May 20, 2019
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This mansion on MDI might be the most expensive private estate in Maine

Bill Trotter | BDN
Bill Trotter | BDN
This 11,000 square-foot mansion overlooking Blue Hill Bay, owned by Chicago private equity fund manager Reeve Waud, was completed in 2017. The estimated value of the mansion and surrounding 322 acres is more than $23 million, which might make it the most valuable private residential estate in Maine.

MOUNT DESERT, Maine — Mount Desert Island already has the most expensive house listing in Maine, for a waterfront mansion in Bar Harbor, and might have set a record earlier this year for the most expensive house ever sold in Maine when David Rockefeller’s former estate in Seal Harbor sold for $19 million.

But there is another residential property on the opposite side of the island that may be the most expensive in the entire state, though it is not for sale. According to municipal property assessing records, a private estate on Indian Point Road could be worth more than $23 million.

Using two real estate holding firms known as Deep Cove Holdings I and II, Reeve B. Waud, a private equity fund manager from Chicago, owns more than 320 acres on the western side of MDI overlooking Blue Hill Bay. The contiguous piece of land is divided between the towns of Mount Desert and Bar Harbor, with roughly 80 percent of it on the Mount Desert side of the boundary. There are four parcels that comprise Waud’s estate, three in Mount Desert and one in Bar Harbor.

Over the past three years, Waud has completely redeveloped one of the parcels, tearing down an old vacation home that had been in his mother’s side of the family for roughly 120 years and replacing it with an 11,000-square-foot mansion.

The redeveloped property, which was completed last year, includes a bowling alley, a racquetball court, a 400-square-foot vault, wine cellars and a three-story elevator.

In addition to the main house, there is a pool and a pool house, a separate “play” house, and a four-bay garage building. The main house has eight bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, while the pool house has two more bedrooms and the play house has one, for a total of 11 bedrooms. The assessed value of this 102-acre parcel alone is $15.4 million.

On an adjacent 31.5-acre parcel is a large maintenance building with living quarters that include two bedrooms. The parcel, which features a tennis court, has an assessed value of nearly $3.6 million.

Two other contiguous parcels owned by Waud — one on the east side of Indian Point Road and another just across the town line in Bar Harbor — are classified as tree growth properties and therefore have much lower assessed values that total roughly $25,000.

On the open market, however, regardless of the tree growth restrictions, the undeveloped properties would be worth far more than that. The appraised value of the 63-acre waterfront property in Bar Harbor is $3.5 million, according to that town’s assessing records, while in 2012, Waud paid $725,000 for the undeveloped 125-acre parcel on the east side of Indian Point Road.

The overall estimated value of $23.3 million for Waud’s 322-acre MDI estate is based upon the assessed values for the two developed parcels, the 2012 sale price of the third — but undeveloped — Mount Desert parcel and the appraised value of the undeveloped Bar Harbor parcel.

Roughly a dozen private residential estates on Mount Desert Island are estimated to be worth at least $10 million each. One of them is is owned by lifestyle media mogul Martha Stewart, while three more are owned by two billionaire brothers.

Mitchell P. Rales, who bought Rockefeller’s Seal Harbor estate for $19 million, also owns a waterfront mansion in neighboring Northeast Harbor that has a current assessed value of $15.6 million, though its estimated construction cost in 2010 was $24 million. His brother, Steven M. Rales, owns a mansion overlooking Somes Sound in Northeast Harbor that has an estimated assessed value of $17 million.

Few private residential properties elsewhere in Maine are believed to be worth $10 million or more.

Ram Island Farm in Cape Elizabeth, which is owned by Sprague Corp. and where several descendents of Phineas Sprague live in separate houses spread out among the estate’s 2,100 acres, is believed to be at least in the eight-figure range.

A lakefront mansion surrounded by 3,300 acres on northern Moosehead Lake that is owned by New York investment banker Robert F. Greenhill has an overall assessed value of $19.5 million, according to state property tax records.

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