R.I. record shattered by $30M sale of Newport cliff walk mansion

THE 11,579-SQUARE-FOOT HOME at 626 Bellevue Ave. known as
THE 11,579-SQUARE-FOOT HOME at 626 Bellevue Ave. known as "Clarendon Court" sold for a Rhode Island real estate record-breaking $30 million. / COURTESY GUSTAVE WHITE SOTHEBY'S INTERNATIONAL REALTY

NEWPORT – Smashing the Rhode Island real estate record set when singer Taylor Swift bought a mansion in Westerly, an oceanfront estate known as “Clarendon Court” along Newport’s famous cliff walk was sold recently for a whopping $30 million, according to Gustave White Sotheby’s International Realty.

The 11,579-square-foot home at 626 Bellevue Ave. was last owned by the Clarendon Court Trust, according to city property records. The home sits on 7 acres of land. It was not immediately clear who the buyer was.

The “Clarendon Court” mansion was famously once owned by Newport socialites Claus and Martha “Sunny” von Bulow, who was found unconscious in the Bellevue Avenue home in 1980, remaining in a coma until her death in 2008. Claus von Bulow was convicted, and then acquitted, of attempting to murder Martha von Bulow by injecting her with a fatal dose of insulin.

THE HOME had been restored by its seller in recent years. / COURTESY GUSTAVE WHITE SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY

Constructed in 1903, according to city records, and designed by prominent Gilded Age architect Horace Trumbauer, the luxury home features classical Palladian architecture. The design of the home was inspired by the John Hedworth House, built in the early 18th century in County Durham in England, according to a statement from Gustave White Sotheby’s International Realty.

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“Clarendon Court is a masterpiece of distinguished architect Horace Trumbauer,” said David Huberman, the listing broker for Gustave White Sotheby’s International Realty, in a statement it released about the sale. “It has been considered by many to be one of the finest residences in America.”

THE PROPERTY spans seven acres overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. / COURTESY GUSTAVE WHITE SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY

Gustave White Sotheby’s International Realty, which represented the buyer and the seller in the transaction, said the record-breaking sale is a shows the strength of local real estate market.

Prior to the sale, the former owner renovated the property, which features nine bedrooms and nine bathrooms. Previously, the city assessed the property’s value as $13.3 million.

“It was meticulously restored by the seller while retaining the old-world craftsmanship and finish work which highlight the ambience, said Huberman, adding that “The sale of this extraordinary residence is a clear indication of the strength of Newport’s real estate market.”

The $30 million sale crushes the Rhode Island real estate transaction record set eight years ago when Grammy-winning singer Taylor Swift paid $17.75 million for a Westerly property known as “Holiday House.” Swift’s home was built in 1930 for Standard Oil heirs the Harkness Family, and the property served as inspiration for Swift’s 2020 single titled “The Last Great American Dynasty.”

Earlier this week, the sale of another property in Newport nearly broke the record set by Swift. A subdivision of the “Seaward” estate at 339 Ocean Ave. sold for $16 million, according to Lila Delma Compass, the company that represented the buyer and seller in that deal. Before the property was the subject of a subdivision, it was on the market earlier this summer for $30 million.

Marc Larocque is a PBN staff writer. Contact him at Larocque@PBN.com.

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