Thursday, August 9, 2012

South Florida Social Diary

Classic Book Shop's shelves are filled with books about iconic Palm Beach houses but nearby South County Road storefronts are emptying as during this past week Hamburger Heaven and the Shoe Inn permanently closed.
South Florida Summer: Palm Beach & Miami
By Augustus Mayhew

As much as Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue and Miami’s Bal Harbour are exclusive fashion destinations sharing many of the same internationally-renowned brands, I am endlessly fascinated by what sets them apart. While Palm Beach’s stringent commercial standards are said to drive some off the island — $60 parking tickets pinch even the deepest pockets — Bal Harbour keeps creating ways to deepen and diversify its market, even when faced with the recently announced Midtown Miami partnership between Craig Robin’s DACRA + LVMH’s L Real Estate, the Paris-based investment group funded by the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey conglomerate. DACRA + LVMH are set to add a $300 million open-air luxury promenade in the Design District by 2014-2015. LVMH’s portfolio of brands, including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi, Bulgari, Pucci, DeBeers, Celine, and Marc by Marc Jacobs, will be a part of this new venture that has already received preliminary approvals. These venues will join the always-popular Christian Louboutin, soon-to-open Cartier, Zegna, Tom Ford, Hermes, and Burberry boutiques. But, with a reported considerable wait list for any vacant space, Bal Harbour Shops meanwhile is plotting its latest expansion plans said to include a new department store, a luxury Cinebistro, and 30-40 more specialty shops catering to the Rio-Moscow-Montreal titanium triangle.

Here is a look at Wednesday on Palm Beach and Saturday on Miami.

Palm Beach
Wednesday, 11 July 2012.
9:30 am Town Council meeting
At around 10 am, the mayor and council are still looking alert and fresh. L to r.: Bill Diamond, Robert Wildrick, Council President David Rosow, Mayor Gail Coniglio, Richard Kleid, and Michael Pucillio begin the day-long development approvals process with photographs of former mayors of Palm Beach looking over their shoulders.
By the looks of this past week’s Town Council’s agenda, it seemed everyone was waiting for July’s dog days to gain approvals on a myriad of issues, except, of course, anything to do with Royal Poinciana Way. Speaking of our four-legged pals, the council approved a first of two readings that permits unleashed dogs to run free on the town’s non-public beaches as long as they are under the watchful eyes of their owners. Leashed-dogs-only remains the rule for the Midtown Beach and Phipps Ocean Park. The Worth Avenue Association gained approval for September 6th’s “Fashion’s Night Out,” though limited to a four-hour event. Last year, several thousand swarmed the street. And finally, after years of debate something many thought would never happen, a construction contract has been awarded to build public restrooms at Midtown Beach with a ribbon cutting planned before Thanksgiving 2012. Mark your calendars.
Above, the Wednesday morning crowd at the Town Council meeting. When billionaire Jeff Greene paid $3.7 million in February 2011 for the town's historic post office building and began a considerable remodeling process, he probably couldn't imagine that he would be facing fines of $2,000 daily for construction delays. But, on Wednesday, the council was unsympathetic to Mr. Greene's "water table problem" and soaked him with the fine until he is able to CO the building.
Lawyer Maura Ziska represents a considerable number of applicants needing variance and development approvals from the Town Council. Her client Temple Emanu-El was requesting additional public uses for a large vacant parcel they acquired adjacent to their 190 North County Road venue. While some of the neighbors have questioned the number and type of uses, the council deferred the issue for further study.
160 Royal Palm Way, porte cochere entrance. The site has been under construction since 2007. There are few moments as rich as when discussing the endless confusion and complications surrounding 160 Royal Palm Way's construction without approvals, unauthorized changes, changes mistakenly authorized, and unapproved new site plan modifications, Town Council President David Rosow asked Glenn Straub, "Do you consider yourself a sophisticated real estate investor?" Mr. Straub, no stranger to the glare of public scrutiny, assured Rosow that he owns more than 2,200 acres in Palm Beach County and more than 600 assets in five Florida counties. But, Straub, who took over the problematic Palm House "condo-hotel" project in 2009, said he considers himself a "horizontal," not a "vertical" developer, with more than 40 percent of his portfolio considered troubled properties. And, what could be more unsettling to the nearby property owners than the past five years of what appears to them to be annoying, intentional slow-motion construction. "You are gaming the system," said Rosow.
160 Royal Palm Way. "Being built only to be never finished, then demolished," a neighbor confided with me while questioning how millions could have been spent on a building that looks like a Ramada Inn on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard. Wanting the long-delayed project to move forward, the Town Council gave Palm House owner Glenn Straub until February 2013 to complete exterior work and earn a certificate of occupancy. Any work not completed by then, such as an event-function room, would have to be performed under a separate permit. Also, the council granted Straub's request to defer until Aug. 15 a review of the numerous changes to the building.
At 4:52 pm, the Town Council is listening to a representative of the Ferretti Group yacht brokerage request a special exception allowing them to conduct business in a first floor location at 125 Worth Avenue.
PB publishing scion opens downtown WPB bookstore

