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Deed: Banyan Road ‘spec’ house sells for $20.2M

Posted On: 03-06-2013

By Darrell Hofheinz

Daily News Real Estate Writer

On the market for more than two years, a never-before-lived-in oceanfront “spec” home at 102 Banyan Road has sold for a recorded $20.23 million.

The Estate Section sale marks the highest-dollar Palm Beach deed recorded so far this year — and the fifth-largest single sale — on the island since the season began in September.

The deed recorded Monday by the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office shows that the Banyan Road Trust bought the house, with West Palm Beach attorney Maura Ziska acting as trustee. She said Tuesday she couldn’t comment on the trust.

Real estate investor Peter J. Callahan of Palm Beach Gardens developed the house for sale on the open market. It was built by Paul Wittmann of Wittmann Building Corp. in Palm Beach.

With 11,000 square feet of living space inside and out, the seven-bedroom, two-story house was built during the heart of the recession and completed in late 2010. The lot measures a little more than sixth-tenths of an acre and has 126 feet of ocean frontage with a tunnel to the beach beneath South Ocean Boulevard.

Listing agent Paula Wittmann of Fite Shavell & Associates handled both sides of the sale. She is married to Paul Wittmann, whose Palm Beach company has built or remodeled nearly 100 houses on the island during its 20-year history.

The initial price of $26 million was dropped to $24 million last spring and included the furnishings chosen by interior decorator Jack Fhillips.

Paula Wittmann said she couldn’t discuss specific details about the sale but confirmed that the buyer acquired the furnishings. Her husband and Callahan could not be reached for comment.

The house’s front door faces Banyan Road, while French doors in the living room look out to the sea. The lot’s unusually high elevation gives several first-floor rooms a view of the Atlantic, a feature not found in some oceanfront homes in Palm Beach.

Michael Perry of MP Design & Architecture in Palm Beach designed the house around an interior courtyard ringed by loggias facing the swimming pool. Notable features inside include a two-story foyer, a fretwork-railed staircase and an arched colonnade that separates the living room from the family room.

“The detailing in this house is unparalleled,” Paul Wittmann said in a story in the Palm Beach Daily News published before the house was finished. “If you take a moment to study the cornice work, the moldings, the pediments and the pilasters, for example, I think you won’t (often) see that type of work in Palm Beach.”

The house was sold by Dogwood Land Co. LLC, a limited liability company for which Peter Callahan serves as a manager, according to state business records. The company bought the property as a vacant lot for $11.75 million in September 2008 from 700 South Ocean LLC, county records show. A four-bedroom house built there in 1976 had been razed by a former owner, Palm Beacher James E. Mattei’s United Properties Group.

Callahan was once the majority shareholder of the National Enquirer and Star magazine, and is semi-retired from a career in the communications and publishing industry. He also is a horse breeder active on the thoroughbred-racing circuit.

Linda Farley, who has worked with Callahan for years, signed the deed as a manager of Dogwood Land Co. LLC. The document lists the entity’s address as 700 S. Ocean Blvd., the former address of the property today known as 102 Banyan Road.

This is not the first collaboration between Callahan and Paul Wittmann. In 2008, Callahan developed and sold a Wittmann-built 7,390-square-foot Mediterranean-style home at 1075 N. Ocean Blvd. In 2011, that property sold to a trust associated with Discount Tire mogul Bruce Halle, who last year bought another oceanfront house in Palm Beach. Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates confirmed that he currently is offering No. 1075 in an off-the-market sale.

The Banyan Road sale is the largest in Palm Beach since several oceanfront properties changed hands privately in late December on Blossom Way for more than $35 million each. Moens orchestrated those deals, along with a $14.3 million sale of another house on the same street. The entities that bought the properties are linked to billionaire hedge-fund manager Kenneth Griffin of Citadel Investments Group.

In November, Raymond Floyd’s lakefront house at 324 Plantation Road sold for $21.12 million, represented by Moens’ firm with Christian Angle Real Estate acting for the buyer, an entity linked to Joseph M. and Michelle Jacobs.

Three other Palm Beach properties sold for more than $20 million last year, property records show.

In July, Stanley N. and Gay Hart Gaines sold 1473 N. Ocean Blvd. for a recorded $41.5 million to a trust linked to Halle in a deal put together by Moens.

Also in July, Laurie S. Silvers and Mitchell Rubenstein sold two vacant lots at 1906 and 1902 S. Ocean Boulevard in a single transaction for $23.94 million, with Moens acting for the sellers and Sotheby’s International Realty representing the buyer, a trust.

In May, Ruby and Andrej “Andrew” Rinker sold 1840 S. Ocean Blvd. for $23.5 million in a private deal to a land trust associated with Natalie Langner.


Source: Darrell Hofheinz, March 6, 2013, Palm Beach Daily News


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