The Town of Darien Reaches a Final Agreement in Monumental Great Island Purchase

After years on the market, Darien’s Great Island is finding new ownership with the very town it sits within. The affluent Fairfield County town will soon sign the dotted line and purchase the 60-acre property, located off the coast of Tokeneke.

In January, Darien was in talks to buy it for over the $100 million asking price, but things have changed since then. While still significant, the purchase of this immense multi-structure compound now comes at a bit of a discount. The closing amount is set at $85,000,000, with the contract signed and the deal planned to close on May 5th.

Jennifer Leahy of Douglas Elliman moved quickly after taking the helm in February of 2022. After years of bouncing between various brokerages, Leahy was able to secure a buyer three months after listing the mammoth property. “It’s an honor and a privilege to represent this historical transaction,” Leahy says. “I’m thrilled for my clients and the present and future citizens of the Town of Darien.”

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Photograph courtesy of Douglas Elliman

As the largest private island to ever be offered for sale on the East Coast, Great Island is a huge catch for the town. Steeped in history, the expanse was built in 1905 by industrialist and baking powder mogul William Ziegler, per the CT Examiner. “Our family has cherished Great Island for over 120 years,” says the Steinkraus family, Ziegler’s descendants and the current sellers.

The family explained the island’s capacity for growth, saying, “It is a magical place and we are saddened to see it go, however, we are also excited to pass the torch to the town. We are confident they will be top-notch stewards of the land and preserve it for all to enjoy.” The purchase brings great promise for the future of the Gold Coast and will provide the town of Darien with an abundance of opportunities to program and develop.