Several months ago, longtime Palm Beacher Thorne Donnelley Jr.’s interest in collectible books was an avocation. By offering a small corner nook of books for sale at one of his Liberty Tax Service offices, his professional office was able to secure a heavily-trafficked retail spot on West Palm Beach’s commercial Clematis Street. And surprisingly, in what may be judged heretical in the virtual Age of Kindle, the Liberty Book Store has now taken over the entire space. What was a short stack is now a prime showcase for first editions, rare books, as well as an eclectic range of collectible used books, primarily focused on art, yachts, architecture, cars, what Donnelley calls “Boys Toys.”

“These are the books I like,” said Donnelley who will spend part of the summer in Colorado and Virginia obtaining his certification in rare book grading. “I’m also including a section devoted to local authors and Floridiana.”
His family's name may be synonymous with the phonebook's Yellow Pages but Thorne Donnelley Jr., pictured above, has recently displayed his own publishing interest by opening a bookstore at 330 Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach.
A Via del Lago resident, whose parents Thorne and Virginia Donnelley had made Palm Beach their seasonal home, Thorne Donnelley Jr. was born at Good Samaritan Hospital on WPB’s Flagler Drive. He spent some of his youth in California where he founded a jet-and-helicopter company in Los Angeles. Donnelley returned to Palm Beach where he graduated from the Rinker School of Business at Palm Beach Atlantic College before obtaining his DBA doctorate at Nova’s Southeastern University.

Jane Volk was my godmother,” added Donnelley, speaking of one of Palm Beach’s much noted historic preservation advocates who was married to architect John L. Volk.
Thorne Donnelley Jr. has opened nine locations for his Liberty Tax Service but only one Liberty Book Store. "I'm never going to be in business competing with Barnes & Noble," said Donnelley, describing his book shop's attraction for book collectors and people who treasure books as much as they enjoy perusing them.
Donnelley’s great-grandfather Richard Robert Donnelley founded RR Donnelley, widely-known as the world's largest commercial printer of encyclopedias, mass market magazines, mail-order catalogs, and best-selling books. When the elder Donnelley died in 1899, his son Thomas E. Donnelley became president; another son, Thorne’s grandfather, Reuben H. Donnelley was a company vice-president and headed up the Reuben H. Donnelley Corporation, an independent subsidiary that became the nation’s largest publisher of telephone directories. In 1961, Dun & Bradstreet acquired the Reuben H. Donnelley Corporation. For an overview of the Donnelley family’s contribution to the history of printing, The University of Chicago has a splendid online exhibit Printing for the Modern Age: Commerce, Craft and Culture in the R.R. Donnelley Archive

And, in his most polite professorial manner, Donnelley wanted to make sure I was aware of the subtle genealogical nuances relating to all things Palm Beach, “My brother is also named Thorne Donnelley,” clarified Donnelley, referring to Thorne Barnes Donnelley, also a longtime Palm Beach resident whose mother was Mary Barnes Norvel Donnelley, the second Mrs. Thorne Donnelley Sr.
"I greatly admired Marjorie Stoneman Douglas," said Donnelley whose book shelves includes this first edition of the legendary "The Everglades: Leaves of Grass." Building on his interest for naval and maritime history, Donnelley has become chairman of the Palm Beach Maritime Foundation's Ranger Project. The foundation's goal is building a replica of the Revolutionary War-era USS Ranger that will be similar to the model pictured above of the USS Constitution. The Ranger project will be two-year public demonstration of wooden shipbuilding.
"I'm having the time of my life," said Donnelley who also taught Information Technology at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Around town

