded in 1998 has become a major player in the lodging industry.

Tangent

Sternlicht joins an unlucky list of homeowners who have seen their multi-million dollar estates pummeled by waves and threatened by severe erosion. Just last month, storms chipped away at an affluent neighborhood in Jupiter, Florida, eroding the properties of Grammy-nominated country musician Kid Rock and Conair heir Babe Rizzuto (Kid Rock’s property is valued at $5.6 million, while Rizzuto’s is on the market for $22 million). On Nantucket, prolonged erosion along Sconset Bluff has also jeopardized the homes of billionaire Amos Hostetter and a group of deep-pocketed neighbors who have poured over $10 million into a major erosion-control project, though that system has faced heavy pushback from environmentalists over its upkeep and potential effects to neighboring properties. Another multi-million-dollar home on the island’s south shore was condemned—and later demolished—due to erosion last year. Along California’s Malibu Beach, winter storms have threatened the homes of a group of celebrities, including director Steven Spielberg and actors Dustin Hoffman and Pierce Brosnan—Spielberg sold that property in 2015.

Further Reading

Emergency Demolition For Billionaire’s Beach House Due To Severe Erosion (Nantucket Current)

Severe Erosion Threatens Florida Homes Of Kid Rock And Conair Heir (Forbes)

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