$49.5M Hamptons Estate Does Double Duty as Marriage Magnet

Months ago, posh Hamptons habitues wondered who could have rented the gargantuan Sandscastle estate, listed to sell at $49.5 million, for a record $500,000 -- and for just two precious summer weeks.

Last week, the New York Post revealed the answer: divorced, self-made millionaire and Tampa, Fla.-resident Cheryl Mercuris. And she wasn't just wanting to live the East End life for two weeks, she's hoping for something in particular: Love.

Wonder if skeptical New Yorkers can believe it?
Her record-breaking rental means that she is paying $1,488 per hour for the 14-bedroom, 19-bathroom home, 31,000-square-foot home that she will share with her son, nephew and parents. They will have plenty to keep them occupied while Mercuris pops out around town, as the estate has a bowling alley, squash court, rock-climbing wall and professional spa

Mercuris started her company, Quality Resources, in 1992 and decided to come to the summer haunt of the rich and famous to find a better mix of single men and experiences. "There are so many career-oriented people here, unlike the west coast of Florida, which is very quiet and laid-back --- not great for someone who is single and raising a child," she said.

She said that she could imagine moving to New York City, and a major reason is the cultural experiences for her son.

And although she is looking for love, she claims she's not not desperate: "I'm not on a mission. If it's meant to be, it will happen."

Cynicism runs rampant around New York, so probably no one dared imagine that the most basic thing in the world was the motivation behind this historic rental: love.

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