Although the real estate market remains shy of yesterday’s prices, sales are taking place. Several jungle drums have reported Baroness Jeane von Oppenheim has her North End house under contract. The noted photograph collector has acquired a nearby house and has no plans to leave Palm Beach. Also, according to the island grapevine decoder, Lloyd and Susan Miller have settled in to Conrad Black’s ocean-to-lake villa at 1930 South Ocean Boulevard. The Vulcan Corporation scion purchased the Black enclave as a primary residence last April for $23 million.
Greenwich residents Charles Minot Amory III and his wife Victoria Amory have sold their 141 Brazilian Avenue ocean-block house for $5 million to Tim and Gail DeVries.
And out amidst Wellington’s boots-and-saddle set, although Georgina Bloomberg has recently joined Mark Bellissimo’s Wellington Equestrian Partners, it appears the village’s newly-elected Town Council, reportedly elected by the anti-Equestrian Village billionaire Jeremy Jacobs family’s near $500,000 support, has turned a deaf ear to WEP’s plans to make Wellington a world dressage destination. WEP has withdrawn Wellington from consideration for an upcoming international competition. And, apparently having failed to meet deadlines for necessary commercial development approvals, things are kaput at this moment. Seemingly, this did not appear to deter 150 Worth Avenue owner Murray Goodman who, as a principal of Turtle Lane Farms II LLC, paid $5.725 million for 3238 Grand Prix Farms Drive, a 3-acre improved recently-built elaborate equestrian facility owned by Henning’s Tea Pea LLC, according to court documents recorded on July 11. Phil Henning is owner of a Canadian-based sport horse breeding operation.

947 North Ocean Boulevard
With Playa Riente and the Scripps house long gone, architect Peter Zimmerman has secured approvals for a 17,320 square-foot British Colonial house with a 7,000-squaew-foot basement, according to the ARCOM minutes. The owner is the Delaware-based 1200 South Ocean Boulevard LLC, said by sources to be the new Palm Beach digs for John S. Middleton, the pipe tobacco-cigar scion and part-owner of the Philadelphia Phillies. Last month, ARCOM approved changing out the tennis court for a swimming pool and the addition of a "walled-in Italianate garden.
Pool and the addition of a "walled-in Italianate garden.
Architect Peter Zimmerman's web site is displaying these drawings for the Palm Beach house. The west elevation would be the façade facing North Ocean Boulevard; the eastern side faces the ocean.
947 North Ocean Boulevard, construction site.
Murrays move in; Mottolas move on
302 Caribbean Road. This North End house was built as an 8,657 square-foot spec house and sold in June 2008 to the Mottolas for $6.5 million.
Last month, W. Stephen Murray and Margaret “Muffie” Woodward Bancroft Murray paid $6.53 million for 302 Caribbean Road, sold by music exec Thomas Mottola and Ariadna Sodi Miranda, Mottola’s singer-actress wife aka Thalia. The sizable five bedroom house sold for slightly more than $500,000 more than the Mottolas paid for it four years ago. The Murrays also acquired a small two-bedroom house adjacent to their Caribbean Road property for $910,000. The buyers were repped by Liza Pulitzer of Brown Harris Stevens, who may have been a family friend of Mrs. Murray’s even before they were born. Listing agents Paulette Koch and Dana Koch of the Corcoran Group represented the sellers.
Muffie Murray's grandmother Edith Woodward Bancroft photographed on 5 July 1937 at her Long Island estate. Photo: Lucius Ordway Frazer Collection.
NYC art dealer pays $1.9 million for Midtown house

Chelsea art dealer William C. Ameringer, principal at Ameringer/McEnery/Yohe Gallery, bought 141 Seaview Avenue for $1.925 million from Hunter and Sue Hansen, according to court papers recorded July 28. Ameringer financed the transaction with a $1.2 million mortgage from UBS USA, as indicated by documents also recorded on July 28. Located in the prime ocean block, the Hansens paid $850,000 in 2000 for the four-bedroom 2,300 square-foot cottage featuring landscape designed by Mario Nievera. The property was listed by Corcoran agent Rosalind Clarke for $2.495 million, according to Internet sources. Previously, Ameringer owned a place in Wellington, purchased in 2009 from designers James Mischka and Mark Badgley for $625,000 and resold in 2011 for $500,000. Following that sale, Ameringer bought a Casa del Lago unit on South Lake Drive for $325,000.

