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Everglades Island lot fetches $8.95 million

Posted On: 06-01-2014

By Darrell Hofheinz Daily News Staff Writer

 A Florida company linked to longtime Palm Beacher James Held has sold a vacant lot at 657 Island Drive for a recorded $8.95 million — nearly $4 million more than its purchase price two years ago.

On the other side of the deal, a limited liability company registered in Delaware — 657 Island LLC — bought the lot from 241 Jungle Road LLC, according to the deed recorded Thursday by the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office.

The buyer’s address on the deed is that of a private investment company in King of Prussia, Pa., named Wind River Holdings L.P., headed by CEO Russell C. Ball. The company specializes in investing in businesses. Ball could not be reached for comment.

The property measures half an acre and has 135 feet of lake frontage on the west side of Everglades Island, several houses south of the island’s bridge to Palm Beach. The property has more waterfront than the majority of properties on Everglades Island, boosting its value.

Agents Jack Elkins and Bunny Hiatt of Fite Shavell & Associates had listed the property for sale at $9.64 million in late March, a couple of weeks after a trust associated with Held bought another vacant parcel.

Agent Liza Pulitzer of Brown Harris Stevens was on the buyer’s side of the negotiating table for the property on Island Drive.

Although the lot remains vacant, the town granted a variance in 2012 to allow a new two-story house to be built on it.

The buyer’s intentions for the property are unclear. None of the agents involved would provide specifics about the deal or discuss the identities of anyone involved in it. Held also could not be reached for comment, nor could Architectural Commission member Kenn Karakul. Karakul and Held have resided in a number of Palm Beach homes they built or renovated together during their nearly 30 years in Palm Beach.

The lot was last sold for a recorded $5 million in March 2012 by a limited liability company associated with businessman James Mattei, who had razed a house there and owns a custom home that he and his wife, Sharon, built across the street. The sale two years ago was handled by agent Mary Boykin of Sotheby’s International Realty, Sharon Mattei’s mother, who also declined to comment.

Thursday’s sale comes on the heels of another Everglades Island property sold in May by Elkins and Hiatt — 619 Island Drive, which Ray and Kim Celedinas bought from the estate of the late Lucille P. Balcom for a recorded $6.55 million.

“Everglades Island is definitely a hot spot,” Elkins said, citing its in-town location and its privacy.

In February, a trust sold El Castillo, for a recorded $19.8 million. That was Held and Karakul’s landmarked house at 4 El Bravo Way. The buyer was a limited liability company linked to Palm Beacher Henry Kravis. Elkins and Hiatt also were on the seller’s side of that deal, with agent Cristina Condon of Sotheby’s International Realty acting for the buyer.

A month later, the 241 Jungle Road Trust bought a vacant lot at 241 Jungle Road in the Estate Section for a recorded $7.92 million. The same trust is identified in property records as a former owner of the Island Drive lot that just sold; ownership transferred in March from that trust to the limited liability company listed as the seller on the deed for 657 Island Drive. Roy J. Zuckergerg sold the Jungle Road lot through a limited liability company in the private deal put together by broker Lawrence A. Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates. Moens could not be reached for comment.

The Island Drive deed identifies the address of the selling entity as in care of Hugh E. Pollard, an executive with the Chicago office of National Safe Harbor Exchanges. The company handles transfers of property through a tax-deferred exchange program, according to its website.

A former president and CEO of the Home Shopping Network, Held today is president of JPBK Holdings Inc., a Palm Beach-based private investment and real estate holding company. Karakul, who also has a retail background, is the company’s vice president.

Everglades Island is less than a mile long; its northern tip faces the Worth Avenue lagoon and the Everglades Golf Course.


Source: Darrell Hofheinz, June 1, 2014, Palm Beach Daily News

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