Darien to enter negotiations for $100 million island

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DARIEN—The city is considering buying part of a legendary family estate on the Big Island of Darien in a multimillion-dollar deal.

On Monday, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to allow Darien to enter negotiations for the property, which was listed at $100 million.

The property, which was first purchased in 1902, encompasses the sprawling 63 acres of Great Island, connected to Darien by the Rings End Bridge.

Built as a summer residence by soda tycoon and billionaire William Ziegler who died in 1905, the property was first listed in 2016 by Ziegler’s descendants.


At the time, the owners asked for $175 million, before dropping it first to $120 million and then back to its current price of $100 million.

First selector Monica McNally said she would continue to have discussions with the owners of the property in “the hope of arriving at a mutually agreed price”.

But she said she believed the acquisition would prove to be a major boon to the town as one of the largest remaining undeveloped parcels of land in Darien.

“Great Island not only has a unique history, it is the latest and greatest property of its kind available on the entire East Coast of the United States,” McNally said. “Never again will there be another opportunity for the city to control the fate of this property, or add an asset that will benefit all of us, like this, for us and for generations to come.”

Any purchase will be subject to final approval by multiple city government bodies, including the city’s finance council and representative assembly.

Great Island has attracted national interest as one of the last Gilded Age family estates. The property, which has been in the family for over a century, includes a 13,000 square foot main residence, several other small guesthouses and cabins, an equestrian facility and a private beach.

“I believe 200 years from now when people look at this property, they will view this transaction favorably,” McNally said.

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