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The Wall Street Journal: Shell Oil Co.’s president, John Hofmeister, is asking $4 million for his farm in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County

John Hofmeisters's Victorian Home: Wall Street Journal Photograph

PRIVATE PROPERTIES 
By CHRISTINA S.N. LEWIS
July 13, 2007; Page W8
 

Shell Oil Co.’s president, John Hofmeister, is asking $4 million for his farm in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County.

Mr. Hofmeister, 59, and his wife, Karen Otazo, an author of books on management, bought the land in three parts between 1996 and 1999, paying a total of $1.47 million. It’s in Willow Street, Pa., about 70 miles west of Philadelphia. They rewired the main structures, added air conditioning and heating and restored all the exterior stonework. The 118-acre property includes a roughly 4,100-square-foot, 19th-century brick Victorian home, an early 19th-century stone farmhouse and a mid-19th century grist mill. The property, surrounded by Amish and Mennonite farmland, is next to a covered bridge.

The sale price includes additional outbuildings; farm equipment; small herds of Hereford cattle and Cheviot sheep; alfalfa, soybean and corn corps, among others; and a farm stand to sell them. Carol Plesser of Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty has the listing.

Mr. Hofmeister says the couple are selling because they’ve moved to Shell’s headquarters in Houston and plan to retire there. The owner, who’s headed Royal Dutch Shell’s American unit for two years, expects a finance executive to buy the farm to keep it as a “turn-key operation” run by employees. He adds, “We were in a sense part-time farmers.”

Write to Christina S.N. Lewis at [email protected]

 

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