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St. Ignatius Retreat on the market for $110 million

A parcel of land in North Hills that

A parcel of land in North Hills that once housed a Catholic retreat house is on sale for $110 million. Credit: Giovanni D. Puglisi

The location that once housed the now demolished St. Ignatius Retreat, a 93-year-old Catholic sanctuary in North Hills, is on sale for $110 million as a potential development site. 

The approximately 30-acre property was donated to the New York province of the Roman Catholic order of Jesuit priests in 1937 by Genevieve Brady.

Brady's family home — a 72,000-square-foot Tudor Elizabethan mansion known as Inisfada (Gaelic for "long island") — was then used by the Jesuits, first as a seminary and later, for a half-century, as a retreat house. 

The retreat house was torn down in late 2013 after the Manhasset Bay Group Inc. bought the property from the Jesuits for $36.5 million.   

If developed by home builders, the site at 251 Searingtown Rd. in Manhasset could support 46 single-family residences, according to an online listing by Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty, which is handling the sale. 

Village of North Hills attorney A. Thomas Levin said the new owners had been given a preliminary approval for the development of the land but that the village had not yet issued a final approval for its subdivision. 

“This property is a unicorn ... the last of its kind,” Jason Friedman, of Daniel Gale Sotheby's said. “It’s a prime site, in one of the Island’s premiere neighborhoods." 

Given the rarity of "that much undeveloped land so close to the city," Friedman said he anticipates the property will sell relatively quickly. 

"It's only been listed for a couple of days," he said. "And potential buyers, both local and foreign, have already expressed interest." 

David Pennetta, executive director of brokerage Cushman & Wakefield’s Long Island office, said large chunks of land like this are few and far between on the Island and present a big opportunity for developers.

"The property is in a great location, nuzzled up against the Gold Coast, where there's an intense amount of money," he said.

"It has great access to the city and is well-manicured. As long as it's priced in line with being able to build and make a profit, the site will be very successful."


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