The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who in 2005 paid $44 million for a triplex penthouse at 834 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, is getting ready to list his waterfront mansion in Oyster Bay, N.Y. for $14.8 million.
Murdoch, who owns properties under his real first name Keith, and wife Wendi paid $7,780,000 in March 2003 to purchase the property at 302 Centre Island Road in the tiny Long Island community of Oyster Bay that they’re now reportedly planning to sell.
If Murdoch’s street name sounds familiar, that’s because singer Billy Joel paid $22.5 million in 2002 through his F Scott LLC company for the 14,273-square-foot mansion at 502 Centre Island Road and its 14.6-acre property, which is less than a mile from Murdoch’s place. Joel then turned around and listed the mansion in September 2006 for $37.5 million, and he recently lowered the asking price to $32.5 million.
Murdoch’s estate is a bit more modest than Joel’s. Purchased from lawyer John van Merkensteijn and his wife Elizabeth, the white-shingled, 11-bedroom mansion was the subject of some attention a few years ago, when a next-door neighbor had—claiming that it was art—hung toilet bowls from trees along his property and arranged orange safety cones and refrigerator parts in his front yard. Village officials had planted bamboo plants to block irate neighbors (including van Merkensteijn) from being able to see the neighbor’s sculptures. However, the neighbor then ripped out the bamboo plants, prompting officials to arrest and jail him. Murdoch wasn’t part of the original controversy—which started when the neighbor complained that van Merkensteijn had shined his lights too brightly on the neighbor’s property—and if anything, Murdoch had tried to quell the strife, including by keeping the lights low after he took possession of the mansion.
A 2005 article in Newsday described Murdoch’s mansion as resembling a “white Southern plantation house complete with columns.” Other features in the mansion, which was built in 1885 and is known as Rosehearty, include high ceilings, oak floors, an elevator, seven fireplaces and a private generator, according to public records and the Journal. Outside on the 4.6-acre property are a pool with a 950-square-foot guest house, a tennis court, a beach cottage and a boat mooring, the paper reported. There is some disagreement over the size of Murdoch’s mansion. The Journal reported that it’s 10,000 square feet, while public records report that it measures 8,683 square feet.
Interestingly, the news of Murdoch’s listing appeared first in the Wall Street Journal, the paper that Murdoch himself is trying to purchase through his attempted takeover of Dow Jones Corp.