A European-style estate in New Canaan, CT, owned by the founder of JetBlue, David Neeleman, has landed on the market for $8.3 million.
The custom-built residence includes 20-plus rooms, a pool, an elevator, an indoor basketball court, and a 24-seat theater, and sits within walking distance to town.
The manor was tailored to the specifications of Neeleman and his wife after the couple relocated from Utah to the New York area, when the airline executive was getting JetBlue off the ground.
The Neelemans needed lots of room for their nine children, says the listing agent, Shawn Gardner with Houlihan Lawrence.
Inspired by the romance of the historic homes they visited on a trip to France, Vicki Neeleman had something similar constructed in New Canaan.
“She wanted to build something that would be there for centuries,” Gardner says.
The couple purchased the property in 2005, and tore down a small farmhouse on the land to make way for their Euro-inspired compound.
Materials used to construct the stately residence included solid stone and brick. Stone for the mansion was transported from Utah by train. Exterior fencing is topped with ornaments of fleur de lys, in acknowledgment of the home’s French-inspired roots.
After three years in the making, the residence was completed in 2008.
Inside, the 13,297-square-foot mansion features eight en suite bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, and two half-bathrooms. There are nine fireplaces, 12-foot ceilings, and 10-foot mahogany doors.
The home’s four floors are built to accommodate not just multiple children, but grandchildren as well. There’s plenty of room to spread out, with three kitchens, multiple laundry rooms, a media room, a bar, and seamless indoor-outdoor entertaining spaces.
Outside, the parklike grounds feature a pool, hot tub, outdoor fireplace, grill, and terraces. The expansive grassy lawn and picturesque setting have been the backdrop for a few of the weddings of the Neelemans’ daughters, Gardner notes.
But with the grown children out of the house now, the family has decided to move on as well.
“My family and I have spent more than 15 years making memories in this incredible home,” Neeleman said in a statement. “Now that my children have grown, I’ve found myself an empty nester, making this the right time to move on to new opportunities.
“This home was a labor of love, as evidenced in its craftsmanship. I’m confident [we] will identify [the] right new owner who will appreciate its details, and enjoy the estate as much as my family and I have.”
For those considering a huge home that will easily fit multiple generations of family members and guests, you can try before you buy. The property is available to rent for $75,000 a month. That might be the perfect summer getaway for these times of sheltering in place.
“It is the perfect house for a pandemic, because you have space for everybody to be there,” Gardner says. “There are lots of activities [on site]. And you don’t feel isolated. You’re on a beautiful road that’s right near town.”
Neeleman has founded or co-founded five commercial airlines, including Morris Air, which was acquired by Southwest Airlines in 1993, as well as JetBlue. He’s considered to be one of the most successful airline entrepreneurs in the world.
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