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Haunted Woolworth mansion goes up for auction for $7M after featuring in Taylor Swift’s music video

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A ‘haunted’ New York mansion that featured in Taylor Swift’s Blank Space music video and comes complete with its very own clock tower is now headed to auction – at a discounted price.

The historic property, which was once owned by entrepreneur Frank Winfield Woolworth, is located in Long Island and will be available to bid on later this month.

Having failed to sell for its initial asking price of $19.95 million, the sprawling house will now go up on the block, with bids starting at $7 million – meaning that it could well prove an impressive real estate bargain for one lucky buyer. 

Known as Winfield Hall – but also sometimes called Woolworth Mansion – it was designed by famous architect C. P. H. Gilbert. The property was built in 1917 for Woolworth, founder of the original US-based Woolworth store, who also worked with the architect on the design and construction of the famous Woolworth Building in New York City.

Own a piece of history: The iconic Woolworth mansion in Long Island, New York, is going up for auction on July 12, with a starting bid of $7 million - having previously been put up for sale with an asking price of $19.95 million

Own a piece of history: The iconic Woolworth mansion in Long Island, New York, is going up for auction on July 12, with a starting bid of $7 million – having previously been put up for sale with an asking price of $19.95 million 

Proceed with caution: The sprawling estate is one of the few remaining privately-owned estates from the Gilded Age, however it has also been the subject of much paranormal speculation

Proceed with caution: The sprawling estate is one of the few remaining privately-owned estates from the Gilded Age, however it has also been the subject of much paranormal speculation 

Spacious: Construction on the property - which boasts a clock tower building-turned-11-car garage (pictured), began in 1916 and was completed one year later, having been designed by famed architect C. P. H. Gilbert

Spacious: Construction on the property – which boasts a clock tower building-turned-11-car garage (pictured), began in 1916 and was completed one year later, having been designed by famed architect C. P. H. Gilbert

Unique: Many of the estate's original architecture remains, including plenty of marble statues and buildings that are located throughout the 16.4-acre property and grounds

Unique: Many of the estate’s original architecture remains, including plenty of marble statues and buildings that are located throughout the 16.4-acre property and grounds  

Claim to fame: When it was first built, the mansion, which boasts 56 rooms, including 12 bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms, was said to have been the biggest home in the whole US

Claim to fame: When it was first built, the mansion, which boasts 56 rooms, including 12 bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms, was said to have been the biggest home in the whole US 

When it was first built, the mansion was said to be the largest home in the whole of the US, and while it no longer holds that title, it still boasts an impressive array of rooms, amenities, and unique interior touches. 

The impressive 32,000 sq ft building has a total of 56 rooms, including 12 bedrooms, 9.5 bathrooms and 16 fireplaces.

There is also a butterfly marble staircase that would have cost approximately $2 million when it was first built.

History and property buffs will also be thrilled by the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rescue a Gilded Age Mansion, one of a number of properties in the United States built by the wealthiest families between 1870 and the early 1900s.

Included in the sale is 16.4 acres of grounds including sweeping lawns with classical-style features.

There is also a 15,000 sq ft clock tower building with enough space to store 11 cars, which has previously been used as staff residences and office space. 

However, for for many music fans, the space is likely most easily recognized for having featured in Taylor Swift’s MTV award-winning music video. 

Familiar? The property earned further notoriety in 2014 when it featured in Swift's Blank Space music video

Familiar? The property earned further notoriety in 2014 when it featured in Swift’s Blank Space music video 

Spot the difference! The popstar filmed several scenes in the mansion, making full use of the property's stunning interior

Spot the difference! The popstar filmed several scenes in the mansion, making full use of the property’s stunning interior 

Cheers! One scene saw Taylor enjoying a feast in the mansion's dining room, where she set up a lengthy table filled with food

Cheers! One scene saw Taylor enjoying a feast in the mansion’s dining room, where she set up a lengthy table filled with food

Film set: This front entryway was also used in the filming of the music video

Film set: This front entryway was also used in the filming of the music video 

Upset: The popstar recorded a particularly emotional moment in the marble-filled space, leaning against one of the mansion's many fireplaces while she sobbed on the floor

Upset: The popstar recorded a particularly emotional moment in the marble-filled space, leaning against one of the mansion’s many fireplaces while she sobbed on the floor 

Strike a pose: It is also thought that this scene was shot in the mansion, although images of this area have not been released ahead of the July 12 auction

Strike a pose: It is also thought that this scene was shot in the mansion, although images of this area have not been released ahead of the July 12 auction 

In the video, the star can be seen living in an opulent mansion and playing house with model Sean O’Pry.

