If you have the funds, you can buy a house owned by an entire country’s government. A lavish New York state mansion owned by the East African island nation of the Seychelles just hit the auction block on Paramount Realty USA’s website with bidding opening at $2.5 million.
It was first built in 1931 for the Straus family that owned Macy’s department stores and, in the 1980s, it was sold to Randolph Apperson Hearst, heir of the newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst.
But after Hearst passed away in 2000, his wife Veronica remained in the house until it was sold in 2016 to the Seychelles Consulate who, according to Realtor.com, bought for diplomat Justin Etzin and his wife, model Lana Zakocela.
When the marriage fell apart, the small African island nation was left needing to sell the home, thousands of miles from New York.
The estate itself comes with over 7.9 acres of land, a multi-car garage, horse stables, a 1,300-square-foot log cabin, a private lake and a slot of land that has been dug up to fit an infinity pool.
The 14,000-square-foot main house, however, has been completely gutted in anticipation of a custom renovation that never materialized because of the divorce.
“Whoever buys the house will need to finish everything — the kitchen, the bathrooms, everything needs to be redone,” Misha Haghani, the Paramount Realty USA broker overseeing the auction, told Inman. “This is mostly a positive because buyers at this price level have their own tastes and will want to put their own touch on it.”
According to Haghani, the Seychelles Consulate chose to do an auction in order to sell the property fast rather than sit on the market for months as ultra-luxury properties tend to do.
As with most homes owned by countries, finding a buyer has its own unique challenges. The part of Westchester County is home to consulates from many other countries and will require finding someone with serious spending power.
Whoever buys the estate will get an additional bonus — the house is surrounded by over 40 acres of specifically designated conservation land.
“You will not own this land, but it will never be built on,” Haghani said. “When you go on top of the cliff and look as far as you can see, you don’t see anything but trees and wildlife.”
Those interested in buying the estate will need to submit a written bid no lower than $2.5 million and a $250,000 deposit on its site by June 13. Haghani said that they’re prepared for all types of buyers — be they a person or another independent nation.