Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Palm Beach Real Estate Roulette

William Eubanks interior design showroom, Peruvian Avenue. Interior designer William Eubanks, and his partner, John Ferguson, sold their One Royal Palm Way condo for $1.45 million to Charles and Elsie Warwick, having bought it several years ago for $1.075 million. Following the closing, Mr. Eubanks and Mr. Ferguson paid $975,000 for 2420 Medina Way, located in West Palm Beach’s historic El Cid area.
Palm Beach deeds & Miami Beach postcards
by Augustus Mayhew

During these upside-down times, a neighbor’s misfortune can oddly bring a sense of welcome relief. As was the case this week, when Century Bank filed a notice of foreclosure against Equest Partners’ three-acre opulent complex at 3410 Olde Hampton Drive in Swellington’s Grand Prix Farms. Purchased in 2005 for $1.5 million, court records indicate the property is swamped with mortgages and liens totaling more than $10 million. Westwind Realty is offering the improved property for $11 million. However weary of yet another “chandeliers-in-the-barn” story, horse show enthusiasts are no doubt hopeful this is the final chapter for Equest’s principal, Joseph Zada, the Grosse Pointe Shores financial advisor who allegedly has made off with tens-of-millions in, thus far, unrepayable “loans” from some of the saddle-and-stable set’s toniest. Equest Partners was formed by Mr. Zada and Sergei Federov. Last month in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, Mr. Federov, a Russian hockey star, filed a $45 million suit against his former partner, claiming, yes, I know, by now a tiresome mantra, fraud, swindle and embezzlement. Mr. Federov will have to wait in line, as judgments are stacking up against Mr. Zada. American Express must have been the last to know, having recently filed a $590,000 lien.

Now more than a year since George and Frayda Lindemann paid $23.5 million for their ongoing oceanfront North Ocean Way project, and Palm Beach’s real estate market has yet to return to the same level of market confidence. Yes, the Ziffs paid $20+ million for an off-island back-pocket beyond-market priced parcel, but you would agree that the Ziffs are their own market. Nonetheless, in my view, the market has only made some lateral moves with considerable downward fluctuations. According to court records, some PBers are spending more time with mega-mortgage brokers and Zurich tellers than their island Realtors. Others, unable to obtain another mortgage modification, are probably already wired in to their Belize, Bahamas or BVI accounts to cover the lease bill for the Bentley.

Bridge scion pays $3.5 million for North End house

William Roebling and his wife, Maeryn Roebling, of Pennington, New Jersey, paid $3.55 million for a five bedroom two-story spec house at 271 La Puerta, In July, Century Bank filed a notice of foreclosure against Edward and Susan Henkin, as managers of 271 La Puerta LLC. In 2006, Century Bank extended $2.55 million on the property when the property was purchased for $2.8 million the same year. First Bank of the Palm Beaches was tapped for an additional $1 million mortgage. Mr. Roebling is the great-great grand of John A. Roebling who built the Brooklyn Bridge, among other engineering feats; his father, Ferdinand W. Roebling, and stepmother, Kate Maddock Roebling, were Palm Beach residents.
Coniglios make sweet deal on El Dorado

Nicholas Coniglio and Carissa Fanjul-Coniglio paid $1.5 million for a two-story, four bedroom, approx. 3,700-sq.-ft. house on the corner of El Dorado and North County Road, according to the deed filed October 16. Joseph Burakoff, along with Richard and Doreen Danton, sold the Bermuda-style house to the Coniglios who financed the deal with a $1.5 million mortgage from Andres B. Fanjul, an executive with the family-owned Florida Crystals sugar company. Mr. Coniglio is an island restaurateur and tavern owner whose mother, Gail Coniglio, serves on the Palm Beach Town Council.

Piagets change course

Helga Piaget, the wife of Yves Piaget, president of Piaget, the Swiss watchmaker and jewelry company, has bought another house on another golf course. This time, paying $4.95 million for 111 West Bear's Club Drive, Jupiter, located next door to the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and Spa where the Piagets paid $2.25 million in 2004. The Piagets’ Ritz-Carlton golf course property at 447 Red Hawk Drive is currently on the market for $2 million. Piaget sponsors the annual Piaget Cup at the International Polo Club Palm Beach at Wellington. Following the financial fiasco of jailed Texan Allen Stanford, the polo club’s Stanford Field was renamed Piaget Field. Piaget’s headquarters are in Geneva.

