A Greek shipping tycoon with a taste for bird hunting and fine art is the new owner of one of South Carolina’s most historic pieces of real estate.
A company controlled by Gregory Callimanopulos and his family has paid $11 million for Medway Plantation near Goose Creek, ending an eight-year effort to sell the property.
The 6,695-acre tract dates back to the late 1600s. Its sale marks one of the single-largest residential real estate transactions on record for the region, the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors said.
Callimanopulos plans to reintroduce wild quail at Medway and use the Berkeley County estate as a personal getaway and hunting retreat, said Richard Baldwin, president of Tradeland Investors Inc., a New York-based firm identified on the deed as the buyer.
“He and his wife visited the property on several occasions before purchasing it,” Baldwin said Wednesday. “They fell in love with it. They were absolutely enchanted with its beauty and its history.”
The property is on the Back River. Its grounds include a 6,200-square-foot English country-style main house, built around 1686 and considered the oldest masonry residence in the Carolinas. Medway also has four guest houses, three staff houses, a lakefront lodge, a riverside boat landing, formal gardens and a stable.
The seller is a foundation called Medway Institute and its trustee, Bokara Legendre. Legendre inherited the property in 2000 from her late mother, conservationist and philanthropist Gertrude Sanford Legendre, who with husband Sidney Legendre bought Medway for $100,000 in 1929.
The land is protected from commercial development through legally binding conservation easements.
Medway first went on the market for $25 million in 2004. The asking price had been reduced to $15 million by last fall. Medway Institute could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
The prevailing sale price was “a function of … the national market and international market,” said Helen Geer of William Means Real Estate, which had the listing from the beginning.
Geer said she fielded a fair number of inquiries about Medway over the years, but the development restrictions further narrowed an already small pool of prospective well-heeled buyers.
“It can never be commercialized because of those easements,” she said. “A lot of people wanted to do certain things that the easements would not allow.”
Callimanopulos and his family studied the property for more than a year before agreeing to buy it, she said.
“They are going to be very, very good caretakers of Medway,” Geer said.
Callimanopulos came to the United States with his family at age 10 and had the maritime industry in his blood. His father had started a shipping business called Hellenic Lines in 1936. The younger Callimanopulos struck out on his own at age 26 in the late 1950s and formed his own ocean carrier, Trade & Transport.
His main holding company is Brokerage & Management Corp., which is based in a Wall Street skyscraper. He is an avid collector of eclectic works of art.
“My life has been enormously enriched by my involvement in art. Not just because I have great fun with it, but because you read so much, it expands your knowledge so much,” Callimanopulos told Lloyd’s List for a profile published in June 2010.
Baldwin said Callimanopulos knows exactly what he’s buying in Medway.
“He has no intention of doing anything but maintaining its beauty and history, and the value and nature of the place. … He loves it; he looks forward to spending some more time there,” Baldwin said.
Reach John McDermott at 937-5572.
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