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The Senator moves back to Albany

Dec 24, 2010 6:49 am
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Kisten Gilllibrand and family are moving from Mt. Merino Road outside Hudson to Albany."][/caption]After weeks of speculation, it's finally been stated officially... U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has sold her Columbia County home. The Register Star reports this morning, with a house photo, that, "after seven years in Greenport, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, her husband Jonathan, and sons Theodore and Henry, are pulling up stakes. On Dec. 5, they sold their home at 358 Mt. Merino Road for $1.3 million to Time magazine managing editor Richard Allen Stengel and his wife, Mary Pfaff Stengel."

The story references the days after Gillibrand defeated Congressman John Sweeney in 2006 when she kept an office in Hudson, as well as how they bought thgeir home from a previous owner who moved after it became known that the new towers from the since-built Athens Generating Plant would be in the home's viewshed, as well as the proposed St. Lawrence cement plant, since abandoned.

The five-bedroom house stands on 13 acres overlooking the Hudson River. It has 4 1/2 bathrooms, a guest cottage, formal and informal gardens, patios, porches, a barn and a four-car garage, according to the online description by Nancy Felcetto of Halstead Hudson Valley. In addition to the 13-acre parcel, there is also another 7-acre parcel adjoining it. Gillibrand spokeswoman Bethany Lesser said the Gillibrands want to move to Albany to be closer to her family.

The property first went on sale in April at a price of $1.71 million. By October, it had dropped to $1.48 million, before reaching $1.3 million at the closing.

The Gillibrands purchased the house from financial executive Dimitri Sevastopoulo and cable television executive Catherine Maguire Rasenberger in 2003.

Sevastopoulo and Rasenberger had purchased the property in 1995 from the Key Trust Co., who had acquired it from Floreida Bates, who is listed in a 1986 directory as “retired.”

According to a New York Times article of May 18, 2007, the Sevastopoulo/Rasenbergers came to Mt. Merino in 1995, expecting “a bucolic retreat,” but soon found themselves in the midst of the battle over the siting of the Athens Gen Power Plant, whose towers could have disrupted their view.

The 2002 Polk City Directory for Hudson and Greenport lists 358 Mt. Merino Rd. as the address of “Citizens for the Hudson Valley,” of which Dimitri Sevastopoulo was executive director.

He was one of the plaintiffs in a 2002 suit against Athens Generating Co. and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, charging that the Army Corps permit on the grounds that an Environmental Impact Statement was not required.

According to the NYT article, the Sevastopoulo/Rasenbergers decided to move back to the city when they heard of the plan to build a cement plant in Greenport.

On July 31, 2003, they sold the house to the Gillibrands, who paid $895,000 for the main parcel and $450,000 for the smaller one.

In 2006, Kirsten Gillibrand defeated U.S. Rep. John Sweeney, a Republican, to become the 20th District congresswoman. She won re-election in 2008, defeating former state Republican Chairman Sandy Treadwell handily.

Gillibrand had a Warren Street office and was frequently seen at local events and gatherings.

On Jan. 23, 2009, Gov. David Paterson tapped her to take over the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton when she was named secretary of state.

As well as being the managing editor of Time magazine, Stengel oversees “TIME.com,” “TIME For Kids,” and other brand extensions. He collaborated with Nelson Mandela on Mandela’s 1993 autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom,” and was coproducer of the 1996 Oscar-nominated documentary “Mandela.”

He and his wife, Mary Pfaff, a native of South Africa, have two sons.

Nancy Felcetto’s description of the house reads in full, “Mesmerizing sunsets and all day long stunning views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains welcome you to a surreal magical landscape that you might think you once stumbled upon in a childhood dream ... this once in a lifetime slice of heaven is the perfect backdrop to make memories generation after generation.

“Beginning with the private drive guarded by towering shade trees through which the light bounces off Ol' Man River, informal and formal gardens, patios and porches greet you with each gentle rolling slope of the velvet lawn as it rolls down over the river.

“The main house is an early twentieth century with classic lines, bright open rooms and countless windows framing the magnificent views. The grand day room with its gracious kitchen, eating and sitting areas with its wood burning fireplace surrounded by walls of French doors is the perfect place to greet the dawn, or unwind at dusk.

“A delightful guest cottage set perfectly amidst the landscape will greet your guests. Barn/4 car garage. This is the storybook cottage made for dreaming. 13 acres (additional 7 acre lot available). Minutes to fabulous Hudson restaurants, galleries, antique shops, boutiques and side of the road country farm stands. (and Amtrak). 2 hrs to NYC.”

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