When Taylor Swift plunked down $19 million for an oceanfront mansion in Watch Hill this spring, it looked like the real estate market, at least the high end, was showing healthy signs of recovery.
Now you can see more evidence of the gathering strength of expensive real estate right in Stonington.
Last fall, a New York investment banker and his wife paid $4.4 million for the house at the end of Wamphassuc Point, at the mouth of Stonington Harbor.
They already own the house next door, which is appraised by the town at $1.9 million.
The $4.4 million property at the tip of the point included an 11-room main house and a nine-room guest house.
And in June they tore the main house down.
They have filed building permits to replace it, a project the building permit application estimates will cost $1.8 million.
The permit application indicates the new house will measure more than 7,000 square feet, including basement and decks, but it won't be much bigger than the one it replaces.
The $4.4 million sale was the second-highest price ever paid for a residential property in town. The most expensive was the waterfront house at 53 Church St. in the heart of Stonington Borough, used in the movie "Mystic Pizza," which sold for $5.5 million in 2011.
But it looks like the new owners of the end of Wamphassuc Point, who will have invested more than $6 million on the one property alone, will have what is arguably the most expensive residential real estate in town.
The $4.4 million property was originally owned by the Schaefer family; Schaefer as in "Schaefer is the one beer to have when you're having more than one."
Apparently, when it comes to buying real estate in the Stonington world of Schaefer, having more than one could refer to houses. The new owners of the tip of the point now have three.
Will the good karma of the top of the real estate market trickle down?
That may be hard to predict, given some of the structural weaknesses in the southeastern Connecticut economy.
And yet with $4 million teardowns and expensive building projects ramping up, people in the building industry must feel like the music is starting to play again.
This is the opinion of David Collins