An oceanfront property built to emulate Versailles in Hillsboro Beach, FL, was finally sold at auction. Once marketed with the grandiose title of Le Palais Royal, the home’s name was eventually changed to Playa Vista Isle.
One thing that never wavered? The enormous price tag. Formerly Florida’s most expensive listing, the mansion was once on the market for $159 million, but it didn’t budge. So it went on the auction block.
Concierge Auctions, which handled the bidding process, wouldn’t disclose the final price, but it’s reported to be $42.5 million. That’s an astonishing 73% discount!
So although the sale price is said to be the highest ever recorded in Broward County and the largest price paid for a home at auction in the United States, the gavel landed on a price way, way below the one-time asking price.
The opportunity for a relative bargain sparked a bidding war among 11 buyers. The auction house reported fielding 1,800 inquiries and holding 29 tours for interested buyers.
“At the end of the day, this does represent the most expensive home in the U.S. that’s ever been sold by auction and shows the excitement of selling a very unique asset at auction,” says Laura Brady, Concierge Auctions founder and president.
The seller, Robert Pereira, founded Middlesex Corp., a Massachusetts-based construction company that also has offices in Florida. He had initially built the neoclassical castle for himself, reportedly dropping some $3 million on gold leaf, installing a 100-year-old Austrian crystal chandelier, and building a $2 million marble staircase.
As construction took years to complete, Pereira decided to list the home in 2014 rather than live in it. The splashy initial asking price of $139 million reflected the quality and time put into building the place, with construction costs estimated at somewhere north of $100 million.
Over the years, the mansion popped on and off the market at prices ranging up to $159 million. The luxury auction house took over the sale late last year.
“The founding of the company was to sell high-end real estate assets that are incomparable. This is one example of that,” Brady says. “How do you name a value when there’s nothing like it? It’s not what it cost to build, it’s not what it’s appraised for. It’s what a buyer is willing to pay for it.”
She notes that an auction with a definitive sale date creates a sense of urgency among potential buyers. The mansion went on the block without a reserve price, meaning it would go to the highest bidder. Bidders were vetted to determine proof of funds, and $250,000 in escrow was also required. As it turns out, the winning bidder had purchased homes through the auction house before.
Let’s see what the lucky bidder won.
Located on 5 acres in a community midway between Miami and Palm Beach, Playa Vista Isle is the only ocean-to-Intracoastal Waterway estate to offer some 500 feet of private beachfront.
Finally completed last year, the 58,000-square-foot estate now boasts two concrete, deep-water docks designed to handle enormous yachts.
The opulent interior offers 11 bedrooms, 22 bathrooms, as well as deluxe finishes, including 22-karat gold leaf.
The new owner will enjoy the world’s first 3D-Imax home theater, a gym, and recreational space, along with a 3,000-bottle wine cellar with biometric access. The 30,000-square-foot main level includes formal dining, living, and family rooms. There’s also a 1,300-gallon fish tank with live coral. Gold leaf is everywhere, from the entry gates to the master suite.
Outside features include a heated, 4,500-square-foot infinity pool, an oversize Jacuzzi, 13 water features, and a 20-car garage with tunnel access.
An additional 2-acre lot comes with the listing, to develop as a garden or recreational facility, or to simply leave as is.
“There’s nothing like it,” Brady says. While the sale price came nowhere near the original asking price, the seller can finally move on with other dream projects. And the winner scored serious bragging rights, and a bargain to boot.