|by Augustus Mayhew
The history of Palm Beach houses can be as much a chronicle of fortune as misfortune; among them, Nuestro Paradiso at 860 South Ocean Boulevard is a prime illustration. Described as Mediterranean Gothic, the eclectic oceanfront was built for the Woolworth syndicate’s notable sheet music exec Ellis Z. Nutting. Earlier, you may recall that in 1907, Mr. Nutting, according to lore, was first to introduce a Woolworth’s lunch counter offering a soda fountain and snacks. During the 1930s, railroad titan Robert Young and his wife, Anita O’Keeffe Young, spent several seasons at Nuestro Paradiso before moving to The Towers, a North End Mizner-designed oceanfront.
At the same time, Sylvester and Elias bought Amado, planning an equally massive renovation for the landmarked Charles Munn property. Unfortunately, Mr. Sylvester and Mr. Elias were crunched by years of setbacks with both projects. Seven years later, John J. Cafaro paid $16 million for Nuestro Paradiso in November 2007. Last week, Mr. Cafaro, a prominent Youngstown, Ohio shopping mall tycoon, was jailed at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Facility; he was later released on bond with electronic GPS monitoring.
Having already served 15-months probation over his 2002 guilty plea for bribery charges involving convicted felon US Rep. James A. Traficant, Mr. Cafaro awaits a June 8 sentencing after he pleaded guilty to the most recent charge surrounding false statements he made to federal authorities about campaign contributions to his daughter, Capri Cafaro, D-32, the minority leader of the Ohio state senate. Newspaper editorials are calling for Mr. Cafaro to be jailed; sentencing guidelines call for six months in prison and probation. Nuestro Paradiso is presently owned by the John J. Cafaro Family Trust.
|With Malcolm Glazer’s La Bellucia selling for $24 million last December and Darcie Glazer Kassewitz’s purchase of 850 South County for $20 million last week, albeit a private sale, Palm Beach’s real estate agents should think about a testimonial for the Glazer family and their role in sustaining the resort’s mansion market and keeping price levels credible. Just don’t invite any of Glazer’s Manchester United football fans. But, not all closings have been upside as the PB market rolls on with a smidge of foreclosure filings and underwater sales.
Seven months later, the former Madoff winter residence at 410 North Lake Way is still up at $7.25 million. The good news is that Conrad and Barbara Black’s house is still available. Although on-and-off the market for several years, it is being marketed now as a “New Listing,” with Blackfield Holdings LLC as owner, a fund/subsidiary held by Plainfield Asset Management. This week Lord Black reassured his Canadian Post readers that indeed he still had control over the Palm Beach house.
As the season ends here are some sales of note before the real off-season buyers arrive.
850 South County Road compound sells for $20.5 million in private sale
In 2000 Malcolm Glazer’s company bought 1200 South Ocean Boulevard, La Bellucia, for $14 million, a property once owned by Ailsa Mellon Bruce for more than 30 years; in March 2010, Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, Mr. Glazer’s daughter, and her husband Joel Kassewitz bought 850 South County Road for $20 million from the estate of the late Isabel Uppercu Collier Read, the widow of Miles Collier, had bought the property form the estate of Mrs. Mellon-Bruce in 1979.
As you may recall, the Glazers sold La Bellucia for $24 million to Jeff and Mei Greene, making for last year’s top ticket; now, so far, the Glazer-Kassewitzes hold the 2010 record. Because the secluded approx. three-acre estate with more than 215 feet of waterfront and more than 10,000-sq.-ft. main house was not on the market, it is difficult to assume that anyone else will pay $20 million again for a lakefront property, although there are still a few parcels that could become subdivisions.
The lakefront’s price king, Henry Kravis, has probably not lost any sleep having paid $50 million several years ago. But, with several other Glazer family members in town, perhaps anxious to up the stakes in their Florida homestead, Palm Beach realtors may want to reposition the Glazers’ approx. $100 million stake in Palm Beach real estate. Mrs. Read’s sons, Miles C. Collier and Barron G. Collier II, a Palm Beach resident, were the co-trustees who sold the property, recently appraised at nearly $15.5 million.
