Published April 29. 2013 6:00AM Updated April 30. 2013 4:54PM
Westerly — A seaside mansion in the highly desirable Watch Hill neighborhood has sold for what may be a record amount in Rhode Island — $17.75 million.
TMZ, the celebrity news outlet, has reported that pop singer Taylor Swift purchased a Rhode Island mansion for $17.75 million in cash. The article didn’t specify a location, but said the property was on 5.23 acres and that the house was more than 11,000 square feet, which matches the specifications of the Watch Hill mansion at 16 Bluff Ave.
James Michalove, owner of Seaboard Properties in Stonington, acknowledged there are a lot of rumors swirling around the identity of the buyer, but citing a confidentiality agreement, he declined to discuss the new owner.
The property sits atop a hill overlooking Block Island Sound and Little Narragansett Bay, he said.
“We sold the property next to this that had the previous record of $17.5 million,” Michalove said. “It’s definitely a record for Watch Hill and, unless something has happened recently, should be a record for Rhode Island.”
Michalove said the “very elegant mansion,” known to locals as The Harkness House, is on one of the highest oceanfront spots between Maine and Virginia. It was built in 1930.
“The views are fantastic,” he said. “It’s like being on a ship.”
The property was put up for sale in the summer of 2009 but was removed a little more than a year later when the real estate market remained in a downturn, Michalove said. It was not put back on the market; instead, the buyer was referred by another agent, Jane Pfeiffer of Essex. “They said they had a buyer looking for a property like this,” he said.
Records of the sale were filed at Town Hall on Friday. The buyer was listed simply as “Harbor Land Rev Trust.” The sellers were James and Marlene Benson.
The mansion, like most of the properties in Watch Hill, has been used primarily as a vacation residence, Michalove said.