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It could just be a coincidence, but we doubt it.

Just days after Taylor Swift toured a mammoth oceanfront estate in Watch Hill, R.I., the mansion, which is known to locals as Harkness House, has been sold for $17.75 million.

And the new owner, identified only as Harbor Land Revocable Trust, paid cash for the property, according to a deed filed at Town Hall in Westerly. The 11,000-square-foot “cottage” was sold by Marlene and James Benson, the former CEO of John Hancock Life Insurance, who once described living in the house as “like being on a large ocean liner, only it doesn’t go anywhere.”


If the superstar country singer is, in fact, the new owner, nobody is saying so.

“We work with a lot of high-profile individuals,” said Jane Macy Pfeffer of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty, which was involved in the transaction. “At Sotheby’s, our policy is to never talk about our clients. We work hard to protect their privacy.”

The four-story house at 16 Bluff Ave. has an interesting pedigree. Built in 1930, it was once the summer home of Standard Oil heiress and Harkness Ballet founder Rebekah Harkness, according to the Providence Journal. Neighbors and passersby can still recall ballerinas leaping about on the lush lawn.

The $17.75 million price tag is believed to be the most ever paid for a property in scenic Westerly.

Lori Joyal, a broker with Lila Delman Real Estate, is hoping the sale will attract attention to other properties in the area, including one she has listed for $10 million just two doors away.

“It’s looking a good value now,” she said.

The 23-year-old Swift bought a house last summer in Hyannis Port across the street from Ethel Kennedy’s place. But she unloaded the property after she and Conor Kennedy, whom she briefly dated, broke up.