Education Industry For-Profit

Chris Whittle Loses His Home in the Hamptons, Once Listed for $140 Million

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Being an eduEntreneur does not always pay off. Chris Whittle founded the Edison Project, which was supposed to be for profit, but after much turmoil, its stock price plummeted, and he moved on. (Read Samuel Abrams’ fascinating history of the Edison Project in Education and the Commercial Mindset).

Most recently, Whittle founded Avenues, which was planned to be a global chain of boutique for-profit, private schools. Tuition at the state-of-the-art Avenues in NYC is $59,800. It’s opening was announced Ina full-page ad in the New York Times.

A few years ago, Whittle and Avenues parted company. In 2014, Whittle listed his 11-acre home in the jet-set Hamptons for $140 million, but it didn’t sell.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Whittle’s property in the Hamptons was purchased by the Avenues Global Holdings for $700,000 and will be sold to pay off the $6 million debt that Whtitle owes the school.

In an auction that took place Tuesday morning, Avenues was awarded right and title to the property, subject to other liens, for a credit bid of just $700,000, the spokeswoman said. The auction was a forced sale to satisfy more than $6 million in debts owed to Avenues by Mr. Whittle. Avenues expects to officially take title to the property next week and will make plans for the property soon after, the spokeswoman said.

“We hope that this facilitates the recovery of the more than $6 million that remains owed and unpaid to Avenues,” the spokeswoman said.

The property had been on the market most recently for $95 million, down from the $140 million Mr. Whittle first listed it for in 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Reached by phone, Mr. Whittle said he has “had better days.” He said he had taken out a very large mortgage on the property in order to fund his latest venture, Whittle School & Studios, another for-profit school network, but the Covid-19 crisis derailed his plans.

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