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Landmarked Bardes home fetches $12 million

Posted On: 12-11-2014

By Darrell Hofheinz Daily News Real Estate Writer

Longtime Palm Beacher Merrilyn Bardes’ home at 196 Banyan Road, among the first houses ever to earn landmark protection from the town, has changed hands in a $12 million sale recorded Monday.

Financier Robert Frank Agostinelli bought the 1929 house in the Estate Section, according to the deed, which was dated Dec. 4 and signed by Bardes on behalf of the trust that owned the property.

Designed by noted society architects Gustav Maass and John Volk for owner Harry Thomas, the Mediterranean-style house — known as “La Loma” — stands at the southeast corner of South County Road on a lot measuring nearly an acre. With many of its original architectural details intact, the L-shaped house has three stories, seven bedrooms and 13,077 square feet of living space, inside and out.

“I thought the house was magical when I bought it (in 1997), and I still think it’s magical,” Bardes told the Daily News earlier this year in an article about the property.

The town granted the house landmark protection in July 1979, shortly after adopting its landmarking ordinance.

Agents Cristina Condon and Todd F. Peter of Sotheby’s International Realty had co-listed the house at $14.5 million in February. Condon also represented Bardes when she downsized in September 2013, paying a recorded $7.45 million for a 6,000-square-foot house at 126 Casa Bendita.

In this month’s sale, Broker Christian J. Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate represented the buyer.

Agostinelli co-founded the global private-equity firm Rhône Group, which manages about $8.5 billion from offices in New York City and London, according to Forbes.com. Agostinelli is from Rochester, N.Y. He has owned an apartment in downtown West Palm Beach since 2006, according to property records, and his Forbes biography lists other homes in New York, London and Paris.

Agostinelli and Bardes could not be reached. Citing a confidentiality agreement, Angle declined to provide details about the deal but did say his client “is looking to enjoy the home for years to come.

”An avid gardener, Bardes created elaborate terraced gardens at the rear of her property, where she has hosted a number of fundraisers, including benefits for Mounts Botanical Garden. The gardens also have been honored with inclusion in the Garden Club of America’s archives at The Smithsonian Institution.

Bardes is from a Cincinnati industrial family headed by her late father, Oliver Louis Bardes, who spent time in Palm Beach. Her late mother, Olivia Bardes Kiebach, and stepfather, the late Walter S. Kiebach, also had a home on the island. Merrilyn Bardes’ ex-husband is Washington, D.C., attorney Thomas Quinn. Their children include local restaurateur Piper Quinn.

Among its features, La Loma has cinquefoil arched windows fitted with leaded glass; cast-stone decorations; and a double staircase with a wrought-iron railing and decorative tile risers. The living room is detailed with a stately fireplace, Cuban-tile floors and a coffered ceiling patterned after one in a Spanish palace in Salamanca.

“I think it’s one of the prettiest living rooms in Palm Beach. It’s just a magnificent property,” said Condon, who also declined to provide specifics about the sale.

In the Daily News article, Bardes said she did not carry out major interior renovations, although she did combine a breakfast room and bar into a single family room.

A report written as part of the town’s landmarking process said the house was especially notable because of the year it was built: “It was constructed after the hurricanes of 1926 and 1928, and just as the financial collapse of 1929 began. It represents one of the last ornate and expensive estates to be built in Palm Beach.

”The property was once owned by the late Therese and H. Loy Anderson Sr. Two other families owned it before Bardes bought it for a recorded $3.9 million, property records show.

Bardes bought her North End house on Casa Bendita from a Delaware company linked to Palm Beachers Barbara and Randall Smith. Sotheby’s agent Tina Roberts represented the seller of the four-bedroom house.

 

Source: Darrell Hofheinz, December 11, 2014, Palm Beach Daily News

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