Plans to transform Riddell’s Bay estate into exclusive waterfront community
Bermudians have the chance to buy into a rare historic waterfront estate on Riddell’s Bay.Businessmen Steve Thomson and Stephen Dunkley have purchased the almost nine-acre Heron’s Nest property from the trust of a General Motors heir.The estate, which dates back to 1803, has been in the family since 1936, when Elsa Mott Mitchell bought it.Mr Thomson, owner of Mailboxes Unlimited and several drycleaners, said he wants to transform the estate into an exclusive waterfront community.The property, which has its own private island, has been subdivided.Mr Thomson said the plan is to sell the main house and cottage and then seven lots that will each have deepwater dock access.The historic two-storey, six-bedroom main home and two-bedroom cottage on about five acres with private Haggis Island is listed at $5.9 million.The lots of around half an acre each with water and overland views are offered at $775,000 to $975,000.Heron’s Nest was originally listed at $12 million.Several plans to buy the property and build condos on it fell through due to the various potential developers being unable to secure financing.Mr Thomson said he saw the property listed and because he grew up in the area and remembers it fondly, was curious to actually go on the estate, which he had only ever seen from the water.However, once he toured it, he “fell in love”with it and decided to make an offer.And rather than build condos on the property, he decided to market it as an exclusive Riddell’s Bay community.“I did not want to see a bunch of condos on it,” he said. “It is a magnificent property and I wanted to keep the estate feel of it.”He said he believed that despite the challenging housing market there was still a market for the lots and the opportunity to build a home in such a prime location.Sole agent Rhonda Casling of Rego Sotheby’s International Realty added that it is rare for a property like this to come on the market.The lots come with utilities already piped in, a paved main driveway and there will be a new floating dock over protected Riddell’s Bay.Mr Thomson added that the lots are relatively easy to build on, having no restrictive zonings.Three local architects, Benevides & Associates, Entasis and OBM, have provided plans for homes that would suit the lots.In addition the landscaped grounds have numerous mature trees including palms, pines, oleanders, frangipanis, and even Bermuda cedars.The main house alone has 450 feet of waterfront, a dock and two boat moorings.The 5,300 square foot main house was designed by Wil Onions and has four fireplaces, a terrace, and an additional two-bedroom suite for staff.It is also finished with valuable aged Bermuda cedar throughout. In addition, the property has a croquet lawn, fish ponds, a temple pavilion and its own horticultural operation and buildings.Intriguingly, according to the Mott family, both James Bond creator Ian Fleming and the playwright Noel Coward, who also worked for a time with the Secret Service, were frequent visitors to Heron’s Nest during the war.Another relation Charles Stewart Mott purchased the Parapet, around the same time. Pan American began flying to Bermuda in the 1930s so travel would have been easier then, when the family bought the Bermuda estates.The Parapet stands atop Scaur Hill and has been a Somerset landmark since the 18th century.The five-bedroom house, with nine acres of land, a tennis court and two docks, was put up for sale after former owner Stewart Mott, the eccentric American philanthropist, died. It’s listed at $7.5 million.