Above, an artist’s rendering of Valery and Olga Kogan’s would-be Greenwich manse, which the couple gained approval to build by the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission in March, after agreeing to scale it back to a mere 21,127 square feet (from 39,000) and a paltry 15 toilets (from 26), much to the ire of their neighbors’ WASPian sensibilities. Most of you should be up to speed but to recap, the place is slated to include:
* “a grand hall served by a bifurcated, lyre-shape, Titanic-style staircase and topped by a three-story-high glass dome” which, in inclement weather, would be covered by a mechanized retractable shield
* a Turkish bath
* a Finnish bath
* indoor and outdoor pools (the latter being equipped with underwater lights would be controlled by remotes set up in multiple locations, and change hue with the turn of an “infinite spectrum color wheel for party functions”)
* hydrotherapy spa (which most of you do not need to be told is a Greenwich way of saying “place where colon cleanses are performed”)
* a twelve-car garage
* “a carved-stone fountain the center of a “Renaissance-inspired” circular courtyard”
* “a separate stone patio fashioned in the shape and colors of a Les Paul guitar”
Despite people like T. H. Walworth III shaking his fists at the heavens and crying out, “It’s not a residence. It’s an industrial project. It’s a country club. It’s enormous,” we argued last week that this place had to get done. When a (maybe) corrupt Russian billionaire can’t erect the house that vodka built, all is truly lost. And when he can, it gives aspirational hope to children and down on their luck hedge fund managers everywhere that there is still a point left to this thing. Well guess what, pets? This place isn’t happening.
Kogan’s wife has sent a letter to the P&Z commission to say that she and her husband will not be moving forward with their plans, and will instead simply live in, rather than raze and build out, the existing house. “I still do not understand why this project has brought such criticism as it is clearly permitted to be constructed,” Kogan wrote. She went on to further express her surprise that people had probs with what has been described as “Xanadu cubed,” leaving us to wonder: WTF?
We’re not buying the line that this place will not see the light of day because the Russkies were suddenly made to feel bashful about it. When you even joke about building a home with the features mentioned earlier, self-awareness or care for what other people think don’t register high on your list of attributes. Some are blaming it on “the recession,” and neighbor Charles Lee– one of the Kogans most vocal critics– seems to be quite pleased summing the situation up as “perfectly symbolic of the difference between 2008 and 2009.” And, as previously mentioned, the Koges may indeed have run into some money trubs. But shady Russian oligarchs can always come up with the scratch, by whatever means necessary. Which makes us think that this sudden change of heart, after the application had already been approved (which town planner Diane Fox said, to her knowledge, has never happened) has to do with the intervention of a force even greater than the Russians. And that we have no problem with (and in fact had the foresight to predict).