Report: Hedge Fund Founder Building $75M House in Hastings

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A $75 million view of the Hudson River and the Palisades from Hastings. Hedge fund founder David E. Shaw is building a home in Hastings estimated to cost that much.
A $75 million view of the Hudson River and the Palisades from Hastings. Hedge fund founder David E. Shaw is building a home in Hastings estimated to cost that much. Photo Credit: Jes Siart

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – Hastings will soon be home to a $75 million house, likely the most expensive home in Westchester. Hedge fund founder David E. Shaw is building a house on several prime properties overlooking the Hudson River that he bought, combined and used as teardowns.

Shaw, who founded D.E. Shaw & Co., has been planning the large house overlooking the Hudson and Palisades for several years, and construction is set to finish in about a year. The New York Post, which estimated the cost of the house at $75 million, said Shaw; his wife, Beth Kobliner; and their three children will live in the home.

The 4.5-acre property on Broadway will include a 30,000-plus square-foot single-family house, said Deven Sharma, Hastings building inspector. The property was formerly four land parcels that were combined in a process that began in June 2009. The land contained two houses and a swimming pool that were removed to make room for the new project, according to Planning Board documents.

“What we felt was of primary importance was to make a scheme that really was as sensitive to this landscape as possible,” Noah Yaffe from the architectural firm of Steven Holl Architects said in a January 2012 Planning Board meeting.

Throughout the years of planning and revision, several neighbors and residents spoke out against the new construction, with concerns that the project would alter and impede views of the Hudson River. Residents were also concerned that the gigantic house was not fitting with the style and feel of the present Hastings community, according to residents’ statements at Planning Board meetings.

Keeping with the village code and efforts to move toward a more sustainable Hastings, the house will be shorter than the previous houses that existed on the property and will be powered by geothermal heat, according to Planning Board documents.

“There’s a whole series of wells that will be supplying the heating, because that’s a good thing to do and it’s a green thing to do,” Sharma said. “Geothermal is a renewable energy so they’re not using fossil fuels. Geothermal is a good thing to do for whoever can afford it.”

The house will feature two small reflecting pools, an underground garage and a swimming pool placed half underground, with a tennis court above, Sharma said.

Along with concerns about the size of the house, board members were wary of what would happen if Shaw decided to sell the house in the future and whether many other people could afford it, according to a September 2009 Planning Board meeting. Those associated with the project repeatedly assured the board, as well as residents, that Shaw, the architects and contractors had no intention of causing problems in the area.

“They spent quite a lot of time looking for a home outside the city where they could really raise their kids and become part of the community,” Michael Robinson of Blue River Valley LLC, a company involved in the project, said at a Planning Board meeting. “I don’t think they have any desire whatsoever to build some massive, enormous structure that will obstruct everybody’s views in this community and be an affront to the character of this town or this village.”

The next most expensive house in Westchester County is on the market for $30 million, according to the website Trulia.

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Ok, this gentleman has the wherewithal to build a $75 million dollar home smack dab in the middle of the Village of Hastings. No doubt the property taxes he will pay will be substantial and help the Village’s bottom line. Of course, he is entitled to deduct these taxes from his federal and state income taxes and he will get further tax breaks because he plans to put in geothermal and other energy saving devices. All of this on top of the other loop-hole tax breaks he gets on his off-shore investments and other non-job producing hedge fund business. In a way then, all of us are contributing something to satisfy his desire to build a palatial home overlooking the Hudson that neither he or his family needs. I am not suggesting that he house them in a typical suburban split-level but that he consider how excessive a 4.5-acre property with a 30,000-plus square-foot single-family house is and that when all is said and done, this enormous building does not contribute much to society.