Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s boyhood home in Alexandria, one of the most expensive residential properties for sale in the city, is still on the market a year and a half after first being listed.
The 6-bedroom, 4 1/2 bath-house and debuted for $8.5 million in 2018 before realtors reduced the asking price by $2.3 million in March, and then reduced it again by $650,000 last month. Real estate agent Robert Hryniewicki with HRL Partners at Washington Fine Properties told ALXnow that the long wait and price fluctuation is to be expected with the “ultra-luxury” spectrum of properties, and says the trick is finding the right buyer for the 8,100-square foot Old Town property.
The three story, brick house at 607 Oronoco Street was built in 1795 and served as Lee’s home from 1812 to 1825, WTOP reported. Now it’s on the market for the first time in 50 years, after its current owners finished extensive restorations and decided to downsize.
“The is not a house for everybody,” Hryniewicki told ALXnow when asked why the house has remained on the market. “This is a historic home that has been completely reconstructed. It’s like the current owners basically re-do the entire infrastructure of the property while keeping it true to how it was originally built.”
The new price — $5.6 million — puts the Oronoco Street house under the most expensive home ever to sell in Alexandria which was, according to Hryniewicki, a 4,498-square-foot, brick home at 617 S. Lee Street. That house was built in 1790 and features 0.8 acres of land; it sold for $6.25 million in 2012.
The real estate agent said he saw a similar extended stay on the market and price changes before with another luxury home in D.C.’s Kalorama neighborhood, after initially asking for $10.5 million. “The Lindens,” which was originally built in Massachusetts in 1754 and was moved to D.C., sat on the market for almost a year and the owners knocked down the price before finally finding a mystery buyer.
“We had the same pushback on the sale there just because it’s not for everybody,” Hryniewicki said. “But the one person that we did find absolutely loved it and they paid $7.1 million for it back in 2016.”
And like The Lindens in D.C., Hryniewicki said the Old Town house has the advantage of being a kind of turn-key historical property thanks to recent restorations.
“It’s one of those things where it’s museum-grade quality,” he said, adding that this helps expand the buyer pool. “What’s really nice about 601 Oronoco is that there are no surprises.”
When asked if the Confederate ties to the house have made buyers skittish, Hryniewicki said no potential buyers have cited the connection to Lee as a deterrent so far.
“There are other significant people or events that have gone through this property,” he added, noting that George Washington had once stayed in one of the rooms on the second floor.
One thing he does think buyers are overlooking is the garden around the home, which sits slightly above the street due to the grade of the property.
“When you’re in that garden you could be wherever you want to be because nobody is looking into your garden,” Hryniewicki said. “It’s so, so private and I know that’s one of our driving points in our market — especially in the ultra luxury price range.”