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A $5.3M townhouse deal proves to be quite neighborly

Posted On: 08-19-2015

By Darrell Hofheinz Daily News Staff Writer

Gretchen and Howard Leach, a former U.S. ambassador to France, didn’t have to look very far for the townhouse they just bought for a recorded $5.3 million at 323 Brazilian Ave.

That’s because the Leaches live right next door, in a townhome that shares a wall with the one they just acquired. They bought No. 325 for just under $4 million in 2013 and then homesteaded it in Palm Beach County’s tax rolls.

In their off-market deal recorded July 30, the Leaches used trusts to buy No. 323 from their neighbors — Ian C.S. MacGregor and wife Constance, who had paid $3.11 million for it in April 2012. The unit has four bedrooms and about 5,400 square feet of living space inside and out. It’s a little smaller than the Leaches’ other unit in the two-townhouse development, which was built in 2000.

Sotheby’s International Realty agent Bill Kirk represented the MacGregors when they bought No. 323 three years ago, but he said he wasn’t involved in its recent sale. But Kirk did act on the MacGregors’ behalf in June when they closed a $1.1 million purchase of an apartment across the bridge in Waterview Towers at 400 N. Flagler Drive. Corcoran Group agents John Pangborn and Elizabeth Cleckner had the listing for Unit 506, which was sold by a living trust in the name of Dorothy H. Jason.

The Leaches couldn’t be reached, and it was unclear whether any real estate agent assisted them in their recent purchase. Sotheby’s agent Tina Roberts was their agent in 2013, but she couldn’t be reached for confirmation.

Exactly what the Leaches plan to do with their new unit on Brazilian Avenue is unclear, although combining the two townhouses would certainly be an option.

That’s exactly what a neighbor a couple of streets over is doing in the 400 block of Chilean Avenue. Lorraine S. Charman bought attached units 425 and 431 in March with the idea of merging them to become a house of nearly 10,000 total square feet. Of course, the Leaches could use their new unit as a guesthouse or as an investment property for lease.

The Leaches have longtime ties to California, where Howard Leach’s business career has included co-founding businesses related to the food-processing industry. He served as ambassador to France from 2001 to 2005.


Source: Darrell Hofheinz, August 19, 2015, Palm Beach Daily News

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