Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Palm Beach panorama

The bridge to Yamato Island, Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach.
by Augustus Mayhew

Along with a glance at some of the Palm Beach real estate roulette wheel’s latest bets, sustained last week by none other than Rudy Giuliani, here is a glimpse at the "Think Pink!" show, a prismatic exhibition of contemporary artworks at the Gavlak Gallery on Worth Avenue curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody; followed by, a walk around the nearly 200-acre Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, designed not as a landscape for a collection of plants but a place to cultivate the spirit, perhaps much like the aesthetic GPS that drives DeWoody’s passion for art.

Stamford developer buys 1123 North Lake Way

Thomas L. Rich,
president of the F. D. Rich real estate development company, Stamford, Connecticut, purchased 1123 North Lake Way for $2.2 million, $700,000 less than the sellers, Victor Moore and John J. Tatooles, paid in June 2007, according to the court records. The four bedroom house with 3,100-square-feet of living area has had five different owners since 1999.

North End modern for $7.5 million

A contemporary one-story house at 120 Canterbury Lane designed by architect John Colamarino sold for $7.5 million to a Southport, Connecticut family who purchased under a corporate name, Campana PB Trust. Built in 1988 on an ocean block cul-de-sac, the 4-bedroom house at 120 Canterbury Lane was originally listed for $9.9 million. Ned Monell, a sales agent at Sotheby’s represented the seller; Scott M. Gordon, an associate with Fite Shavell & Associates, represented the buyers.

Lakefront sells for $17.1 million
Craig and Michele Millard sold 340 Polmer Park for $17.1 million to Ann and Robert Fromer, Palm Beach residents. Taking into account various seller and buyer agreements, the selling price was actually $18 million, according to local real estate sources. In 2001, the Millards bought the property for $9.6 million. Gardenia House was listed for as much as $24 million. The seller was represented by Wally Turner, sales associate with Sotheby's International Real Estate. Lawrence Moens, of Lawrence A. Moens & Associates, was the agent for the buyers.

Designed in 1969 by architect Henry Harding and built by Robert Gottfried, the villa features high ceilings, a chef's kitchen and a first-floor master suite. Situated on the North End's lakeside ridge atop one of the island's highest points, the six-bedroom house is the centerpiece of an estate with a gated drive, pool and Intracoastal Waterway frontage.

The Millards had bought the house from the estate of Nancy "Trink" Deere Wiman Carter Wakeman Gardiner, the Midwest John Deere heiress who owned several Palm Beach properties.
Between the deals

Homeland security is a national priority and nowhere more ubiquitous than the kind practiced by vigilant Palm Beach real estate agents. I respect agents who disclose they have signed confidentiality agreements or say that they do not wish to comment on a sale. But, there are some agents who consider Palm Beach like Area 51, despite information gleaned from the public record, a sale is treated like a black op. Recently, I have been asked, or was it told, by some island agents to restrict, modify or simply not mention aspects of real estate sales that are part of the public record.

Specifically, I have been asked not to report mortgage amounts, although in the mainland United States mortgages are part of the public record, found following the recorded deed on the court house record, my predominate source. The myth that islanders do not have mortgages makes Palm Beach real estate more attractive, according to some agents. One of the major differences between 1920’s Palm Beach and today’s volatile 21st-century market is the size of the existing mortgages. Yes, there are properties mortgaged for $5-$10-$20-$35 million and more. And while the bubble era appears to have passed, there remain more than several properties mortgaged for more than what might be assumed their market value. Then, I have also been asked, or was it told, not to report the recorded sale price but the one an agent says was the real price.

On Palm Beach, there is the recorded price, the reported price, the MLS price and there might also be the price that only those at the closing table will ever be aware. After all, it is Palm Beach, where truth is sometimes a fantasy. My column is based primarily on the courthouse and property appraiser's records and "local real estate sources." I do not have access to the PB MLS, reportedly more top secret than bridge game results at the Everglades Club and have never used MLS information.

And then, you have to like, "... don't mention my name, it didn't sell for enough."

