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House gets nod for Everglades Island property

Posted On: 04-12-2015

By Darrell Hofheinz

Daily News Staff Writer

Once-sleepy Everglades Island has seen its share of real estate sales and new construction over the past couple of years. The island is known for its in-town location, abundant wildlife and wide water views.

Among the latest projects is a house that Pennsylvanians Russell C. and Andrea Ball want to build on their vacant lot at 657 Island Drive. At its meeting late last month, the Architectural Commission gave a thumbs-up to plans for the 8,000-square-foot house designed by Jupiter architect Tom Kirchhoff of Kirchhoff & Associates.

The Balls bought the half-acre lot in a deal totaling nearly $9 million last May. The sale made headlines because the price was nearly $4 million more than what the lot fetched just two years prior.

The end of a recession will do that, don’tcha’ know.

The property has 135 feet of lake frontage, more than most properties on Everglades Island – a key reason for the top-dollar price. On the west side of Island Drive, the lot lies several houses south of the bridge to Palm Beach.

Kirchhoff described the two-story house as “Anglo Caribbean” in style and told commissioners at their March 25 meeting that it should fit nicely into the neighborhood. With a white stucco exterior, double-hung windows and dark-blue shutters and garage doors, the design includes a veranda above the front porch. Designer Fernando Wong of Fernando Wong Outdoor Living Design is handling the landscaping.

Agents Jack Elkins and Bunny Hiatt of Fite Shavell & Associates were the listing agents in last year’s sale. Agent Liza Pulitzer of Brown Harris Stevens represented the Balls. Russell Ball heads Wind River Holdings L.P., a private investment company in King of Prussia, Pa.

Using a Delaware limited liability company, the Balls bought the lot from a similar Florida entity controlled by longtime Palm Beacher James Held.

At the end of last month’s review, Architectural Commissioner Kenn Karakul made the motion to approve the architecture but defer the landscaping plan to a future meeting. Karakul likely is familiar with the lot: He and Held are partners and business colleagues.

Karakul could not be reached this week. But a state public-disclosure law wouldn’t necessarily require a commissioner to disclose a previous relationship with a property or recuse him- or herself from voting, explained Town Attorney John “Skip” Randolph. The key is whether the official’s vote would result in “a special private gain or loss to themselves, a family member or a business associate,” Randolph said.

“If that set of facts does not exist, they are not required to recuse themselves and should vote,” he added.

Karakul and Held have resided in a number of homes they built or renovated together during their nearly 30 years in Palm Beach. Their latest project is a new two-story house that just broke ground at 241 Jungle Road in the Estate Section. That property also changed hands last year for just under $8 million in a deal handled by Lawrence A. Moens Associates. Roy J. Zuckerberg was the seller.

Last July, Karakul recused himself from the discussion when ARCOM considered and approved the plans for the Jungle Road house.

 

Source: Darrell Hofheinz, April 12, 2015, Palm Beach Daily News

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