The fairytale building formed the backdrop for several scenes, including Swift’s dining room featuring an enormous chandelier, wood-paneled ceiling and white marble fireplace.

The mansion also featured in a scene where Swift and O’Pry slow danced in black tie.

A separate shot showed Swift singing with tear-stained cheeks in a leopard dress next to an ornate fireplace.

As well as being used as a home and music video set, Winfield Hall also served as a modelling and airline stewardess school for young women in the 1960s.   

But though the property was most recently used as the set of a glamorous music video, it has a much darker history, having been the subject of decades of rumors about paranormal activity and ghost sightings.  

It has long been speculated the the sprawling mansion is ‘haunted’ by the spirit of Woolworth’s late daughter, Edna, who committed suicide on May 2, 1917, shortly after the property’s build was completed. 

Luxurious: When the property was built, no expense was spared, and this butterfly marble staircase is said to have cost a staggering $2 million when it was first installed

Luxurious: When the property was built, no expense was spared, and this butterfly marble staircase is said to have cost a staggering $2 million when it was first installed 

Retro: There are several wood-paneled rooms in the property, which is said to be haunted by the ghost of Woolworth's daughter Edna, who is believed to have killed herself in the home in May 1917

Retro: There are several wood-paneled rooms in the property, which is said to be haunted by the ghost of Woolworth’s daughter Edna, who is believed to have killed herself in the home in May 1917 

Going, going, gone: The home was most recently owned by Martin T. Carey, brother of former New York Governor Hugh Carey, who bought the property in 1978. He died in June 2020, and the mansion is now being auctioned as part of his estate

Going, going, gone: The home was most recently owned by Martin T. Carey, brother of former New York Governor Hugh Carey, who bought the property in 1978. He died in June 2020, and the mansion is now being auctioned as part of his estate 

Rooms on rooms: The mansion boasts 12 bedrooms, 9.5 bathrooms, and 16 fireplaces

Rooms on rooms: The mansion boasts 12 bedrooms, 9.5 bathrooms, and 16 fireplaces

Rooms on rooms: The mansion boasts 12 bedrooms, 9.5 bathrooms, and 16 fireplaces 

Mysterious: The property was seriously damaged by a fire that ripped through several of its rooms in 2015 - in an eerily similar accident to the one that destroyed Woolworth's previous home

Mysterious: The property was seriously damaged by a fire that ripped through several of its rooms in 2015 – in an eerily similar accident to the one that destroyed Woolworth’s previous home  

Potential: Auction house Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co is offering potential bidders a 'once in a lifetime opportunity to rehabilitate an existing Golden Age mansion', which is one of the 'few remaining privately owned estate homes of this era'

Potential: Auction house Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co is offering potential bidders a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity to rehabilitate an existing Golden Age mansion’, which is one of the ‘few remaining privately owned estate homes of this era’

Special: The home's ornate interior makes it a particularly intriguing property for anyone with an interest in architecture

Special: The home's ornate interior makes it a particularly intriguing property for anyone with an interest in architecture

Special: The home’s ornate interior makes it a particularly intriguing property for anyone with an interest in architecture

It is claimed she took her own life at New York City’s Plaza Hotel, though many believe the never-unlocked ‘Marie Antoinette’ room in the mansion was in fact the place of Edna’s death, while her father was hosting a party.

