The purchase price, recorded at 3:31 p.m. Wednesday with the Dukes County Registry of Deeds, is listed at $11.75 million. The buyer is a nominee trust representing the former First Family. The sellers are Wycliffe Grousbeck and Corinne Basler Grousbeck. Mr. Grousbeck is a private equity investor and owner of the Boston Celtics basketball team.
The sprawling 6,892-square-foot house sits on 29.3 secluded acres fronting the Edgartown Great Pond between Slough Cove and Turkeyland Cove, with views of a barrier beach and the ocean beyond. Designed by Bradenburger Taylor Lombardo Architects in San Francisco, the home was built in 2001 by John Early, a well-known Island contractor.
Landvest was both the listing and selling broker for the sale; the principal brokers are Gerret Conover and Tom LeClair. Ronald Rappaport, a partner at Reynolds, Rappaport, Kaplan and Hackney, is listed as the attorney for the buyers, according to records at the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank.
Mr. Rappaport declined to discuss the sale. “We don’t comment on these matters,” he said.
In an email to the Gazette, Mr. Conover and Mr. LeClair also declined to comment.
Rumors of the impending sale have been circulating since late this summer, when the Obamas rented the property for several weeks.
The home features seven bedrooms, eight and a half baths and several stone fireplaces. There is a two-car garage, a detached barn and a pool. The property has been on the market since 2015, when it was listed for $22.5 million. The price was dropped twice this summer, first to $16.25 million in June, then to $14.85 million in July.
The Grousbecks bought the land in 1998 from Geoffrey Gund for $3.1 million, records show.
The Obamas are by now familiar summer visitors on the Vineyard.
The former president and his family spent part of every August on the Island for seven out of the eight years he was in office. (They skipped a year in 2012 when President Obama was in the midst of a reelection campaign.)
The family also visited the Island before, including when he was a senator from Illinois.
During their years as First Family, they rented several different properties in Chilmark. For three summers beginning in 2009, the first family vacationed at Blue Heron Farm, a 28-acre property on the Tisbury Great Pond, just over the Chilmark-West Tisbury town line. Later they rented a 7,000-square-foot home overlooking Chilmark Pond, and more recently spent several summers at a spacious home overlooking the Island’s north shore.
Their new home sits in an area that is rich with natural and human history. Thousands of years ago native Americans made encampments on the shores of the Great Ponds that rim the Island’s south shore, including Edgartown Great Pond. Shell middens and ancient artifacts such as arrowheads are still found around the ponds. In the 1600s and 1700s the Island’s earliest non-native settlers built homes around the ponds.
Many of the place names in the area have changed over the years, partly because when government cartographers created maps of the Vineyard, names were misspelled or changed. But according to a 1954 account in the Gazette by S. Prescott Fay, who may have been one of the early homeowners on what is today the Obama property, Turkeyland Cove was once known as Marshall’s Cove, named for Thomas Marshall Pease whose house sat at the head of the cove. Turkeyland Cove earned its name because the area was once used to dry herring that were once abundant in the Great Ponds. Dried herring was a staple diet of Edgartown people and known as their “turkey”.
Although the Vineyard has long been a vacation spot for visiting presidents, including former President Clinton and his family, this marks the first time that a former president has bought property on the Island.
The property sale will send $235,000 to the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank, which collects a two per cent transfer fee on most arm’s length real estate transactions. Money from the fees is used to buy conservation land and protect natural resources such as aquifers, scenic views and farmland on the Vineyard.
In their email to the Gazette, Mr. Conover and Mr. LeClair characterized the high-end real estate market on Martha’s Vineyard as robust, adding that they have handled several record sales.