Versace Home Turned Boutique Hotel Sets Auction Record in Sale
The media was invited to tour the Versace mansion, 1116 Ocean Drive, Tuesday, July 23, 2013, before a bankruptcy auction September 17. Marice Cohn Band / Miami Herald/MCT
The high premium paid for this property is foolish when you consider the property’s limited appeal as a boutique hotel — no matter how interesting people like Donald Trump and 1980s-era jean manufacturers may find it.
Casa Casuarina, the 10-bedroom Miami Beach mansion where fashion designer Gianni Versace was shot and killed, sold at an auction today for $41.5 million to a group including the owners of Jordache Enterprises Inc.
VM South Beach LLC, whose principals include part of Jordache’s Nakash family, beat a $41 million bid by Donald Trump for the property, said Ryan Julison, a spokesman for Fisher Auction Co. The deal will be taken to a bankruptcy court tomorrow for approval.
The house, owned by Versace when he died in 1997, was sent to auction after failing to attract bidders for its $125 million list price, later lowered to $75 million. The home was sold as- is, including a double-king-size bed, rooftop observatory and gold-lined pool. The minimum bid was $25 million.
The Nakash family — whose billion-dollar Jordache empire includes commercial real estate, nightclubs, food manufacturing and an airline in addition to its namesake fashion business — owns Miami properties including the Hotel Victor next door to Casa Casuarina. The family’s immediate plan is to operate the mansion as a hotel, though it “will not rule out any other ideas,” Steven Nakash, a Jordache owner, said in an e-mailed statement.
The family is also considering using the property for a restaurant, retail or event space, or a combination of those, said Jonathan Bennett, director of Jordache’s real estate arm.
“We are not closing it off, we are not using it as a private residence,” Bennett said in a telephone interview. “It will be open to the public and people will be able to participate and appreciate and see this magnificent property.”
Peter Loftin, the founder and former chairman of Business Telecom Inc., purchased the 19,000-square-foot (1,800-square- meter) house in 2000. He placed the property in bankruptcy in July after VM South Beach tried to seize control of the sales process, according to the Miami Herald.
Jordache bought the $25 million mortgage on the mansion from German bank WestLB in December 2011, Bloomberg Businessweek reported last year. It then moved to foreclose on the property. Loftin had converted the home into a boutique hotel but failed to make mortgage payments, the family said at the time. Loftin sued the Nakash family and the bank, WestLB, alleging a conspiracy whereby WestLB, wanting to offload the mortgage, pushed Loftin into default with “fabricated” loan documents.
Joseph Nakash, who co-founded Jordache, attended today’s auction on behalf of his family. Bidding starting at $25.5 million and increased in increments of $500,000, Lamar Fisher, who ran the sale, said in a telephone interview. Eric Trump, Donald’s son and executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization, attended on behalf of South Beach Ventures LLC.
The sale process lasted about 17 minutes. The property was the most expensive real estate Fisher has ever auctioned.
The mansion at 1116 Ocean Drive, a strip frequented by Miami Beach tourists, was built in 1930 by architect and philanthropist Alden Freeman. Some rooms are lined with mosaic tiles, stained glass and paintings of topless women laying by fountains. One guest room is nicknamed the Madonna room, after the pop singer who stayed there.
Versace purchased the house in 1992 and spent $33 million expanding and upgrading the property, adding a south wing, pool and garden. He was shot in front of the house in July 1997 by Andrew Cunanan, who took his own life two weeks later. Versace’s will left his interest in the family fashion house to his sister, Donatella, who later sold the residence.
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