Shortly before the incident, a crack appeared in the marble family crest above the fireplace – and there has long been speculation that it was caused by a bolt of lightning, which struck the house and left a representation of her face, according to Newsday

‘Furthermore, one of the most frequently told tales concerning the Woolworth mansion holds that a bolt of lightning struck the house the day before her passing, cracking a representation of Edna’s face in a family crest carved into a stone mantel – an event considered a supernatural omen of her unexpected demise,’ the publication reported in 2018. 

Noises have been heard, ‘spirit sightings’ have been reported, and visitors claimed they heard a woman crying in the Marie Antoinette room. 

It has also been alleged that Woolworth had ‘an obsession with the occult’ and that he incorporated several mythical symbols into the interior design of the property. 

‘Speculation that F.W. Woolworth had an obsession with the occult and that he had mystic symbols placed within the interior design is also part of the legends that have been attached to the house, as well as reports of hidden rooms and tunnels woven throughout the structure,’ Newsday claimed.   

Looking back: Woolworth, who made his fortune by founding a chain of 'five-and-dime' stores, commissioned the property after his former home burned to the ground. It is pictured in 1920, three years after its completion

Looking back: Woolworth, who made his fortune by founding a chain of ‘five-and-dime’ stores, commissioned the property after his former home burned to the ground. It is pictured in 1920, three years after its completion

Remaining true: Much of the original architecture remains in the mansion, including the many fireplaces and the ornate marble interiors

Remaining true: Much of the original architecture remains in the mansion, including the many fireplaces and the ornate marble interiors

Remaining true: Much of the original architecture remains in the mansion, including the many fireplaces and the ornate marble interiors

Plenty of room! The grounds also feature several different structures, including several archways, which are said to have been inspired by Woolworth's fascination with Napoleon

Plenty of room! The grounds also feature several different structures, including several archways, which are said to have been inspired by Woolworth’s fascination with Napoleon  

Famous: The property was designed by the same architect who worked with Woolworth (pictured) on the construction of the iconic Woolworth Building, which was listed as the tallest building in the world from 1913 to 1930

on the construction of the iconic Woolworth Building (pictured), which was listed as the tallest building in the world from 1913 to 1930

Famous: The property was designed by the same architect who worked with Woolworth (left) on the construction of the iconic Woolworth Building (right), which was listed as the tallest building in the world from 1913 to 1930

Then, in January 2015, the lavish home was gutted by a mysterious fire that ripped through several rooms in the property in an eerily similar blaze to the one that destroyed Woolworth’s first home – prompting him to begin work on Winfield Hall.  

The blaze, which erupted at around 11am in a first-floor bedroom, caused millions of dollars worth of damage. However, the mansion has since been returned to its former glory and is now set to be auctioned off on July 12 by Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co. 

According to the real estate auction site, the property is part of the estate of its late owner Martin T. Carey, brother of former New York Governor Hugh Carey, who bought the mansion in 1978. He passed away in June 2020. 

Although the auction listing for the property offers potential bidders a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity to rehabilitate an existing Golden Age mansion’, which is one of the ‘few remaining privately owned estate homes of this era’, it has also been suggested that the estate could easily be ‘repurposed’ or ‘subdivided’ by any buyer looking to turn it into a more profitable property. 

The property, although certainly impressive, is not the most famous building to bear the Woolworth name. 

That honor goes to the Woolworth Building, the towering skyscraper that was also designed by C. P. H. Gilbert – the same man who created the entrepreneur’s mansion. 

When the 792-foot skyscraper was completed in 1913, it was given the title of tallest building in the world, an honor that it held until 1930. 

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Sirius Real Estate sells London business park for €18.8m (GB)

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Sirius Real Estate has agreed to the sale of an asset in Camberwell, London, for €18.8m (£16m), representing a NIY of circa 2%. The property formed part of the portfolio Sirius acquired in November 2021 with its purchase of BizSpace, the leading provider of regional light industrial, workshop, studio and out of town office units across the UK. The sale price represents a 94% premium to the valuation at the time of Sirius’ acquisition of BizSpace.

 

The multi-tenanted business park, which comprises approximately 34,700ft² of industrial and office space is 91% occupied following a series of asset management measures delivered through the BizSpace platform. The sale is expected to complete in July 2022.

