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LI home once owned by Imelda Marcos to be auctioned

The historic Center Moriches property, known as Lindemere, is being placed up for auction Sept. 13.

On Aug. 23, Newsday got an inside look at Lindenmere, the 8-acre waterfront estate being auctioned that was host to the rich and famous during the Roaring '20s and the Great Gatsby era. (Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz)

A waterfront Center Moriches estate that once served as a hotel welcoming guests from around the globe, and later was kept tightly guarded as the summer home of Philippine president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos and first lady Imelda Marcos, is awaiting its latest chapter.

The 8.2-acre property is being put up for auction. It features a 14-bedroom, 17 ½-bathroom home with numerous views of Moriches Bay, a massive finished attic space and a striking glass pool house next to a gunite pool with two Capiz shell chandeliers that Imelda Marcos picked out.

A private sandy beach and boardwalk round out the serene grounds.

The current owner, Janet Davis, purchased the property in 2015 for $1.895 million and turned it into a bed-and-breakfast. She invested $1 million in work, updating the utilities, renovating several bathrooms, installing a new roof and adding 425 feet of new bulkhead. She left the gold and onyx finishes in the master suite, a touch added by Imelda Marcos -- who was known for her lavish spending, famously accumulating more than 1,000 pairs of shoes by the time her husband was ousted. 

“I was already in awe with the natural beauty of Long Island when I first saw the Lindenmere,” says Davis, a native of Detroit. “It was winter, and the entire property was blanketed in white, with spectacular views of the bay. As I continued to walk through the eight-acre estate, with the 100-year-old Linden trees, the old carriage house, the pool house and the grand main house, I envisioned a picture of the ‘glory days’ of a historical landmark property that has survived the past 100 years and began a three-year labor of love. I will miss it here.”

She listed the home for $5.995 million two years ago; it will be auctioned off Sept. 13 with an opening bid of $2.1 million.

“I don’t think I’ve seen any property of this caliber with such access to the water,” says Richard Maltz, chief executive of Maltz Auctions, which is organizing the auction scheduled for 11 a.m. at the LaGuardia Airport Marriott Hotel in East Elmhurst.

Maltz says the property, which is already zoned for commercial use, would be an ideal location for a restaurant.

The home was originally constructed in the early 1900s for the Keily family. It was later owned by Warren Leslie, who married one of the Keilys’ daughters, says Paul Reed, whose grandparents, Otto and Marie Amende, purchased the estate in 1946 after it was damaged by the 1938 hurricane.

Before his grandparents owned the property, Reed says, the Leslies threw “Gatsby-like” parties in the 1920s attended by the likes of composers Richard Rodgers and George Gershwin.

The Amendes named the estate Lindenmere for the Linden trees that grew in their native Germany and lined the driveway. They, and later Reed’s parents, Susie and Arthur Reed, operated it as a hotel until 1972, when they sold the property.

Reed worked at the hotel tending bar, and he says it was “jam-packed with people from the city,” including the late photographer Bert Stern, known for having taken some of the last photos of Marilyn Monroe just weeks before her death.

“It wasn’t the elite Hamptons-type atmosphere,” Reed says. “It was for the people who wanted to get away.”

The property was also a getaway for the Marcoses, who owned the home from 1981 to 1987, when it was seized by the government of the Philippines after Marcos was deposed in 1986.

Mary Field, 87, who wrote “The Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area,” with her late husband, Van, in 1990, says the couple kept to themselves when they visited the home, but she remembers seeing their motorcade.

“They went down Union Avenue, and I can remember when she was in town they had her car going ahead of them and there was a car behind it, and they had armed soldiers on the vehicle to protect her,” Field recalls. “They had everything down there, and they didn’t circulate in the community.”

Field also remembers happy times spent at the Lindenmere, which hosted a high school reunion in the 1950s and several weddings.

“It’s always been a special place,” Field says.

How does the auction work?

The opening bid for Lindenmere in Center Moriches is $2.1 million. Prospective bidders at the auction, which starts at 11 a.m. (registration begins at 9:30 a.m.), must bring a cashier’s check in the amount of $210,000 made payable to Maltz Auctions Inc.  Interested buyers are able to view the property and can also make an offer before the auction, and Maltz also accepts online and absentee bidding.

Richard Maltz, chief executive of Maltz Auctions, says owners go the auction route if they are looking to sell their property quickly.

The other properties being auctioned off Sept. 13 at the LaGuardia Airport Marriott Hotel in East Elmhurst include a 1.4-acre waterfront property on Hayground Cove in Water Mill, with a six-bedroom home. The minimum bid is $4.6 million, and Maltz is promoting it as a building opportunity.

For more information, call 516-349-7022.

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