This article is an "Exclusive" of the The FilAm, a content partner of GMA News Online.
For the third time, the 8.2-acre waterfront complex in Long Island that once belonged to former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda is back in the market, according to the property agent.
The estate has a 16-bedroom and 17-bathroom main house, a carriage house and a pool pavilion, real estate executive Enzo Morabito of the Enzo Morabito Team of Prudential Douglas Elliman told The FilAm.
It has two fireplaces, and the garden has hundred years-old linden trees. The sprawling complex is located at 16 Sedgemere Road in Center Moriches in Long Island’s Suffolk County.
“Mrs. Marcos lived in this estate in the 1980s,” said Morabito. “She lived there until 1987 when it was taken over by the Philippine Government.”
The Center Moriches estate (also known as the Lindenmere estate because it used to be the location of the Lindenmere Hotel) is one of several New York properties
– valued at $350 million — owned by the Marcoses and later seized by the Philippine government when the couple fled the country at the height of a People Power revolt.
The others include a unit at the Herald Center shopping mall; a unit at the Crown Building on Fifth Avenue; and office buildings at 40 Wall Street and 200 Madison Avenue, according to Jovito Salonga of the Philippine Commission for Good Government.
Multiple reports allege the family also owned an estate in Princeton, New Jersey used when the Marcos children attended the prestigious Princeton University.
The Long Island compound boasts the “most amazing” water views, said Morabito.
“It sits on 8.2 acres and has 450 feet of fully-bulkheaded frontage on Moriches Bay with views spanning to Great Gun Beach on Fire Island,” he said.
The house was built in 1915 as a private home for the Kiely and Leslie families of New York. It has 38 rooms, and was rumored to be designed by Stanford White, an architect who designed exclusively for America’s elite families and was murdered in 1906.
It is so sturdy that it withstood the great Hurricane of 1938, which destroyed a lot of waterfront property in the Hamptons. Center Moriches is such a secluded community it has a population of about 6,600. It is about an hour from Manhattan.
“If this property was located in Southampton or East Hampton, it would be double or triple the price. It’s an incredible value at $4,950,000,” said Morabito.
In 1945, this was purchased and became the Lindenmere Hotel, owned and operated by the Amende family. It was a famous hotel through the ‘60s. In the ‘70s, the hotel turned into a health spa.
By 1981, a group of Philippine businessman representing the Luna Seven Development Corporation bought the property for $374,500, said Morabito.
They also bought two adjoining lots, paying $585,000 in all for the vast property. There was not much information about the company – who the businessmen were and why they bought the property, if they were fronting for the Marcoses or ever knew them.
Two men — Architect Augusto Camacho and Dr. Pablo Figuero — put in $1.25 million in renovations from December 1980 to February 1982 with the intention of converting the property into a condo resort.
The property acquired new roofs, windows and upgraded plumbing, heating, and more. They also put in a huge pool.
Imelda Marcos came into the picture around this time in the early ‘80s. Reports say she was accompanied by machine-gun toting bodyguards.
A year later, ownership of the property was transferred to a Curacao corporation called Ancor Holdings NV.
In February 1984, Figuero and Camacho each sued Imelda and other partners for $1 million in State Supreme Court in Suffolk County.
All this information came from the fact sheet of Douglas Elliman given to parties interested in viewing the property. The fact of Imelda Marcos’ ownership is the property’s selling point. Check out the property listing here.
Shortly after, Lindenmere just became Imelda’s private sanctuary, putting an end to the development of the $19 million-resort as envisioned by the two men.
A Los Angeles Times report indicated the men were Imelda Marcos’ associates and they had plans to convert the property into luxury condominiums.
“Witnesses testified that the conversion was halted when she decided to use Lindenmere as her own country estate,” said the report. “Augusto M. Camacho, an architect, (alleged) that she owed him $875,000 for his work on the property.”
The property now her own, Imelda added the marble and glass pool house and the pool. The Marcoses used the estate for entertaining until 1986. The EDSA People Power revolt happened in February 1986, and the Marcoses were forced into exile in Hawaii.
Vacant but well kept for about 10 years, the property was sold by the Philippine government to Dr. and Mrs. Peter Magaro for $1.6 million in 1996.
Jennie Magaro shared fascinating stories about the property with The New York Times. “When Mrs. Marcos went to her estate in Center Moriches in the early ’80s, workers ran out and bought and planted thousands of dollars of flowers.”
”I do know she (Imelda) slept here,” Mrs. Magaro also said. ”She left nightclothes here.” She added that “all the upstairs baths have 24-karat gold-plated fixtures, except in the smaller servants’ bathrooms.”
In November 2004, the property changed hands again. The current owners, who requested anonymity, used it as a private residence and occasionally for receptions, like weddings.
“The current owners do not want to be identified,” said Morabito. “They bought the property from the Magaros.
The Marcoses have maintained they did not own any real estate property in the U.S. - The FilAm