American Cancer Society relists former NFL owner’s home for $35M

Dan Snyder and 11900 River Rd Potomac 2

After years of trying to sell the mansion alongside the Potomac River, former Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder donated the estate to the ACS. Now the charity is attempting its own sale.

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A few months after receiving the largest single donation in its more than century as an organization, the American Cancer Society (ACS) is making its own attempt at monetizing the asset.

Back in March, former Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder and his wife, Tanya Snyder, decided to donate their Potomac, Maryland, mansion to the nonprofit after years of shopping the estate off-market and then listing it without success for $49 million in February 2023, with a price cut some months later to $34.9 million, The Wall Street Journal reported.

When the couple took it off the market in March 2024, it wasn’t to make a price or other adjustment — it was to donate the estate to ACS and its charitable efforts. Now, Chief Finance and Strategy Officer of ACS Kael Reicin told The WSJ that the ACS has listed the property for the same price that the Snyders last listed it for: $34.9 million. It is being repped by Cara Pearlman and Han C. Peruzzi of Compass.

The gesture on the Snyders’ part is an unusual one, according to tax and philanthropy experts. Typically, real estate or other large asset donations, like valuable art, are bequeathed to an organization in the event of the donor’s death. A direct title transfer donation like this one while the donor is still alive occurs much less frequently.

That said, such donations are not unheard of either — philanthropist MacKenzie Scott (Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife) donated in 2022 two mansions in Beverly Hills, California, that were worth a total of $55 million to the California Community Foundation.

The former Texas Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels in 2017, with his then-wife Heidi Hamels, also donated a sizable property in Missouri to a nonprofit camp for special needs children. Prior to the donation, the couple had put the home on the market for $9.75 million.

While still unusual, the practice of donating a home, rather than the proceeds of a home sale, has significant tax benefits. A homeowner who has held the title to the property for more than one year can deduct the fair market value of the property from their taxable income after the property transfer, David H. Kirk, a national tax parter at Ernst & Young, told The WSJ.

Donors can receive a tax deduction of up to 30 percent of their adjusted gross income after the charitable donation of a home, but any unused deduction that makes up the fair market value of the property can be carried forward for another five years. Individuals who donate a property within one year of owning can also receive a tax deduction, but it will be equal the lesser of the property’s fair market value or the original purchase price.

Fair market value is determined by an appraiser, which must be conducted no more than 60 days before the donation, according to IRS regulations. The appraisal can also be challenged later on if the charity ends up selling the property for a much lower amount.

These types of donations can also be helpful during a year in which an individual is expecting a large tax bill, according to Kirk. The direct donation of a house does not trigger a capital-gains tax like the sale of a home would, although the homeowner will indirectly benefit from any gains in value through their subsequent tax deduction.

The massive, 30,000-square-foot limestone estate is located on about 13.5 acres along the Potomac River and mimics the aesthetic of a 18th-century French château. The property features two solariums, a double-height drawing room, intricate moldings, a wine cellar, library and a restaurant-grade kitchen. Snyder bought the lot from the estate of King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan and then built the home, which was completed in 2004.

Snyder founded Snyder Communications in 1988 and sold the marketing company for $2 billion in 2000. He owned the Washington Commanders, formerly known as the Redskins, from 1999 to 2023 when he and the team were investigated by the NFL for sexual misconduct claims.

The Potomac estate is larger and features more high-end finishes than many others in the area, local agents told The WSJ, which is one reason the Snyders had originally asked near $50 million for the property. However, that far outstrips the current record price in the area of $20 million, which was set in 2011 when Ted and Lynn Leonsis purchased Marwood, the 1926 château-style estate previously occupied by President John F. Kennedy’s family.

“There’s no denying that the capital invested in the house could have reached the level of $49 million, but that doesn’t make that a saleable price for the market today,” Daniel Heider of TTR Sotheby’s International told The WSJ.

Pearlman, one of the agents now representing the property, said she hopes that more buyers will be attracted to the property now that they know the proceeds will go to a good cause.

“You can’t say that about many acquisitions,” Pearlman told The WSJ. “For someone that’s been curious about the property, maybe they’ll feel that now they’ll have a bigger impact.”

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