Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm in Cutchogue has been sold, but the new owners plan to maintain the operation and they’re hoping to keep Santa in the name, too.
The property went up for auction at Suffolk County Surrogate’s Court on July 9, along with another property that also was part of the estate of Lewis Edson. Only one bid was made for the Christmas Tree farm property, and that was by Stefan Soloviev, who bid the minimum of $1.8 million, according to Ernest Wruck, the attorney for Suffolk County public administrator Matthew Kiernan.
The auction had been ordered by Suffolk County Surrogate Judge Theresa Whelan on May 20 as a resolution to a dispute among three of Mr. Edson’s children.
Mr. Edson died on June 20, 2013. Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm has been in operation for more than 30 years.
The Christmas Tree Farm included two parcels, one being the 22-acre tree farm toward the back of the property and the other a 5.29-acre property fronting the north side of Route 25, which includes a 8,064-square-foot retail building and a single family residence.
Those lots were auctioned together, according Mr. Wruck.
A second property, also in Cutchogue, that went up for auction and was not a part of the Christmas Tree Farm had only one bidder and that bid was below the minimum bid of $375,000 and was not accepted, Mr. Wruck said.
Mr. Soloviev is the owner of Crossroads Agriculture, a Kansas-based company that has purchased a number of properties on the East End in the recent years, including the former Davis Peach Farm in Wading River and several properties in Southold Town. In 2018, Mr. Soloviev was ranked 33rd on the The Land Report’s list of the 100 largest landowners in America, and his father, Sheldon Solow, was ranked 337th this year on Forbes Magazine’s list of wealthiest people in America, with a net worth of $5.2 billion.
Stefan Soloviev and his father run Solow Building Co. in Manhattan.
Stefan Soloviev said his ex-wife, Stacey, will be handling public relations on the North Fork about the property.
“We’re keeping it as a Christmas tree farm,” Stacey Soloviev said in an interview. “I definitely want to make it a family destination. I’ve already put in an order for a Christmas train for the kids, and we’ll have photographers there with Santa making it a fun family place for the holidays.”
As for whether they plan to keep the name, Ms. Soloviev said they don’t currently have the rights to it, but that they are in discussions with the former owner about keeping it.
“I would like to keep the name,” she said.
In 2017, Mr. Soloviev purchased more than 300 acres of farmland on the North Fork and said he plans to continue farming on much of that land.
“The overall plan is to build some high-end homes and then operate the rest of the farmland, producing anything from landscape material to wineries to whatever,” he said in an interview in 2017. He said at the time that he plans to farm 80 percent of the land, and build homes on the other 20 percent.
Photo credit: Steve Wick