It'll be interesting to see what the combo of Mariani and Baldwin Farms yields

 55 Baldwin Farms S.

55 Baldwin Farms S.

55 Baldwin Farms South is new to the market today, priced at $5.350 million. The owners paid its builder Mark Mariani $5.950 for it when it was new in 2004 and sent considerable money afterwards improving it, so the asking price already represents a substantial loss. My guess is that the worst is yet to come.

Mariani was never one of my favorite builders, but give the landscaper-turned-buider this: he understood the early 80s' drive for big, flashy, pseudo-classic homes, and met it with enthusiasm. At the peak of the market, he boasted of owning a Gulfstream jet and his own mansion on Rogues Hill, all because he built the same, identical house, in record speed, using dubious building techniques, throughout the then-popular back country.

I haven't heard much about him lately, and certainly nothing from him: one morning back in 2004, after I criticized the man, he left word with my employer that if I showed up at his open house that day he'd throw me out. I dutifully appeared, of course, but he'd chosen to absent himself. Too bad, because it would have made for great column fodder. He may have returned to landscaping, or simply retired — Lord knows he could afford to — but those indistinguishable and undistinguished houses remain, depreciating.

 Mariani was not known to spend time, money, or space on gratuitous extras like stairwells

Mariani was not known to spend time, money, or space on gratuitous extras like stairwells