Stanley and Gay Gaines.
Prominent GOP fundraiser pockets $41.5 million for Palm Beach estate

In what may be an extravagant exception or a signal of a return to Palm Beach’s money-is-no-object-whatever-your-price-is deals, Gay Hart Gaines and Stanley N. Gaines sold their 1473 North Ocean Boulevard estate for $41.5 million to Endigan LLC, an Arizona-based LLC, located at 20225 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ, Attn: Douglas S. Wilson, according to a warranty deed recorded July 30. The Arizona Corporate Commission shows MichaCott LLC, a Delaware-registered LLC as sole manager of Endigan LLC. The Scottsdale address is the corporate office of the Discount Tire Company, “the world’s largest independent tire company,” whose founder and president billionaire Bruce Halle bought 1075 North Ocean Boulevard for $22.5 million in October 2011. Mr. Halle’s business fortune ranks as #96, according to a recent Forbes 400 list. Douglas S. Wilson is listed as a Secretary of Discount Tire Company. While the property was not known to be on the market, according to local sources, and the price is the highest recorded on Palm Beach in recent years, it is often remarked that every Palm Beach property is available if the price is right. Former GOPAC chief Gay Gaines has served as vice-chair at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and as a regent of the Mt. Vernon Ladies Association. More recently, Gay Gaines was chairperson for Newt Gingrich’s local fundraising as well as a co-chair for Gingrich’s national campaign. According to the recorded deed, Stanley and Gay Gaines are now ensconced at Two North Breakers Row, Unit 35, an apartment marketed in excess of $7 million.

Hollywood interest pays $18.5 million for Delray Beach oceanfront

“My whole approach is under the radar,” revealed Steve Savitsky in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter for an article on moviedom’s top business managers. And indeed, it appears a client of Savitsky’s Wilshire Boulevard firm (Savitsky, Satin and Bacon) Jeffrey Sussman, as Trustee of the OpieRussell Trust paid $18.5 million for Donald and Julie Anne Uderitz’s 25,000-square-foot house at 502 North Ocean Boulevard in Delray Beach, according to court documents recorded August 1. As you probably already knew, one of Sussman’s clients actor Kevin James (“The King of Queens”) recently starred in two films directed by the prodigious Ron Howard.
Kevin James, Ron Howard, and Winona Ryder promoting The Dilemma (Dickste Freunde) in Berlin, Germany.
Hamburger Heaven closes
Much to the surprise of many of its patrons, Hamburger Heaven closed last week having failed to renew its lease with talk of plans of moving to Palm Beach Gardens.
Hamburger Heaven's popular lunch counter stands empty.
MacKenzie-Childs enlivens Worth Avenue
MacKenzie-Childs adds a splash of color to the otherwise traditional storefronts along Worth Avenue.
Wednesday, 12 July 2012, 5:30 pm
Ta-boó hosts Fisher House benefit

The Friends of Fisher House benefit honoring the area’s war veterans held at Ta-boó attracted more than 400 supporters. The Fisher House program serves as a "home away from home" for the families of America's service men and women while their loved ones are receiving medical care at major military and VA medical center. The program was begun by NYC real estate developer and philanthropist Zachary Fisher and his wife Elizabeth who opened the first Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher House in 1990 at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland. There are now over 50 Fisher Houses, provided more than 183,000 days of lodging every year.
Among the local war heroes honored were Joe Dryer, Daniel R. Baer, Rodman Steele, Desmond Price,TedTask and Frank Hogan. The Fisher House roster of local supporters include: Diana and Llwyd Ecclestone, Michael Capponi, Vanessa Grout, Jay Cochran, Bruce Sutka, Miera Melba, Chris Noel, Philip Nicozisis, Jeff Koons, Brad Deflin, Carlos Morrison, Tommy Morrison, Lucia Bonavita, Maribel Alvarez, Jim Pappas, Arvo Katajisto, Jeff Koons, Leslie Linder, Ashley McKintosh, Andres Fanjul, Daniel Jennings, Candice Jorritsma, Avery Dimmig, Adam Lipson, Lori Stoll, Alexis Posada, Pamela Tombari, Marrisa Pepper, Avery Dimmig, Robert Riva, Reid Boren, Ronnie and Jennie Hasozbek-Garcia, Diana and Rich Horowitz.

