|by Augustus Mayhew
Some recent real estate high notes spare me from a retro column of the past year's highlights, one year after the Bernard Madoff tsunami. Here are the year's brightest, the latest and the highest sales before taking a look at some of Worth Avenue's art galleries, who hosted the season's first Gallery Walk. Then, a morning visit during the holidays to St. Edward Church, designed by New York architect Mortimer D. Metcalfe (1880-1957), who was affiliated with several prestigious firms, Warren and Wetmore, among them, served as New York State Deputy Architect and assisted in the design of Grand Central Terminal.
Villa Leoncini sold for $6.8 million
|Midtown sells for $2.5M
Seminole BD LLC, a West Palm Beach-based company, sold 201 Seminole Avenue for $2.5 million to David T. Collier, of Myrtle Beach, S. C., according to the court record. Built in 2007, the approx. 5,000-sq.-ft. two-story house was listed for $2.65 million by Jeremy A. Fasel, affiliated with Realty Associates Florida Property; the buyer was represented by Bobby Goodnough, associate with Linda A. Gary Real Estate.
Mizner's La Bellucia sold for $24 million, record high for 2009
The year's highest recorded sale is the landmarked oceanfront Addison Mizner-designed house, La Bellucia, in a recent $24 million sale from sportsman Malcolm Glazer to LA billionaire Jeff Greene. Yes, a bit of a skid from Maison d'Amitie's $95 million but in a year with uncommon house trades, friendly foreclosures, price meltdowns and lukewarm sales, the brokers on this sale deserve their commission checks. The property was strategically listed for $27.5 million by Paulette Koch and her partner/son, Dana Koch, associates with The Corcoran Group Palm Beach.
|Amazingly, La Bellucia sold within 30 days. The buyer's agents, Lynn Warren and Gary Little, are affiliated with Fite-Shavell & Associates, whose office is that sleek Streamline Moderne building at the northeast corner of North County Road and Royal Poinciana Way. Warren said the buyer looked at several offerings before settling on this spectacular estate south of the Bath & Tennis Club. A 20-year Palm Beach real estate veteran, formerly Mr. Warren was involved in marketing for Better Homes & Gardens, the magazine and book divisions.
While Mr. Glazer and his family still own several Palm Beach houses, Jeff Greene has listed his 50,000-sq.-ft.+ Beverly Hills house on 25 acres for lease and/or option, known as Palazzo di Amore, with Joyce Rey, among Southern California's penultimate real estate brokers. Along with his Lania Lane estate, Mr. Greene and his wife, Mei Sze Chan Greene, also have property in Malibu and Miami Beach, according to recently published reports. Mr. Greene's rise in the billionaire ranks, #317 with an est. $1.3 billion on this year's Forbes 400 list, has been widely reported by MSNBC, Forbes and was this week's Miami Herald cover feature in their Business Monday magazine, titled "The Greene Machine," detailing how he made a fortune from subprime loans. According to The Herald article, Mr. Greene owns three jets. Heidi Fleiss lived in his guesthouse for a year. His yacht, Summerwind, is undergoing repairs in a Miami boatyard. He worked as a busboy and waiter at The Breakers. And, he plays a role in Gregory Zuckerman's recently published book about John Paulsen, "The Greatest Trade Ever."
|Engel & Volkers opens Manalapan office
Despite what you read, some see the current market as an opportunity. PB's Engel & Volkers has opened an office in Manalapan. Located in Plaza del Mar, across from The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the office's new associates include, Bunny Hiatt, Jack Elkins and Charlie Velie.
The Art of Palm Beach
|The bygone black-tie and floor-length gown attire for art openings may be over but the spirits of Wally Findlay, Mary Sanford, Piero Aversa and Alice De Lamar were certainly felt during Thursday night's Gallery Walk on Worth, the first attempt in many-many years to revive a Palm Beach tradition that faded as galas, silent auctions and table gifts became the town's prevailing zeitgeist. Hard to believe the resort's artists, galleries and studios once outnumbered real estate offices and bankers in PB's Midtown where gallery visits were considered a must pre-dinner ritual. Fourteen galleries are planning to open from 6-8 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month through May, sponsored by the Palm Beach Daily News and the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Here is a browse through several of the galleries ...
|Gallery owner Arij Gasiunasen.||At Gasiunasen Gallery, Jim Dine's acrylic on canvas, Blaze Fury, 40" x 40," painted in 2007. www.gasiunasengallery.com|
|Arcature Fine Art. www.arcaturefineart.com.|
|Anne and John Surovek.|
|Bryan Walsh, director of DTR Modern Galleries.||Bretau Gallery, whose name artist was designated "Official Painter of NASA," features out-of-this-world art.|
|St. Edward Church|
|J. F. "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, Rose Kennedy's father, was a founding member of St. Edward.||The stained-glass windows were donated by Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, Joseph and Rose Kennedy, among other parishioners.|
|St. Edward on a bright sunny Palm Beach morning as seen from Green's Pharmacy across the street.||A statue of St. Edward the Confessor rests above the entrance doors framed by elaborate cast concrete embellishments.|
|PB Real Estate Roulette notes ...
Wellington equestrian facility sells for $4.3 million
Saddle River resident Noel Love Gross sold her 20-acre Wellington equestrian facility at 15255 Estancia Lane for $4.3 million, according to the warranty deed filed December 11.
Listed for $5 million, the Palm Beach Point facility situated on four-five acre lots included a 4.700-sq.-ft. main house with two master suites, an 8-stall barn with a 3-bedroom apartment, two grooms' quarters, tack rooms, seven turnout fields and a paved golf cart path surrounding the property.
Affiliated with the New Jersey Racing Commission since 1994 and a Guggenheim heir, Mrs. Gross lost her husband, Nelson G. Gross, more than a decade ago in a highly-publicized case when he was kidnapped at gunpoint by three teenagers, forced to withdraw cash from his bank account and after a weeklong manhunt was found murdered in an embankment near the Hudson River. The ordeal is the subject of the book, "Bigger Than Life: A Murder, a Memoir," written in 2007 by Dinah Lenney, a daughter from Mr. Gross's first marriage.
NYC developer snaps up Breakers Row penthouse for $8M
Cohen Brothers Realty of Florida LLC, headed by CEO and president Charles S. Cohen, paid $8 million for Louis Epstein's 3,600-sq.-ft. penthouse at Two North Breakers Row, according to published reports, making for the biggest condominium sale of 2009.
Mr. Cohen's NYC-based company (CBRC) built and developed the nation's prime design centers, the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, NYC's D&D Building, the Decorative Center in Houston and Design Center of the Americas in Dania, Florida. Mr. Cohen has residences in New York and Connecticut.
The seller, Mr. Epstein, purchased PH-1 in the South building, a warranty leasehold unit on The Breakers hotel property, in 1987 for $1.8 million.
Nadine House, of Nadine House Realty, Inc., represented the seller and the buyer.
|Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.|