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Manalapan estate said to be priced at $195 million

Posted On: 04-18-2015

By Darrell Hofheinz

Daily News Real Estate Writer

Notoriously publicity-shy, the billionaire Ziff family is said to be asking as much as $195 million for Gemini, their 15-acre ocean-to-lake estate on South Ocean Boulevard in Manalapan. The property is not listed in the multiple listing service, but its jaw-dropping price would put it on par with the most expensive U.S. property being sold through MLS.

If the price is correct – and given the size of the Ziff property and its condition, there’s no real reason to doubt it – then it would tie the one set by Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene for Palazzo di Amore, the 25-acre estate he’s selling in Beverly Hills near Los Angeles.

The Manalapan property at 2000 S. Ocean Blvd. has about 1,200 feet of beach frontage and about 1,300 feet of waterfront on the irregularly shaped side facing the Intracoastal Waterway. It sits on 15.65 acres.

With multiple buildings, the compound is not listed for sale in MLS. But it has been quietly marketed for several months by agents with Christie’s International Real Estate in cooperation with Premier Estate Properties in Boca Raton, according to multiple real estate sources.

No one involved – including the Ziff family – is talking.

Extensively renovated

The property lies a few blocks north of the Boynton Beach Inlet. The coastal road bisects the estate, but that fact is obscured by the way the main house is built: It straddles both sides of the highway, its two sections linked by an underground gallery and sky-lighted foyer. And because South Ocean Boulevard is elevated, the property is screened on both sides from drivers, thanks to walls and vegetation.

Among its many amenities, the park-like property includes a PGA-standard golf-practice area, a sports field and complex, a bird sanctuary and a butterfly garden with a large-scale model train.

The property includes the 12-bedroom Mediterranean-style main residence, a seven-bedroom guesthouse, a pair of seaside guest cottages and a manager’s house. Taken together, the buildings offer nearly 85,000 square feet of living space, inside and out, with 33 bedrooms, 34 bathrooms and 13 powder rooms.

The main house, designed in the 1940s by noted society architect Marion Sims Wyeth, has about 62,220 square feet, including a basement level measuring more than 17,950 square feet. An extensive renovation took place in 2003.

The Lambert pharmaceutical family was the original owner, and the estate also served at one point as a seasonal home for Loel and Gloria Guinness.

Family fortune

With a net worth totaling $14.3 billion, the Ziff family ranked No. 15 on Forbes’ 2014 list of American’s wealthiest families.

The family’s fortune is managed by Ziff Brothers Investments of New York City, which is controlled by three brothers – Dirk Ziff, Robert Ziff and Daniel Ziff. A 1992 deed first links their late father, William B. Ziff Jr., to the estate, although property records suggest the family actually acquired the property for $5 million in 1985.

In 1999, he and his three sons, along with his second wife, Tamsen Ann Ziff, signed a $19.6 million deed transferring their ownership to a limited liability company. Records show Tamsen Ziff serves as vice president of that company, Ocean Boulevard Properties LLC.

Will Ziff Sr. co-founded, in 1927, the publishing company Ziff Davis, which his son grew into a media empire, according to Forbes. The family divested itself of the company in the early 1990s and focused on their investments. Over the past couple of years, Ziff Brothers Investments closed both hedge funds it operated in New York and London.

The family also has been linked to a 2009 purchase of an oceanfront estate in Seminole Landing near North Palm Beach.

Ziff family spokesman Michael Freitag said the family had no comment, and real estate agent Rick Moeser of Christie’s International Real Estate in Palm Beach also declined to comment. Broker Carmen D’Angelo of Premier Estate Properties couldn’t be reached.

 

Source: Darrell Hofheinz, April 18, 2015, Palm Beach Daily News

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