A former financial technology executive and his wife have acquired a historic 19th-century chateau in Aurora, paying $1.4 million in one of the region's highest-priced deals in recent years.
Todd L. Stine and Catherine A. Lundie bought the 9.5-acre Rushing Waters estate on Gypsy Lane from Michael P. Modrzynski, president of mechanical contractor Allied Mechanical, and his wife, Deebe, according to a deed filed with the Erie County Clerk's office.
That ranks the purchase as tied for the eighth most expensive home purchase in Western New York in the last five years, alongside deals in Clarence, Buffalo and Ellicottville, according to data from the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors.
It's the first time the three-story home on the banks of Cazenovia Creek has been available in 20 years, according to the listing by Howard Hanna Real Estate Services agents Christine Hoffman and Sue DePriest.
The home was listed at $1.15 million, but had multiple showings and received three offers, eventually selling for $285,000 over the asking price.
"It's unique. It's not something you could just reproduce," Hoffman said. "It's a solid old house, and the setting is spectacular."
Hoffman said she was not expecting the interest. "There's a surprising number of buyers for the high-end homes in Western New York," she said.
Stine and Lundie, who moved to Western New York from Texas a few years ago, could not be reached for comment. Modrzynski, reached by email, declined to comment.
Rushing Waters, a five-bedroom and 4.5-bathroom mansion, was built in 1883 by Bank of Buffalo cashier William C. Cornwell, who had admired the castles he saw during his travels through the Rhine River Valley in Germany, Hoffman said.
The 5,862-square-foot home features a stone and cedar exterior, with a red roof, a porte cochere side entrance, and a three-story stone turret, according to the real estate listing by Hanna. It also has a large Romanesque arched window in the living room, a big stone fireplace, and both slate and hardwood floors, as well as some carpeting. The library den displays built-in bookcases of cherry and leaded glass, while the wet bar room has a curved stacked stone wall.
There's also a master dressing room and bathroom, and there are curved panes of glass in the dining room, master bedroom and turret office, which also has exposed beams and a gas fireplace. It has an eat-in kitchen with an island, granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances. It also has a barbecue, a hot tub, a finished basement and a recreation room, first-floor laundry and a three-car detached garage.
Additionally, there are plaster friezes showing "welcome" in a dozen languages in the foyer and the signs of the zodiac with the 12 heavenly houses in the living room, Hoffman wrote in a LinkedIn piece about the property. It features wood-paneled doors. And the updated kitchen looks out on the pond and the grounds, which include 900 feet of frontage on the creek, as well as expansive meadows and woods.
The property has a flagstone patio surrounding a Gunite in-ground pool and fire pit. Stone pillars stand guard at the entrance to the long curved driveway. And it also features a three-bay carriage barn with second-floor storage and a 1,740-square-foot guest quarters, with two bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, a dining room and a living room with a stone fireplace.
Stine is a former CEO and director of DemoTeller, a Euless, Texas-based financial technology company that developed software to help banks and credit unions instantly issue personalized credit or debit cards, including with electronic chips. The company, founded in 1984 by Charlie East, was acquired in July 2016 by HID Global of Austin, Texas, which makes identity security technology. The price was not disclosed. East and Stine together also owned East Stine Co., also of Euless.
Lundie is a writer for Arts & Crafts Homes and the Revival, a specialty magazine focused on old homes that is published by Active Interest Media. The couple bought a home in East Aurora in 2009, and later added another property in the town.
"It is a beautiful home and a historic home, so I'm excited that it's in their hands," said Stephanie Morgan, co-owner and founder of JRS Morgan Realty in East Aurora, who represented Stine and Lundie.