Rudy, Judy Giuliani buy Southlake condo for $1.4 million
Rudolph W. Giuliani and his wife, Judith S. Giuliani, purchased a condominium at The Southlake, 315 S. Lake Drive, Unit 5-D, for $1.4 million from Lawrence E. Larson, trustee for the Jean Daniels Cluett Trust. The Cluett Trust bought the approx. 2,000-square-foot three-bedroom apartment overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway in 2003 for $1.25 million. In 2004, the Giulianis bought a Palm Beach Towers apartment at 44 Cocoanut Row for $410,000. Listed for $1.58 million, Brown Harris Stevens Palm Beach represented the seller and the buyers.
Think Pink! at the Gavlak Gallery
249B Worth Avenue www.gavlakgallery.com
13 February – 20 March 2010
Beth Rudin DeWoody, Curator
Pink Stink, 2009. Lisa Anne Auerbach.
Before heading over to the Gavlak Gallery, I stopped by the waterfront enclave of the show’s curator, Beth Rudin DeWoody, conveniently located between Peggy Guggenheim’s Palazzo Venier dei Leoni in Venice and Doris Duke’s Shangri La in Honolulu. It was refreshing to find DeWoody had retained the aesthetic values of a Howard Chilton-designed Midcentury Modern house as her compound's centerpiece, a dimensional showcase of her remarkably balanced high-wire appreciation for art and architecture.

Architect Howard Chilton and his wife, Sylvia Chilton, were lifelong patrons of the Norton Gallery of Art. Sylvia Chilton, nee Carmen Sylvia Wedge, was an accomplished watercolorist, "an artist of the evanescent," whose work was shown at The Norton, the Society of the Four Arts, and galleries in Palm Beach, Los Angeles and Charleston. No doubt, the Chiltons would be gratified by DeWoody's viewpoint.
Arlene Florence's Seduction, 2009.
But, unlike the diverse scope of her private collection, Beth Rudin DeWoody’s "Think Pink!" show concentrates on the spectrum of associations surrounding the color pink. The show features work from more than 85 established and emerging artists at the Gavlak Gallery’s second-floor courtyard and at The Four Seasons Resort. Artworks are tagged from $500 to $300,000. Ten percent of the proceeds will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The gallery also offers pink ribbons for a small donation.
Beth Rudin DeWoody in front of a Zane Lewis work, Untitled (Seduction), 2009.
Dana Funaro and Sara Gavlak.
Mickey Ateyeh and Ronni Ginott.
Beneath the hat, Marina Kuivalainen, The Expert of Russian Art, according to her card, a gallerist from Helsinki.
Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo, Rob Wynne, and Maynard Monrow.
Nico and Randy Polumbo.
Two smaller works are flanked by Randy Polumbo's Love Sac, 2009, and Kirsten Stoltmann's Sprayed Bush, 2007.
Michel Witmer. Burton Machen. Kristi Witker Koons.
William Pagano's Modern House Series, Unitled 3, 2010 and Hunt Slonem's Coral Finches.
Paul Kratz and Jay Harris. A pink staircase in the Via Encantada courtyard.
Jodi and Holden Luntz.
Bruce Teeters and Rob Sherman.
Bernie and Ina Wasserman.
David and Kay Haxton.
David Haxton's No.141 Shadows from Torn Magenta on White, 1980-2009.
A touch of pink, Saturday, 6:30 p.m. After the show, I stopped on Worth Avenue overlooking the Everglades Club basin, snapped the last traces of sunset, went home and watched Pink's "Glitter in the Air" Grammy performance on YouTube, again.
The Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens
4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach
George and Harriet Cornell were generous philanthropists, giving to Cornell University, Rollins College, the Palm Beach Zoo, among other interests. Locally, they were well known for donating the land and funds to create dog parks. Years ago, their neighbor, Joann Peart, called me and said the Cornells were coming for dinner and would I please come over and cook a Cuban dinner for them. It made for an unforgettable evening listening to Mrs. Cornell’s tales of Old Havana. Bound to a wheelchair since struck with polio as a child, Harriet Cornell was quite the character, always engaging and charming every time I saw her. Reportedly, among her last words, "For God’s sakes, don’t call an ambulance." The Morikami was always one of their favorite endeavors.
Japanese gardens are designed to be appreciated in their entirety or as harmonious smaller spaces for the heart and mind.
Wisdom Ring. A lone heron on Turtle Island where once flocks of birds wintered in nearby ponds and marshes.
Views of the bridge to Shinden Garden, one of several historic gardens.
One of several artful bench designs.
Hiraniwa Flat Garden, Edo period, 17th-18th century.
A scene from Jurassic Park.
An entrance and exit feature to the historic gardens.
George Morikami donated his farm to the people of Palm Beach County so that the legacy of the area's Japanese settlers, known more than a century ago as the Yamato Colony, would never be forgotten.
A memorial to Mr. Morikami includes half of his ashes with the remainder in his birthplace, Miyazu, Japan; today, the sister city of Delray Beach.
The museum building opened in 1993.
The view from Yamato Island, where the old museum building was located, looking towards the new museum building. The Kasuga-style lantern is dedicated to the Challenger astronauts that included Ellison Onizuka, the first person of Asian descent to travel into space.
Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.

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