NYC’s Daniel and Ellen Crown score Springsteen pad in Greater Wellington
Wellington equestrienne teen, Jessica Springsteen, is down to only one Wellington house since her parents, Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa, recently sold one of their two adjacent Equestrian Club Estate properties in Wellington. The New Jersey rock star’s Stone Hill Trust sold 3561 Ambassador Road for $2.95 million to Daniel M. and Ellen Podell Crown, New York and Connecticut residents. Although the realtor declined comment due to confidentiality agreements, the property was listed for $3.95 million, according to several other sources. In June 2008, Springsteen bought 3561 Ambassador Road for $3.1 million; the following September, Springsteen’s Stone Hill Trust closed on the adjacent house, 3581 Ambassador Road, for $4.6 million, purchasing it from William S. Farish Jr. and Kelly Farish. The Crowns are active with several NYC and CT concerns. A Chicago native, Daniel Crown’s family is listed as #208 on the 2010 Forbes 400 list, with an estimated worth of $4.1 billion.
Major Alley unit goes for $1.2 million to BVI interest
|Midtown house goes upside down $1 million|
|Golfer Greg Norman’s first ex lands North End lot
The same week golfer Greg Norman relisted his Jupiter Island house on the market for $65 million, the Great White Shark’s first former wife, Laura Andrassy, paid $3.25 million for a vacant parcel at 167 Dunbar Road, $500,000 less than the selling price in July 2008. 167 Dunbar LLC sold the building site nearly 18 months after purchasing it from the Claude Dimick Reese estate; then, demolishing the Reese house. Listed for $3.9 million by Paula Wittmann at Fite Shavell and sold by Toni Hollis, also a Fite Shavell associate, a 6,345 sq.-ft. two-story Bermuda house designed by Smith & Moore had been approved for the site, according to the ARCOM minutes. Following her divorce from golfer Greg Norman, Ms. Andrassy purchased a 4,000-sq.-ft. attached house at 161 Main Street for $3.95 million. Reportedly, Ms. Andrassy has also acquired $4.5 million and $7.5 million properties in Southampton.
North End lakefront sells for $5 million
|Palm Beach Modern: The Sun and Surf’s Garden Club restaurant|
|Part of the agreement that allowed the Sun & Surf’s Garden Club restaurant to open to the public in 1983, was a provision that public should not be made aware that it was open to them. Because it is situated in a residentially-zoned area, the establishment is not permitted to have a sign and is prohibited from advertising. Now called, The Eggsotic Bistro at the Sun & Surf’s Garden Club, the restaurant has become one of those Palm Beach anomalies, much like the island’s arcane town-serving law that gives an added twist to doing business in Palm Beach.
Set back from the street framed by a low hedge, the exhilarating Midcentury Modern-designed covert eatery is now under the direction of Chef Leonardo Espin, who owns another Eggsotic Bistro in West Palm Beach.
|The Sun & Surf Club began in 1931 as a private beach club with cabanas housed within a Mizner-designed mansion built for Leonard Replogle. At first, the club was exclusively for the guests at the Alba/Biltmore and Whitehall hotels, though there was also an ongoing tempest about the number of cabanas at the club.
Then, when the Mizner house, as well as several other historic houses were demolished along Sunset and Sunrise Avenues, today’s Sun & Surf was built as luxury rental apartments on six oceanfront acres designed by Palm Beach architect Eugene Lawrence and built by Jack Resnick & Sons during the mid-1960s.
|Originally, the complex featured a complex of restaurants along the ocean side. Voisin’s of New York, owned by Hy Uchitel, obtained the first franchise, featuring a French-styled salon, a Polynesian Bamboo Room, the Monte Carlo Party Room, a Coffee Shop, and the Voisinette Lounge. Palm Beach artist Phillip Read designed the murals. Within a year after opening, Mr. Uchitel sued the Sun & Surf’s developers claiming he thought the restaurant was public and could be advertised; later, settling out of court. But, the law was changed after there were complaints about excessive traffic and noise. Thus, the Town Council grandfathered the existing restaurants, including the Monegasque at the President condominium, but stipulated they must be “operated solely for the convenience of guests” and were prohibited from advertising.
Yes, breakfast is OK at Hamburger Heaven and Green’s and the Bentleys and Quattroportes still crowd Cucina, but for a change of pace, experience the real Palm Beach, at a restaurant that doesn’t exist.
|Palm Sunday in Palm Beach|
|Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.|