Saratoga Springs' Red Villa sold for $1.98 million
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
By Lee Coleman (Contact)
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SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Red Villa, the 795 N. Broadway mansion once owned by the flamboyant socialite Molly Wilmot, has been sold for $1,982,500, a local Realtor said Monday.
The nine-bedroom house, sometimes called Redstone, is a combination of Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival styles. It was built in 1883, according to city records.
The 7,000-square-foot building has eight bedrooms and eight baths.
“You couldn’t build it for three times that amount today,” said Realtor Tom Roohan, owner of Roohan Realty in Saratoga Springs. “It’s just a classic house.”
The house was sold by Mildred Ruth Moorman to Redstone Saratoga LLC this summer.
Molly Wilmot, who died in 2002, owned the house during the 1990s. She sold it to Stonebridge Farm LLC in 2000 for $900,000, according to information on file in the city assessor’s office.
Mildred Ruth Moorman acquired it from Stonebridge in 2006. No price is listed for that transaction.
“It was completely renovated and updated,” Roohan said.
Wilmot, who also owned a large stately home at 659 N. Broadway in the 1980s, did some extensive renovations of her own to the Red Villa before she moved in.
Wilmot spent her summers in Saratoga Springs for decades. She also owned an oceanfront house in Palm Beach, Fla., and a large apartment in Manhattan. She was a friend of socialite Marylou Whitney and other wealthy enthusiasts of thoroughbred horse racing and horse ownership.
She gained even more celebrity the day after Thanksgiving in 1984, when a rusty Venezuelan freighter was washed up onto her sea wall in Palm Beach during a storm.
The nearly 200-foot-long ship, the Mercedes, got stuck there. The photo and story about the grounded freighter and the wealthy socialite who welcomed the crew into her lavish home and gave them coffee and sandwiches made news around the world. Wilmot’s Palm Beach home was next door to the estate of Rose Kennedy, mother of former President John F. Kennedy.
Roohan said the person or persons who bought the Red Villa saw an opportunity. Interest rates are low, he said, and “It’s a good time to invest [in a house].”
James K. Kettlewell, a retired Skidmore College professor and author of “Saratoga Springs, An Architectural History,” said Redstone is a “remarkable variant of Queen Anne style.” He said the red brick material and terra-cotta porch columns contain elements of both Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival.
Kettlewell praises the “terra-cotta treatment of the porch and the wonderful way the front chimney cuts straight through the central gable, where it is flanked by windows.”
The house had been on the market for a little less than a year.
Roohan said he did not know the party or parties associated with Redstone Saratoga LLC.
Two other large mansions on North Broadway have been sold over the past 15 months, Roohan said. These include 655 N. Broadway, purchased in late 2010 for $2.1 million, and 743 N. Broadway, purchased in the summer