 

Commenting on the transaction, Andrew Coombs, Chief Executive Officer of Sirius Real Estate, said: “This disposal is further proof of the latent value in the BizSpace portfolio we acquired late last year, the price being significantly ahead of last September’s valuation on which our purchase was based, and the attractive sale follows our recent announcement that we had since improved like-for-like rental income across the portfolio by 7.5%. The sale will allow us to invest in new opportunities for BizSpace in the UK as we continue to build our acquisition pipeline. Bringing together the Sirius and BizSpace platforms, with a strengthened management team at BizSpace, is already delivering strong results and operational synergies that will enhance our UK portfolio.”

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Southwold beach hut which is 10ft wide with no running water or electricity up for sale for £250,000

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A beach hut in an upmarket seaside town which is famed for its celebrity visitors has gone on the market for a record £250,000.

The price is believed to be the highest ever to be asked in the UK for a hut which people are not allowed to sleep in – and is double the cost of a three bedroom terraced house just 10 miles away.

The hut, numbered 149 and called ‘Here’s Hoping’, measures 10ft 6ins wide and is in a prime position on the promenade in the Edwardian town of Southwold, Suffolk.

The resort has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis.

Beach huts on the south coast can be more expensive with selling prices for some in Dorset exceeding £500,000.

But the huts in Southwold, which have no electricity or running water, are subject to strict local by-laws which ban anyone from sleeping overnight.

A beach hut called 'Here's Hoping', pictured, which sits on the promenade of the upmarket seaside town Southwold in Suffolk, Doset, famed for its celebrity visitors, has gone on the market for a record £250,000

A beach hut called ‘Here’s Hoping’, pictured, which sits on the promenade of the upmarket seaside town Southwold in Suffolk, Doset, famed for its celebrity visitors, has gone on the market for a record £250,000

The price is believed to be the highest ever to be asked in the UK for a hut which people are not allowed to sleep in. The hut, called 'Here's Hoping' and numbered 149, measures 10ft 6ins wide and is in a prime position on the promenade in the Edwardian town

The price is believed to be the highest ever to be asked in the UK for a hut which people are not allowed to sleep in. The hut, called ‘Here’s Hoping’ and numbered 149, measures 10ft 6ins wide and is in a prime position on the promenade in the Edwardian town

The resort has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis. Beach huts on the south coast can be more expensive with selling prices for some in Dorset exceeding £500,000

The resort has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis. Beach huts on the south coast can be more expensive with selling prices for some in Dorset exceeding £500,000

The buyer will still have to pay annual ground rent of £998 and will only have 18 years left of a 30 year lease, although there will be an option to renew.

They will be able to enjoy spectacular views from a veranda overlooking the beach and the North Sea, while being just a short walk from pubs, restaurants and shops.

But just 10 miles away in Lowestoft, Suffolk, there are several homes up for sale, priced between £120,000 and £140,000.

But the huts in Southwold (pictured), which have no electricity or running water, are subject to strict local by-laws which ban anyone from sleeping overnight

But the huts in Southwold (pictured), which have no electricity or running water, are subject to strict local by-laws which ban anyone from sleeping overnight

Southwold beach (pictured) has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis

Southwold beach (pictured) has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis

Huts in the best locations within Southwold, which is famed for its Adnams brewery, pier and lighthouse, are rarely on the market and some have been in the same family or generations

Huts in the best locations within Southwold, which is famed for its Adnams brewery, pier and lighthouse, are rarely on the market and some have been in the same family or generations

Several semi-detached homes in the area offer three bedrooms, one bathroom and two reception rooms, and is located 0.1 miles away from Lowestoft railway station.

Another property on the market is a £90,000, three-bed semi-detached bungalow at Broadlands Park and Marina in Lowestoft which has a garden, one bathroom and one living room.

The listing for the beach hut boasts that it has ‘glazed double folding doors’ and ‘a number of storage cupboards’.

The previous highest price asked for one of Southwold’s 300 beach huts was £150,000 in September 2018.

Prices have soared since then as property prices have continued to increase and the demand for staycation breaks following the Covid epidemic has boomed.

