Quiet descends on Petre Island within the afternoon. One can sit on the mahogany porch of a house built into native stone, watch ripples on the water and feel at one with nature—at least until the buzzing of passing Jet Skis intrudes.
The concrete house was built a decade ago with protruding stones and copper paneling on a site selected by Frank Lloyd Wright in about 1950. It features a man-made pond of rushing water, and behind it a small hilltop forest of trees greater than 100 years old.
The home, and a smaller guesthouse designed and built by Wright, came in the marketplace last month, along with the complete 10.37-acre island. It includes a rooftop helicopter. The asking price: $14.92 million.
This island paradise, however, has a possible drawback. It isn’t within the Caribbean or Long Island Sound, but on a spring-fed freshwater lake, Lake Mahopac, in Putnam County, N.Y., about 50 miles north of Manhattan.
Demand has been weak for essentially the most expensive luxury waterfront properties in the brand new York area in recent times, especially for private island homes accessible mainly by boat, brokers said.
Chadwick Ciocci, the broker offering Petre (often known as Petra) Island, said the listing was a challenge, despite the fact that it was properly priced. The link to Frank Lloyd Wright ought to be a lure, he said.
Several showings have been scheduled this summer, including with two potential buyers vacationing within the south of France and at the least one Manhattan billionaire, said Mr. Ciocci of Chilton & Chadwick.
Lake Mahopac is a 587-acre body of water in Putnam County with 3.8 miles of privately owned shoreline. It is without doubt one of the few lakes in the area that permit motor boats. The lake was developed as a resort served by rail in the 19th century but declined within the age of the automobile. Now, the lakefront houses have had comeback, with a mixture of year-round residents and summer dwellers. There are some waterfront mansions, but at prices far below the asking price for Petre Island, by far probably the most expensive property within the neighborhood.
In 2009, the property briefly was listed for about $20 million by the current owner, Joseph Massaro.
The best recent transaction in Mahopac was a $3.02 million sale of a four-bedroom, 8,325-square-foot lakefront house in September 2016, said Justin Pieragostini, a broker at Keller Williams Realty Partners.
The 5,540-square-foot main house on Petre Island is a striking landmark on the lake visible from much of the encompassing shore. Mr. Massaro, a former sheet-metal contractor, built it in 2007, based on Frank Lloyd Wright’s drawings from half a century earlier.
A low-slung, 75-foot-long concrete platform thrusts out over the rocks and into the lake with a 25-foot-long cantilever hovering above the water. It contains a deck that wraps around one side and an African-mahogany interior with glossy concrete floors. The roof is clad in a band of copper.
Natural rock protrudes into the house, a roughly five-to-10-minute boat ride from the lake shore. Within the living room a sloping stone wall has been constructed beneath a few of the 26 triangular skylights. In a shower stall there’s a mound of stone, and a rough natural-stone counter within the kitchen.The main house has four bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms, in accordance with the broker. The Frank Lloyd Wright guesthouse has three bedrooms and one bathroom.
In 1950, Wright built a low-slung, 1,339-square-foot cottage with a peaked wooden roof and a base of concrete with embedded stone on Petre Island.
The architect worked on a bigger house on the island however the project was shelved until Mr. Massaro took it up around 2000, after he sold his business and had time on his hands. (Mr. Massaro paid $750,000 for the island in 1995, in a deal that involved a swap with the previous owner of a lakeshore house he owned.) He erected what he believes to be an authentic creation of what Wright intended to build. The provenance of the house, however, has been in dispute.
After Mr. Massaro dropped an architect recommended by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, he struck out on his own. The foundation objected to the project and Mr. Massaro filed suit in federal court in 2000. In a settlement he moved forward with the house but agreed to explain it as “inspired byFrank Lloyd Wright.
Stuart Graff, president of the muse, said in a press release that Wright’s designs often evolved during construction. For that reason the foundation “believes unbuilt works should remain unbuilt./p>
“Buildings constructed based on Wright’s drawings should only be known as ‘based onor ‘inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright designs,Mr. Graff said.
Mr. Massaro believes the “Massaro Houseis more authentic than most of Wright’s work because there was no client raising objections or asking for more closets.
“You can call it anything you want, but it is a Frank Lloyd Wright house. You can’t get away from that,he said.