Former “Today” show host Matt Lauer, axed from his longstanding morning chat show duties (and the adoration of the public) in late 2017 after he was accused of sexual assault by multiple women, is once again trying to sell off his massive compound in the Hamptons, as was first reported by the The New York Post. The always debonairly dressed former morning show host initially listed the property last year, following the finalization of his divorce from Annette Roque, with an asking price of $43.995 million The property is now back up for sale with Susan Breitenbach of Corcoran at the exact same price. Lauer hopes to turn a tidy profit on the stunning multi-residence estate, known as Strongheart Manor, that he bought from actor Richard Gere for $36.5 million in June 2016, three years after Gere initially attempted to sell the property with an entirely-too-optimistic $65 million asking price.
The idyllic, post-card-perfect compound is located in the low-key North Haven area of the charming and historic whaling village of Sag Harbor. All together, between the cedar-shingled main house and two guesthouses, there are 12 bedrooms and as many bathrooms in over 14,000 square feet. Built in 1902, but fully up-to-date for a deluxe modern life, the relaxed and luxurious main house presides over 6.3 waterfront acres and boasts manicured lawns peppered with meticulously pruned flora along with 300 feet of direct bay frontage, a 240-foot deep water dock and a private strip of beach. Perhaps the estate’s most unique and alluring amenity is quaint teahouse picturesquely set on a tiny island in the middle the property’s private pond.
The turn-of-the-century home is replete with cozy, beautifully maintained Old School New England touches like a roomy front porch as well as an enclosed wrap-around porch at the back. Inside, the residence has an upscale and attractively detailed yet rather no-nonsense approach to interior design typical of the Hamptons and North Atlantic region. Hardwood floors, wainscot accented walls, over-sized double-hung sash windows and French doors can be found throughout each of the estate’s residences. Of particular note in the main house are the partly paneled dining room, the plushly furnished living room that is anchored by a river-stone fireplace and a casual den with a huge fireplace between built-ins that house fire wood and media equipment. In the kitchen, gleaming white Carrera marble counters top pale-grey Shaker-style cabinets that provide plenty of room for storing blenders, toasters and other culinary ephemera. The kitchen also features a deep farmhouse-style sink and a large island, as well as the usual array of high-end appliances, while an adjoining breakfast nook is lined wit a cushioned banquette and spills out to the gardens through wood-trimmed doors.
Upstairs, the water-view master suite’s many windows fill the room with the soft, luminescent natural light the Hamptons is famous for. French doors lead out to a private balcony, and the master bath is sheathed in delicately veined marble with a roomy walk-in shower and a deep soaking tub. Other notable amenities include an art studio and a gym. Not as large as the main house but no less lovely and upscale, the two guesthouses provide oodles of space for weekend visitors.
In addition to the inviting porches, there are plenty of other spaces in which to relax and roam about, including a stone-walled sunken garden and an open-air pavilion dominated by a massive stone fireplace. Set amid velvety lawns, the simple, rectangular swimming pool is the perfect spot to splash about if one prefers not to dip their toes in the salty bay water.
Only time will tell if the not-quite $44 million price tag is now the right price, but, as the well-heeled crowds of New York continue to flee the city in the wake of Covid-19, Lauer just might have a bit more luck this time around.
In recent years, Lauer has trimmed his bulging property portfolio. In 2016 he sold a waterfront cottage, also in Sag Harbor, for $3.5 million, a good bit more than the $2.15 million he paid for the place in 2009. And, in 2018 he sold the family’s swanky Upper East Side of Manhattan apartment for $7.35 million, a profitable amount over the $5.88 paid in 2004. Lauer still owns yet another Sag Harbor residence, a sprawling 7,800-square-foot luxury cottage on 22-bucolic-acres, that first popped up for sale in 2016 at $18 million and was most recently available on the open market in 2018 at a much reduced price of $12.75 million. And finally, further afield, Lauer continues to own a 16,000-acre ranch in New Zealand’s picturesque South Island, for which he (and his now ex-wife) ponied up $9.2 million in early 2017.