REAL ESTATE

South Beach mansion where Versace lived is for sale again — $125 million

 

One of South Beach’s most famous properties is on the market for $125 million. Along with 10 bedrooms and 24-karat gold in the pool, the buyer will get “instant celebrity status.’’

mbrannigan@MiamiHerald.com

Casa Casuarina, the famed South Beach mansion once owned by Italian designer Gianni Versace, is back on the market, this time with a jaw-dropping price tag of $125 million.

The for-sale listing comes as the property’s owner, telecommunications entrepreneur Peter Loftin, is fighting a foreclosure action filed against the property in December 2011 by a prominent New York family that also has a stake in The Victor Hotel next door.

Luxury property superbrokers Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, who operate as The Jills, unveiled the coveted listing Friday morning with a gushing press release and a portfolio of dazzling photos of the iconic Mediterranean-style estate.

The mansion at 1116 Ocean Drive has 10 bedrooms, each ornately decorated in a fantasy theme with exclusive fabrics, tiles and ceramics, 11 baths and a 54-foot mosaic inlaid pool lined in 24-karat gold. It’s chock full of frescoes and statues with a large open air courtyard.

“Every room is a work of art,’’ said Jill Eber, reached in Fiji Friday. “If the person buying it is not already a celebrity it gives them instant celebrity status — if they want it.”

The listing comes as luxury properties in South Florida are selling fast and fetching incredulous prices. A home at 14 Indian Creek Island Road in Miami Beach sold for $38.5 million in March.

“We’re already getting a lot of people responding to the listing,” Jill Hertzberg, the other half of The Jills said late Friday. “It’s an internationally recognized name, and it’s on Miami Beach. It will appeal to a lot of people.”

She said the Ocean Drive location provides a rare unobstructed ocean view right on South Beach.

The property is currently leased by the Villa by Barton G, which operates a boutique hotel and restaurant there. Barton G. Weiss, the proprietor of the Miami Beach hot spot, said he doesn’t expect a sale to affect his business.

“Our lease continues, and it’s business as usual,” Weiss said. A 10-year lease signed in 2010 has an option to extend for 10 additional years, he said.

The current owner, Loftin, bought the property for $19 million in September 2000 from the Versace estate.

The foreclosure action on the property was filed last December by VM South Beach LLC, which bought a $25 million mortgage on the property from a German bank, WestLB.

VM South Beach is affiliated with the Nakash family of New York, which controls Jordache Enterprises. Jordache is involved in assorted ventures from denim jeans to various hotels, including several on Miami Beach. The Nakash family has an interest in the Victor Hotel next door to Casa Casuarina.

Ralph Bekkevold, an attorney with Greenberg Traurig, who represents VM South Beach in the foreclosure action, confirmed that the mortgage holder “purchased the promissory note from the German bank and is seeking to foreclose.” He declined to comment further, citing the pending litigation.

The mansion was built in 1930 by architect Alden Freeman, an heir to the Standard Oil fortune, in tribute to the Alcazar de Colon, Christopher Columbus’ family home in the Dominican Republic.

By the mid-1980s, the villa was in disrepair. Versace bought it in 1992 for $3 million and spent a reported $33 million on its renovation. The Italian designer was gunned down on the steps of his home in 1997 by Andrew Cunanan.

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