|by Augustus Mayhew
Palm Beach streets are peppered with black Phantom Dropheads, shadowy Arnages and onyx Vantages, as bridge foursomes are underway and seasonal social timetables are synchronized. The diamond cufflinks and chandelier earrings are on the dressing tables, sparkle-ready for hotel galas, courtyard soirees and club klatches. And yet, for all the flash of the resort’s fetes and tête-à-têtes, an array of mundane daytime events can often prove as entertaining as an evening spent in the meaningful preservation and advancement of dressmaking, however much these less elegant moments lack for black ties and dance music.
Lately, elected officials have struggled to set aesthetic standards for vacant Worth Avenue storefront windows and engaged in lively banter about beach erosion, distractions befitting the world's most fortunate and powerful, devised no doubt to keep them off the golf links and tennis courts. Among the town's brouhahas, the police were called to last month's Landmark's meeting when a resident became too boisterous, according to the minutes.
Meanwhile, as DeMille-scaled work continues at Patterson's new South Ocean digs, the author's Everglades Island house is now listed for $14.95 million, priced slightly below Everglades Island's high of $15+ million, paid several years ago for Alexander and Patricia Haig's house. The Patterson's multi-story waterfront house is repped by Betsey Hall at Fite Shavell & Associates, who sold Patterson the South Ocean Blvd. house in a private sale.
The Town Council voted tax breaks for Amado, even though Charles and Mary Munn may not recognize the house they built in 1919, and certified the Bath & Tennis Club's renovations for property tax abeyance. In 2007, the B & T established a private non-profit foundation to fund recent improvements with donations, according to court documents. Will the Everglades Club follow suit and establish their own private foundation to finance their discussed remodeling? And then, there is the ongoing Royal Poinciana Plaza redevelopment, that by now has all the play-by-play of an evening with Pirandello. “I’ve attended more than 200 meetings during the past 18 months,” said Adam Munder, during the Palm Beach Civic Association’s recent reception for architect Ann Beha and the developer, Sterling Palm Beach, as an image of melting clocks in Dali's iconic The Persistence of Memory swirled in my mind.
After the Civic Association forum, I dashed to Miami for the Book Fair, stopped in at the incomparable Bal Harbour Shops and took a pre-open tour of historic Hialeah Park. Once, among the world’s most beautiful showplaces; now, in a state of structural and aesthetic distress, as Hialeah Park's owner races to restore the venue's grandeur as it preps to open for the first time in nearly a decade with quarter horse racing on November 28. Hialeah’s magnificent clubhouse, grandstands and landscape were designed in 1930 for owner Joseph Widener in a French Renaissance-Moderne style drawn from the Hippodrome de Longchamp by architect Lester Geisler, one of Addison Mizner’s associates. But, whether the sport of kings can be revived remains uncertain.
|But, before we go off to the races, here are some of the latest real estate goings-on in Greater Palm Beach. Note, at the low end, the Madoffs' lakeside holiday house still awaits the right buyer; at the high end, the El Bravo spec house and the South Ocean Blvd. spec chateau could both be bought for somewhere around $100 million.
Kluge associate sells Manalapan oceanfront for $6.8 million
Stuart Subotnick, former president and CEO of MetroMedia and a longtime associate of John Kluge’s, with his wife, Anita Subotnick, sold their 1.5 acre Manalapan oceanfront estate for $6.8 million to 1260 Manalapan Properties LLC, a Delray Beach-based company owned by Tonio G. B. Arcaini. Mr. Arcaini heads up an international food additive company based in Wiesbaden and Monte Carlo. Mr. Arcaini’s house in Gulf Stream is on the market for $12.5 million. Previously in Palm Beach, Mr. and Mrs. Subotnick owned 702 North County Road, known as The Reef and designed by Maurice Fatio, selling it in 2007 for $32 million to Stephen Ross, founder and president of The Related Company.
Former US ambassador to UK buys in Lost Tree
Henry and Dorothy Kreuzman sold their 11050 Turtle Beach Road condominium in nearby Lost Tree Village to Philip and Linda Lader for $2.55 million. Chairman of the WPP Group, an international media concern, Mr. Lader served as President Clinton’s Ambassador to the Court of St. James (1997-2001). The Laders were the organizers of Renaissance Weekends, a think tank networking retreat. Mrs. Lader is the current president of the Renaissance Institute.
East Setauket, New York, residents, Henry and Marsha Laufer, who six months ago paid $12.8 million for 1740 South Ocean Boulevard, Manalapan, have bought the adjacent vacant ocean-to-waterway lot for $6 million from 1760 S Ocean LLC, a company managed by Stewart A. Satter. Mr. Satter paid $4.9 million for the lot in 2007. Mr. Laufer, a former university mathematician, is the chief scientist at Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund management company that “adheres to mathematical and statistical methods.”
Greenwich resident pays $1.4M for Bradley Place condo
Edward W. Plaut, of Greenwich, Conn., paid $1.47 million for a Lake Towers condo at 250 Bradley Place from James A. Pappas, who paid $1.65 million for the unit in 2005. Mr. Pappas has renovated and sold several Palm Beach properties.
DC Kalorama residents pay $3.3M for Seabreeze Avenue house
Stanley and Elaine Cohen sold 249 Seabreeze Avenue to Gerald and Edith Schaefer, D.C. residents, for $3.3 million, according to the deed filed November 19. Listed for $3.995 million, the Cohens paid $2.55 million for the two-story four bedroom 4,000-sq.-ft. newly-built house in 2001.
