A historic generational estate on the water in Nassau County’s Lawrence, very much tied to its village history, just hit the market before the holidays for $15 million.
Made up of three contiguous properties, the 6.8 acres overlooking Crooked Creek in the estate area of what is known as Back Lawrence is being offered together. Carol Steadman of Compass has the exclusive listing.
“It is the most important property to come on the market in my 20 years of selling real estate in Lawrence because of the sheer size of the property,” Steadman tells Behind The Hedges.
“It’s a waterfront location and offers ample opportunity for development.”
The offering includes a 2.6-acre property with the main home at 295 Breezy Way, an adjacent 1.15-acre parcel with another, smaller home at 285 Breezy Way and a vacant 3 acres at 293 Breezy Way.
Just past the brick pillars at the entrance is the main home, a 10,000-square-foot center-hall colonial, was originally built in 1893 for the Lawrence family for whom the village was named in 1897.
Though it was renovated in 1990, the three-story residence has retained its original characteristics, including hand-carved mahogany, teak wood-paneling and five fireplaces. It boasts an open-plan living/dining room, three bedrooms, three bathrooms and two garages.
“The house was expanded and renovated to reflect the owners’ interest in East Asian art and was featured in Architectural Digest in 1991,” says Steadman. “It is extraordinary, with a huge great room for entertaining, multiple fireplaces, a large master bedroom suite overlooking the water, elevator access to the second and third floors, and many exquisite details.”
The area, also called Old Lawrence, is home to large houses, some former plantations that date back to the American Revolution. Two Lawrence brothers, Alfred and Newbold, later had homes on Breezy Way, according to Steadman, once vast farmlands.
Along with their brother George, the Lawrence family originally developed the area on land they acquired in the 1850s as a summer resort for New York City’s wealthy to retreat, according to a history of the Village of Lawrence. It was on their land that the present train station on Lawrence Avenue was completed in 1869.
“The great boom in summer residents began” with the creation of the Rockaway Hunt Club and a beachfront hotel, but hurricanes and other storms altered the coastline and destroyed the hotel.
“Many of the big homes originally built as summer residences still stand in what is referred to as ‘Back Lawrence,’ the history says. “Other large estates have given way to smaller developments bringing Lawrence to where it is today.”
The last owner bought 295 and 285 Breezy Way from Alice Lawrence, a direct descendant of the original Lawrence family who lived in the guest house at the time.
Behind the main home are beautifully landscaped grounds that face southwest with “spectacular water views” and formal gardens. There is also a pool, koi pond and tennis court.
The adjacent 1.15-acre property at 285 Breezy Way offers a 2,400-square-foot guesthouse, which was completely redone following a fire in 2019. Though it has two stories, the second has yet to be finished. The first floor offers two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Lastly, the third parcel at 293 Breezy Way is a buildable 3.05- acre lot with mature trees overlooking the salt marsh and Reynolds Channel. The property was acquired in 1989 with a house that was later demolished.
The deceased owner of the property at 293 Breezy Way was considering developing the land, but no information on how exactly it could be developed was available.
Located on a quiet cul-de-sac, the properties certainly have potential.
While the estate provides privacy and tranquility, it is also close to the Atlantic beaches, John F. Kennedy International Airport and New York City, as Lawrence is located in the southwestern corner of the Town of Hempstead on the border of Queens.
Lawrence is one of the Five Towns along with the village of Cedarhurst and the unincorporated areas of Woodmere and Inwood, as well as The Hewletts, which comprise the villages of Hewlett Harbor, Hewlett Neck and Hewlett Bay Park.