Contributing sponsors included: Hamilton Jewelers, Juicy Couture, Sequin Boutique, The Breakers, Stubbs & Wootton, Christofle, Key Leaf, Emilio Pucci, Badgley Mischka, Daniella Ortiz, Tito Vodka, and Island Company.
Ta-boó, a Palm Beach institution since 1941.
Arnold Fisher, the vice-chairman of the national Fisher House Foundation. A prominent NYC builder, Mr. Fisher is a trustee of the Intrepid Museum Foundation and has served as chairman of the board of trustees of the Intrepid Museum Foundation. Fisher House was founded by his late uncle and aunt Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher.
In operation since 1995, the local Fisher House has accommodated as many as 10,000 families at its eight-bedroom facility situated on the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center campus.
Joe Tringali, president of the local Friends of the Fisher House. Mr. Tringali is an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Florida. Frank Hogan.
Maribel Alvarez
Linda Soper and Scott Barber.
Donna Long. Patrick Reilly.
Kim Baguley, Rob Serra, and Miera Melba.
Sebastian Pluchard and Daniel Jennings with TPC, The Private Jet Company.
Philippe Harari, Christine Gupton, and Michel Loeb.
Rush Zimmerman and Justin Hickey.
Chip Malley and Jan Malley.
Saturday, 14 July 2012

Brunch at J&G Grill, St. Regis Resort, Bal Harbour
Jean-Georges Vongerichten, chef

Where better to spend Bastille Day than a late Saturday afternoon brunch at the recently opened St. Regis Resort’s J&G Grill, chef extraordinaire Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s latest offering. Owned and developed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, the 27-story V-shaped beachfront resort tower flanked by a pair of residential buildings was designed by The Sieger Suarez Architectural Partnership. The hotel’s said-to-be Art Deco-inspired interiors were the dazzling work of Yabu Pushelberg, NYC designers George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg.
The St. Regis is located directly across the street from the Bal Harbour shops. The port-cochere's transparent roof allows for a view of the resort's aerodynamic façade and the two flanking residential buildings.
The St. Regis' reception area gives no hint of the impressive Versailles-like hall of mirrors that makes for the hotel's central axis.
The J&G Grill is located at the far east end of the sparkling entrance hall. We arrived for brunch at 3:20 pm. Service was faultless. While I favor La Goulue across the street at Bal Harbor Shops, I would probably return to the J&G.
The J&G Grill did not disappoint; our salads were delicious.
The St. Regis is located on nine acres with close to 1000 feet of oceanfront. Here is the view from my table through heavily tinted-glass looking northeast towards the ocean.
SLS Hotel South Beach
1701 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
Philippe Starck, designer, with Matthew Rollston & Lenny Kravitz. José Andrés, chef.

“The long-awaited return of Philippe Starck to South Beach …” After a considerable makeover, the former Ritz Plaza Hotel has reopened as the SLS (“Savor Luxurious Stays”) Hotel South Beach, with outposts in Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, and NYC.
The SLS was formerly the Ritz Plaza Hotel, built in 1939 and designed by architect Murray Dixon as the Grossinger Beach Hotel, advertised as the resort's first air-conditioned hotel.
The SLS has added a tiled motor court along Collins Avenue.
Hyde Beach. The open terrace dining area steps down onto a private cabana and pool area with beachside dining beyond.
Hyde Beach's design elements were formulated by Starck.
Subtle Starck touches highlight the pool area.
Miami Design District
14 July 2012, 2nd Saturday Art & Design Walk
The Cartier store on NE 40th Street was under construction and should open soon.
Christian Louboutin.
Ewa Josefsson and Desiree Almodovar at NYC designer Anya Ponorovskay's boutique on NE 40th Street.
Robert Cartwright at Hairdragon Salon in the Design District. Uber-chef Michelle Bernstein's Sra. Martinez restaurant in the Design District closed this week. Over on South Beach, Geoffrey Zakarian's Tudor House restaurant has also closed.
Wynwood Arts District
14 July 2012, 2nd Saturday Art Walk
O Cinema, 90 NW 29th Street, across from the Rubell Family Collection. "… A cutting-edge non-profit, independent cinema located in Miami's Wynwood Arts District, that specializes in showing first-run independent, foreign, art, and niche market films."
Just a few hours earlier, I was at the St. Regis savoring my shrimp salad overlooking the splendid sea but now with the steamy heat index near 99 degrees, DJs on every corner, and generator fumes from the too-many food trucks blurring my eyes, I felt as if I'd stepped within a post-apocalyptic Thunderdome drifting through Mad Max's Bartertown or I had somehow descended into hazy scenes from Blade Runner. Yikes! What happened to the Art at the Art Walk?
Mischa Perich at Panther Coffee.
Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.
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