An oceanfront Dewey Beach estate formerly owned by the du Ponts sold for a record $9.1 million.
The property at 1 and 3 Cullen Street sold for the highest price in Delaware for a residential property, according to the real estate multi-listing service (MLS). It last changed hands for $7.5 million in 2004, according to Realtor.com.
Named “Sandaway,” the former property of Alexis F. du Pont Sr. actually includes two homes, a 7,035-square-foot main home on a 26,692-square-foot lot and a 2,922-square-foot guest house on a 7,906-square-foot lot.
The sale closed April 26 after being on the market since March 28, 2019, according to listing agent Kim Hamer, a Realtor at Ocean Atlantic Sotheby’s International Realty.
“At that point that was the highest residential sale in Delaware that was recorded in our MLS system, so that does not include any private sales,” Hamer said.
Built in 1939 with renovations through the years, the main home features seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, six fireplaces, a curved staircase, wrap around decks, a sunroom, a gourmet kitchen with Wolf appliances and granite counters, a great room, a living room, a formal dining room, den, sauna, basement and outdoor shower.
Hamer said almost every room has unobstructed ocean views.
The guest house has five bedrooms, four baths, a kitchen which opens to the dining room and great room, a large screened porch, patio and outdoor shower.
The property includes parking for 10 to 15 cars.
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Hamer said the buyers and sellers wish to remain anonymous. She wouldn’t comment on the new owners’ plans for the property.
More family-friendly town
Dewey Beach Commissioner Paul Bauer said the sale represents not only the rise in property values but a change in the perception of the town, which for years had more of a “party town” reputation compared to Rehoboth or Bethany.
“We are extremely happy about the record-setting home sale here in Dewey Beach,” Bauer said. “This transaction speaks volumes to the commitment to positive changes our community has undergone and the exceptional demand for Dewey Beach properties.”
Assistant Town Manager Jim Dedes agreed that Dewey Beach has become much more family friendly over the years.
“We’re seeing more people choosing to retire here or have a second home here. We’re getting more families, more people moving here to live year round. We’re very pleased with what’s happening,” Dedes said.
The rising property values have been good news for sellers, while buyers have been snatching up homes along the narrow strip of land between the Atlantic Ocean and Rehoboth Bay.
“The people who are selling are very happy,” said Dedes. “Home values have definitely escalated. Most lots are roughly 5,000 square feet, and we’ve been noticing people buying a home for over a million dollars, then tearing down the home and building new.”
Plans to demolish homes
The stately homes at Sandaway won’t be around for long either.
Dedes said the new owners of the property at 1 and 3 Cullen Street plan to demolish the homes, which date back about 82 years.
He said the sellers sold to three buyers.
“We’ve met with two of them. We haven’t met with the third, but we talked with their architect, engineer and attorney,” said Dedes. “Apparently they are going to tear down the homes. They want to build three.”
The town hasn’t received an application for the demolition yet.
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Dedes said before this sale, the town had already agreed to a subdivision on the 34,598 square-foot property which is almost eight-tenths of an acre.
“That goes way back to the former property owner. It’s two lots,” said Dedes.
The new owners want to divide the entire property into three lots, he said.
The minimum lot size in Dewey Beach is 5,000 square feet, just under an eighth of an acre.
Reporter Ben Mace writes about real estate and development. Reach him at [email protected]