Straub snaps up Heart of Palm Beach, or so it appears

According to published reports, the day before a scheduled foreclosure auction was scheduled Wellington investor and developer Glenn F. Straub, as 160 Royal Palm LLC, acquired 160 Royal LLC, the town’s most distressed heap, the Heart of Palm Beach hotel site aka Palm House, for reportedly $10 million + a $22 million note. Undeterred by the economy’s flipflops, or whether the deal makes any sense, a Palm Beach Daily News report states former owner and well-known New Haven-Nantucket developer Robert V. Matthews claims to still be running the show and Mr. Straub is only holding the paper on the property. An October 16th court hearing has apparently cleared the way for Mr. Matthews to write off the $22 million in liens and restart work on his “boutique hotel.” Yes, this is the very same Mr. Straub of Palm Beach Polo & Country Club who bought the Miami Arena in 2004 for $28 million, razed it and still owns the dirt. Stay tuned.

North End spec nabs $3.6 million

Palm Beach Ventures IV, a Ft. Lauderdale-based LLC headed by Ramon Rodriguez, sold 250 Ridgeview for $3.6 million to Ridgeview Trust, various individuals with a Toronto address, according to the warranty deed filed October 13. PB Ventures IV bought the lot in 2006 for $2.1 million and has been involved in several spec projects in Palm Beach.

Jordanian royal asks $17.5 million for North Lake Way
Purchased in July 2008 for $11 million, Aqua Development North Lake LLC, a company formed by Princess Alia Al-Hussein of Jordan, the eldest daughter of the late King Hussein, whose brother, King Abdullah, is the current ruler of Jordan, and her husband, Mohammad Anwar Fand Al-Saleh, listed the seven bedroom 10,000-sq.-ft. lakefront house for $17.5 million with the Corcoran Palm Beach office. The Jordanian royals also own the house next door, at 1330 North Lake Way. In April 2008, Mr. Al-Saleh filed a lawsuit alleging he was swindled and defrauded by his former partner, Harry Sargeant III, a Gulf Stream resident and the finance chairman for the Florida Republican Party. Mr. Al-Saleh alleges Mr. Sargeant failed to pay him a commission of one-third of the profits for arranging the safe transport of more than $1 billion in oil shipments to US troops in Iran. The case has been the subject of an ongoing Congressional investigation.
Citrix Systems founder takes $11 million in two separate Delray Beach transactions

Despite a contested closing, Citrix Systems founder, Edward Iacobucci, and his wife, Nancy Iacobucci, sold 901 and 921 South Ocean Boulevard, Delray Beach, adjacent properties each closing for $5.5 million to two separate buyers. Their Realtor, Mizner Grande Realty, has filed suit for commissions on both transactions, according to court documents. The buyer of 921 South Ocean is Eric Cherry, CEO of ICN Ltd., a company that provides 800/ 900 telephone lines, produces the National Raceline, as well as horse racing and sports results, among other endeavors. According to ICN’s web site, it offers “ISDN signaling, database-dependent response, intelligent routing, load balancing, logic-driven redirect capabilities and flexible billing formats.” Mr. Cherry also owns 1110 South Ocean Boulevard in Delray Beach.

Attorney sells Midtown house with guest house for $1.8 million

Palm Beach attorney Stuart J. Haft and his wife Allison Rogers Haft, sold 317 Chilean for $1.8 million to dermatologist John Strasswimmer and his wife, Karin Strasswimmer. Mrs. Haft bought the property in 1998 for $450,000.

