Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, paid $23-million for a 28,120-acre property in the Adirondacks, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Alibaba spokesman Jim Wilkinson told the newspaper that Mr. Ma bought the land, which includes more than nine miles of the St. Regis River, trout streams and a private-label maple-syrup operation, mainly for conservation purposes, but could use it as a personal retreat as well.
The property is in Santa Clara, N.Y., northwest of Paul Smith’s and east of Potsdam. Marketing materials said it is “in the Northwest Adirondacks and on the southern edge of the St. Lawrence River valley.”
“Protecting the environment in China will always be Jack’s first and foremost priority,” Mr. Wilkinson told the Journal.
“This international land purchase reflects Jack’s belief that we all inhabit the same planet and we all breathe the same air, so we are dependent on each other for our collective future.”
He said Mr. Ma has visited the property, known as Brandon Park, twice.
Marketing materials from LandVest, the real estate company that had the listing, say “the property epitomizes one of the classic Adirondack preserves established in the early 1900s by successful industrialists, and incorporates everything necessary for a top-notch wilderness experience, including crystal clear waters and one of the finest brook trout fisheries in the eastern United States.”
LandVest said the $23-million sale “will go on record as the highest sale price in the Adirondacks.”
The marketing materials said Brandon Park was once part of the Rockefeller Bay Pond Estate owned by Standard Oil co-founder William A. Rockefeller. In 1939, it was purchased by the family of Wilhelmina du Pont Ross.
Yet another blow to the common man, says Adk. Park Local Govt. Review Board
Town of Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe, in one of his frequent Adirondack news updates, disseminated word of Mr. Ma’s land purchase by issuing an e-mail linking to the Wall Street Journal story.
Mr. Monroe added this note from the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, in which he is active:
“The 28,100 acre[s] purchased by billionaire Jack Ma contains the former hamlet of Brandon, which at one time was a busy community of 1,200 residents, with a hotel, post office and railroad station.
“Mega-millionaire William Rockefeller, brother of Standard Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, purchased the land surrounding the community, destroyed the residences, and drove the residents out, turning the hamlet into a ghost town. He arranged to terminate mail and passenger rail service.
“His lengthy feud with impoverished, Civil War veteran, holdout Oliver Lamora was major news throughout the nation in the early 20th century, pitting one of the most powerful men in the nation against a powerless resident.
“The tortured history of the feud was documented in the book Oliver’s War….
“According to reports, Jack Ma plans to terminate logging on the 28,100 property further reducing opportunities for regional loggers, already impacted by major state ‘forever wild’ forest land purchases.
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