Wellington equestrian property sells
In two separate transactions, Ellen Van Dyke Holtgers sold 15050 Garden Point Lane, located in Wellington's Palm Beach Point area, for $7.32 million and as Holtgers Wellington Properties LLC sold a separate vacant parcel for $1.68 million, to Double H Farms LLC, a Delaware company based in Ridgefield, Conn. Double H Farms is owned by Hunter Harrison, CEO of the Canadian National Railway. In Connecticut, Double H Farms features 87 acres with historic state-of-the-art facilities, two barns and indoor and outdoor training facilities, among other amenities. Holtgers, and her husband, Ansgar Holtgers, have bought and sold numerous Wellington properties during the past several years, including 3560 Ambassador Drive, bought for $3.6M and sold for $4.4M to Mark Bellissimo.
Schiff and Ramos pay $3.69 million for North End house
Michael J. Ramos and his wife, Ashley R. Schiff, bought 232 Tradewind Drive in PB's North End for $3.692 million from Taja Realty Trust, a Massachusetts-based company, according to the deed filed November 23. Schiff and Ramos financed the transaction with a Bank of New York Mellon $1.1 million ARM mortgage at 5.5% for ten years. The four bedroom 5,600-sq.-ft. British West Indies-style house featured glass tile baths and spa, coffered ceilings, onyx master bath surfaces and a poolside master suite. In October, First Bank of Palm Beaches had filed a notice of foreclosure on the property according to court documents. In January 2005, the property sold for $3.75 million and reportedly been recently listed for $5.95 million.
221 Royal Palm Way available at foreclosure auction
|Palm Beach Civic Association hosts Royal Poinciana Plaza reception
The Palm Beach Civic Association's recent forum on the controversial Royal Poinciana Plaza redevelopment attracted more than 225 residents who were treated to a computer-animated tour and graphic presentation by the project's renowned architect, Ann Beha, and the developer, Sterling Palm Beach. "Are you ready to take this to the Supreme Court?" asked one gracious opposing Palm Beacher.
|Left, Sterling Group partner, Lee Munder, shares a word with William Matthews, whose great-grandfather, Henry Flagler, is regarded as Florida's greatest developer.||Mike Brown is the Civic Association's communications director. Formed in 1944, the PBCA's mission is dedicated "to protect and enhance the special quality of life in Palm Beach." Stephen L. Brown is the group's CEO and Chairman with Garrison duPont Lickle, Secretary-Treasurer.|
|Miami's Book Fair International
Admittedly not having been to Miami's celebrated Book Fair International in more than a decade, I was not prepared for the crowds. So, took a snap or two and fled to the Bal Harbour Shops. Leaving the Book Fair to C-Span, I missed Friday night's "Evening with Orhan Pamuk," where I read more than one thousand devotees attended.
|Bal Harbour shops celebrate 40th anniversary
Between New York and Dubai, PB aside, I wonder if there is another spot that rivals Bal Harbour shops sublime understated ambience. The Stanley Whitman family, Bal Harbour's creator and owner for the past forty years, have developed one of the world's most exclusive venues, with plantings as lush as anything I've seen at Fairchild Tropical Garden, well-fed sumo-scaled koi aswim in the ponds and unrivaled shopping and dining.
|Art Basel Miami Beach returns|
|Once again, international aesthetes will convene in Miami Beach during the first week of December for Art Basel, where more than 250 galleries will showcase the world's premier artworks and when the area's noted local collectors will also limelight their acquisitions, the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, the Rubell Family Collection and the Margulies Collection, among them. With its new show opened November 18, the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse exhibit includes: Miro & Noguchi: Masters of Surrealist Sculpture, George Segal's Depression Bread Line and Sculpture & Video: New Additions.|
|The gamble to save historic Hialeah Park begins November 28
|After the loss of its prime seasonal racing dates during the 1970s to nearby Gulf Stream Park propelled Hialeah Park's economic collapse, the Brunetti family finally closed the historic venue nearly a decade ago. And now, the park's fate rests on whether the state will expand the Seminoles gambling empire or permit Hialeah additional racing dates and turf racing, as well as the expansion of its gaming venue with a new hotel, slot machines and poker. As the fate of Pimlico also remains in limbo, some wonder whether horse racing remains a viable industry.
First opened in 1925, Hialeah Park was transformed into "the world's greatest race track," by its second owner, Joseph Widener, who bought the 200-acre park in 1930 and spent $2 million creating one of the racing world's renowned international showplaces and architectural landmarks. Designed by Palm Beach architect Lester W. Geisler, who Widener sent to Longchamp and Deauville for design inspiration, the track became the Palm Beach winter colony's favorite haunt during racing season. Turfman Col. E. R. Bradley was one of Widener's partners. The annual Flamingo Ball was chaired by many of the island's grand dames. Special trains took Palm Beachers directly to the track.
|A look at yesterday's Hialeah Park with Sir Winston Churchill behind the binoculars and bettors making their way to the ticket windows.|
|Ogden Phipps, Sr. (1908-2002) & Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps, Jr. (1940-), at Hialeah, 1974. Photo by Leo Frutkoff.||Mrs. Michael Phipps at Hialeah. Photo courtesy of Palm Beach Daily News.|
|Sunset at the Everglades Club, Palm Beach|
|Photographs by Augustus Mayhew
Historic postcards courtesy of the State Archives of Florida.