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McLean Businessman Pays $8.2 million for Hickory Hill, Then Starts Total Renovation

Former home of Robert and Ethel Kennedy

Alan J. Dabbiere, a McLean resident who is prominent in three businesses, paid $8.2 million for Hickory Hill, one of America's best known addresses, and has now gutted it.

Joseph P. and Rose Kennedy first owned it. Then Jack and Jackie Kennedy moved in. They didn't stay very long. Then Bobby and Ethel Kennedy moved in, raised their 11 children. The address became legendary for its parties, its owners and its family.

The Washington Post reported that the house was up for sale seven years with an initial asking price of $25 million.

The new owner, Alan Dabbiere, is the chairman of AirWatch, an Atlanta company specializing in managing mobile devices. He is also the president of AJD, LLC, a privately held investment company, and serves on the board of PrimeRevenue, an Atlanta-based supply chain finance company, according to the AirWatch website.

". . . we consider that we own this property to be confidential and went to great lengths to put the ownership in a trust and protect our privacy," Dabbiere said in an e-mail to Patch. He said later in a brief phone conversation, "I have gone to great lengths not to have my name associated" with Hickory Hill.

He is quite right. The deed says Ethel Kennedy sold the property to John D. Marshall, Trustee of The Hickory Hill Trust. Marshall is the CEO of AirWatch.

Hickory Hill,  a 7,850-square-foot Georgian manor built in 1870, with a 1931 addition, sits on a 5.6-acre property. It used to contain 13 bedrooms and 10 baths, 9 fireplaces, a tennis court and pool, according to the county tax records.

Everything in the house is now gone. The interior has been gutted to the exterior walls. The living room floor appears to be scaffolding. Ladders are used to get to the second floor.

Fairfax County issued a permit  June 1  to demolish non-load bearing walls only, according to a county spokesman.

 An application for a second permit was submitted July 20 to underpin foundation of existing three story home with basement and put new slabs. . rebuild 2nd floor balcony with metal railing; raise roof of portion of existing 3rd floor doomers to create bigger guest room. . . interior alteration to existing basement to include bedroom, kitchenette, new elevator in existing shaft.

That application also called for building a three story addition with basement to include kitchen sink & 5 car garage in basement level and wetbar on 3rd floor. Build detached 2 story 3 car garage with balcony on 2nd level. The application is still pending, according to a county spokesman.

Dabbiere and his family already live just about a block from Hickory Lane. They paid $3.8 million for a five-bedroom, fiv- fireplace home on a narrow lane just off of Chain Bridge Road in 2005, according to county tax records.

Dabbiere serves on the board of trustees of the Potomac School, a private school in McLean. "Alan and his wife Ashley reside in McLean with their four children, with their oldest a second grader at Potomac," according to the Potomac website.

 The Washington Post reported that Hickory Hill has been designated a National Historic Landmark meaning that developers couldn't subdivide the land and throw up McMansions.

ORIGINAL STORY: Hickory Hill, one of the best known homes in the U.S., is undergoing massive renovations.

Hickory Hill is the former home of Ethel and Bobby Kennedy and their family, was sold for $8.2 million in 2009.

The new owners: Alan Dabbiere. Alan J. Dabbiere, is the chairman of AirWatch, a global provider of enterprise grade mobile device management solutions.

More Details to folo

Bill Keith September 30, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Taking photo credit for Mr. Dabbiere's Potomac picutre is unprofessional........sloppy journalism if you ask me, and I would think illegal.
Bobbi Bowman September 30, 2011 at 04:54 PM
Dear Bill, Thank you very much for letting us know. We now have the correct credit. We apologize to you and our readers.
Terry September 30, 2011 at 05:07 PM
That's not all Bill - she trespassed onto private property without an invitation or permission from the owners and then published photos of their private property without their permission.
Bill Keith September 30, 2011 at 06:39 PM
All McLean residents should be on the lookout for Ms. Bowman snooping around their private property.......I see she has written about other neighbors as well. I thought it was illegal to enter someone's home without permission?
Bill Keith September 30, 2011 at 06:42 PM
I commend the new owners of Hickory Hill........bravo for purchasing an historic home and repairing it so it will last another generation! No disrespect to the Kennedy family, but the place needed some updating......and now it will continue to be a part of American history. For this we should all be pleased.
Bobbi Bowman September 30, 2011 at 06:59 PM
We identified ourselves to everyone we met Thursday. Everyone saw us taking pictures. No one asked us to stop and no one asked us to leave. Everyone was quite cordial.
Terry September 30, 2011 at 07:31 PM
Bill that would have been the better story - the new owners love HH and are intent on honoring its history. Kudos to them for making the investment in what was a landmark home in a significant state of disrepair. Instead their privacy was violated and the tone of the article negative. And for what??
MEredith April 19, 2012 at 05:37 PM
I think the fact that Mr. Dabbiere is destroying American History should be the real issue here. I thank Bobbi for sharing this information. I think the readers should appreciate this article instead of criticising her. It is sad to see such beautiful homes destroyed, taking the history with it. There are so few home any more in this area that remain historical landmarks. If the new owners wanted to help the HH, considering its state, I dont think gutting it will assist in the restoration of the historical significance. Where's the history if the frame is all that remains of the originial home??? It's all about the money in this area! I think Mr. Dabbiere should have spent his money on something else instead of gutting American History, charities maybe??
Lauren Sausser (Editor) October 09, 2012 at 04:16 PM
A comment has been deleted because it violated our terms of use.
Robert Bailey February 14, 2013 at 02:18 AM
Take a fucking pill and get over yourself..
Robert Bailey February 14, 2013 at 02:18 AM
I think it's a crying shame that this home has been gutted. Shame on the owners.
Robert Bailey February 14, 2013 at 02:21 AM
YES! The voice of reason! I'm so sick of historic homes being gutted and/or demolished. Look at what's happened in Hollywood with the celebrity homes that have been destroyed. Granted, swome of them WERE a bit over-the-top and crass, but it's about the HISTORY around them. So sad. I just hope this guy never get's his greedy paws on Hyannisport!
Angela Lee March 04, 2013 at 10:19 PM
This is just a horrifying knowing that the Kennedys spend their fun afternoons in the backyard playing and having dinner in the dining room which doesn't even stand anymore shame on the owner's they should have left it be!!
pam richter April 05, 2013 at 02:02 AM
what happened to Hickory Hill is devastating. why would you buy hickory hill to destroy it? with all his money he could build whatever he wanted anywhere in the world. the Kennedy home was historical. I wish Ethel had been able to keep it in her family. what is happening must be devastating to her children. it should have been made a historical house that the public could have visited. I just hate the thought that Hickory Hill has been destroyed. its gone. it's like a death.
PJD April 09, 2013 at 02:44 PM
For years I have driven by this estate; watched the Kennedy family carry the casket of David Kennedy up the driveway; watched as a Kenendy/Cuomo wedding reception in back yard approximately 1997; NOW, they are even building a wall in the front yard so one cannot even see the front door! Have your privacy but dont destroy History. What a shame.
jules April 26, 2013 at 10:54 PM
I am curious why there were no repurcussions to the apparent (and substantial) construction that was not yet approved. The article is from 2011, and I never heard anything happen. I guess the new owners have some helpful friends in Fairfax County.
Suzanne Wessel June 26, 2013 at 06:03 PM
I did 2 appraisals on this property - trust me it needed to be gutted.

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