Huts in the best locations within Southwold, which is famed for its Adnams brewery, pier and lighthouse, are rarely on the market and some have been in the same family or generations.

Several semi-detached homes in the area offer three bedrooms, one bathroom and two reception rooms, and is located 0.1 miles away from Lowestoft railway station

Several semi-detached homes in the area offer three bedrooms, one bathroom and two reception rooms, and is located 0.1 miles away from Lowestoft railway station

Many are rented out for around £600 a week to visitors who flock to the town.

The latest asking price is more than double the price of a three bedroom terrace house on the market for £110,000 around ten miles away in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

More than half the properties in Southwold are second homes and the full-time population is now below 1,000, putting extra strain on local services.

Earlier this year, councillors unveiled plans to try and stem the number of second homes in the town and make more affordable housing possible for local people.

A spokesperson for estate agent Flick & Son, which is selling the hut, said: ‘I am sure it will go very quickly.

‘There is a high demand for huts and we expect there will be a bidding war in the end.’

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EU will retaliate to any unilateral action on NI protocol, Coveney warns

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British prime minister Boris Johnson has been warned of the consequences of unilateral action on the Northern Ireland protocol, including the prospect of “retaliatory” action from Europe.

On the eve of Mr Johnson’s visit to Belfast, the Government and Sinn Féin said moves to disapply parts of the protocol risked damaging east-west relations.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney spoke of a “landing zone” for negotiations and indicated that the European Union was willing to make adjustments through “partnership and dialogue” due to what he said were “legitimate concerns” within unionism about the operation of the protocol.

However, he also said that if London moved unilaterally it would make matters “significantly worse” and that “then the EU will be forced to respond to that with some form of retaliatory action”.

Mr Coveney said it was not “helpful” to expand on what form that might take, but that a response “would be very negative”.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said “there is a real and urgent obligation now” for Britain to engage with the European Commission “in a real and professional way to resolve issues that have been raised”.

Powersharing

Ahead of talks between Mr Johnson and Northern Irish political leaders aimed at restoring powersharing at Stormont, Sinn Féin’s northern leader Michelle O’Neill said unilateral action would “represent an appalling attack on the international rule of law”.

“Only through joint agreement with the EU can solutions to problems or concerns be resolved,” she said.

“I will be telling Boris Johnson that unilateral action deepens political instability and economic uncertainty and must not happen.”

Ms O’Neill is to meet Mr Martin in at Government Buildings Dublin on Monday morning ahead of her meeting with Mr Johnson.

Mr Coveney travels today to Brussels for a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council and will later speak with EU negotiator Maros Sefcovic and British foreign secretary Liz Truss, who is expected to announce legislation on Tuesday that will unilaterally override central elements of the protocol.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Coveney said Mr Sefcovic is open to making “significant progress” on the protocol.

“I believe there are solutions we could pursue and we can agree relatively quickly if there was an attitude to do so on both sides,” he said. “But we need a partner in London to do that, not a partner that is making threats of unilateral action.”

Envoy

The Minister also said he believes it is “likely” that US president Joe Biden will appoint an envoy to the North, saying the US administration is “extremely interested” in marking 25 years since the Belfast Agreement next year with “its institutions intact and functioning as they need to be”.

Mr Johnson is expected to affirm his commitment to the agreement and assert that he is not seeking to scrap the protocol. But Downing Street said ahead of his meetings with the North’s party leaders that he will not drop his government’s threat to unilaterally disapply parts of the protocol, which Mr Johnson agreed with the EU in 2019.

Downing Street said in a statement that Mr Johnson will tell party leaders that the door will always be open to “genuine dialogue” but that “there will be a necessity to act” and protect the Belfast Agreement if the EU does not change its position.

Writing in Monday’s Belfast Telegraph, Mr Johnson outlined that the protocol “has not been adapted to reflect the realities of the [Trade and Co-operation Agreement]”. He will signal that there is “without question a sensible landing spot in which everyone’s interests are protected”. However, he said that if the EU’s position does not change, “there will be a necessity to act”.


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