Cocoanut Row chiropractor lands on Via Vizcaya
Robert and Charlotte Moselle sold a one-story Bermuda-style house for $1.5 million at 118 Via Vizcaya to Alexi Fakhari. Principal of Chiropractic Care of Palm Beach located in Royal Poinciana Plaza, Dr. Fakhari, DC, financed the transaction with a $1.5 million personal balloon mortgage from Palm Beach resident Daniel Borislow, according to court records.
Midtown commercial building pops for $1.7 million

CBRS Realty Inc. sold 361 South County Road, an 8,000-sq.-ft mixed-use building located across the street from Town Hall to 361 South County Rd. LLC, a Cleveland, Ohio-based company, for $1.7 million, according to the recorded deed. The building contains 5,000-sq.-ft of retail space with the remainder in apartment living areas, according to the property appraiser’s record. In 1998, the building sold for $1.25 million.

Casa Bendita estate sale for $3.1 million

Joan K. Eigen, as trustee for the Lucille Kimmel Trust, sold 126 Casa Bendita, a 3,700-sq.ft. house built in 1967, to Connecticut steel executive Charles E. Pompea and his wife, Tamera Pompea, for $3.1 million. In April, the Pompeas purchased a $2.965 million property at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Jupiter, having previously lived at the Ironhorse Country Club in West Palm Beach.

Accused Ponzi schemer’s oceanfront penthouse closes at $3.3 million
The Dunster House overlooks the Palm Beach public beach at 360 South Ocean Boulevard.
As indicted hedge-fund manager James Nicholson, the former president of Westgate Capital Management, awaits trial in a cell at a Manhattan correctional facility, he, and his wife, Donna Nicholson, sold their oceanfront Dunster House penthouse apartment in Palm Beach for $3.32 million, with the proceeds deposited in the US Attorney’s Frozen Asset Funds account, according to court documents. The Nicholson penthouse was initially put on the market at $5.6 million before it was sold with an asking of $3.575 million to trusts established by Belle and Victor Winston, who own the adjacent penthouse and the RLW Needs Trust and the Edward B. Winston Special Trust. Heather Woolems, sales associate with Sotheby’s Palm Beach, listed and sold the property.

Mr. and Mrs. Nicholson purchased penthouse-A, a 2,500-sq.-ft. three-bedroom unit atop the Dunster House, in March 2007 for $4.75 million, financed by a $2.75 million mortgage from Fairmont Funding Ltd. The following year, the Nicholsons paid $27 million for an oceanfront Southampton house. It too was seized by the feds, marketed for $33 million, and sold for $25.9 million.

Mr. Nicholson was arrested on various criminal securities fraud charges in February when authorities claimed that his companies engaged in Ponzi schemes. The SEC has filed civil fraud charges that will proceed following the resolution of the criminal charges. Several civil actions filed by private investors are also pending in New Jersey and New York.

Primavera estate sale closes at $3.59 million

The personal representatives for the estate of the late Matthew Kornreich sold 420 Primavera Way to Virginia Pellucci for $3.59 million, according to the deed filed October 19.

The property was listed at $4.1 million by Corcoran Palm Beach agents, Abe Gosman, Dana Koch and Paulette Koch.

The approx. 5,000-sq.-ft. Regency-styled house featured four bedrooms and a 43-foot living room.

Miami Beach postcards
Kenneth Cole's Collins Avenue store at 190-8th Street says it all.
The Cafe at Epicure Market on Alton at Lincoln Road has convenient parking in the back of the store.
For me, the Epicure Market is always a must-stop in South Beach.
The Standard Hotel pool.
The Standard Hotel, once the Lido Spa Hotel, maintains its Mid-century facade.
Haydee and Sahara Scull's dimensional murals at the Puerto Sagua restaurant, 700 Collins Avenue, capture the spirit of Old Cuba. Haydee and Sahara Scull, with Haydee's son Michael, among South Beach's most colorful personalities.
The Sculls' playful imaginative murals add to the authenticity of Puerto Sagua's cuisine.
Capturing the color of Habana Vieja.
Streetlife in Old Havana with the vivacious Scull sisters stopping traffic in their signature matching outfits.
Anything goes on Havana's Malecon.
Construction continues on architect Frank Gehry's first Florida commission, the New World Symphony's academy and performance hall on 17th Street across from the Convention Center.
Photographs by Augustus Mayhew

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