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A 1920s Estate Section house sells for $8.66 million

Posted On: 02-16-2011

By Darrell Hofheinz

Daily News Real Estate Writer

Updated: 7:57 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011

Posted: 6:28 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011

 

A historic home at 130 El Brillo Way jointly owned by billionaire Sir Donald Gordon and his son, Graeme John Gordon, has sold for about $8.66 million to Heidelinde M. Alexandra Kauka, according to the price recorded on a warranty deed recorded Tuesday.

Designed by society architect Marion Sims Wyeth in 1925, the seven-bedroom house stands on a lot measuring about a half-acre in the Estate Section. It was last listed at just under $10 million by Rosalind Clarke of Corcoran Group, who represented the sellers.

“I was very happy with the price. We find in our experience that if a property is priced correctly, it achieves a higher price,” she said.

Heidi Wicky of Linda A. Gary Real Estate represented Kauka, who is formerly of Manalapan, where she and her husband, the late cartoonist Rolf Kauka, owned a home in the 1980s.

Kauka heads Promedia Inc., managing the rights and licenses for the cartoons of her late husband, who died in 2000 and is often described in press reports as “the Walt Disney of Germany.”

Donald Gordon, who holds both British and South African citizenship, retired in 2005 from the company he founded, Liberty International, one of the largest developers of regional shopping centers in Europe. Based in London, the company today is known as Capital Shopping Centres Group. He also founded Liberty Life insurance company in South Africa, which he sold in 1999 after building it to be one of the country’s leading financial firms.

When he retired, Donald Gordon reportedly held on to a sizable stake in the company and was named its president for life. He has since focused his attention on his love of opera, giving millions to opera companies in the United Kingdom and dividing his time between homes in London and South Africa.

His son is also involved in the family’s businesses.

Clarke said father and son had used the El Brillo Way house sparingly since they bought it in 2003 from John and Lee Scully for $7.5 million, according to Palm Beach County property records.

Clarke had listed the house in April and said that interest in it picked up in the early fall.

“I found it quite stunning that on Labor Day, it was like someone flipped on a switch,” Clarke said. “There was suddenly a taste for 1920s homes in the Estate Section, even though that market had been very slow for a couple of years. The market was healthier, with a growing feeling that we were returning to a more stable economy in the upper (price range). There was some pent-up buying.”

Among the older Estate Section homes that recently changed hands is one on the same street. On Feb. 2, a 1935 estate at 300 El Brillo Way designed by society architect Maurice Fatio sold for $9.5 million.

Two other Fatio homes nearby sold in December: Kathryn and Leo Vecellio sold 210 Via Del Mar, their 1925 home, for $11.5 million; and 801 S. County Road, Richard and Leslie Schlesinger’s 1929 estate, sold for a recorded price of $16.8 million.

Wicky said the sale of another “significant property” bodes well for the Palm Beach housing market.

“There’s a very nice demand for trophy properties in Palm Beach,” Wicky said, adding that the Gordon sale represented “a very fair price in the market.”

Wyeth designed the house for Frank V. Skiff. Restored in 2000, it features four fireplaces, elaborate moldings and wrought-iron details, Clarke said. The house has more than 11,000 square feet of “total” living space inside and out, of which more than 7,860 square feet is air-conditioned, according to property records.

An active philanthropist, Kauka serves as a board member at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Washington National Opera and the Arizona Opera, and has supported the Salzburg Festival. She also donated land from an estate she and her late husband bought in Thomasville, Ga., for use as a wildlife sanctuary.

Source: Darrell Hofheinz, February 16, 2011, Palm Beach Daily News 

http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/business/a-1920s-estate-section-house-sells-for-8-1259446.html

 

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