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Maddocks sell last lot carved from historic Palm Beach estate

Posted On: 06-19-2016

By Darrell Hofheinz

Daily News Real Estate Writer

They may not be making any more land on Palm Beach, but they occasionally make more of it available to buyers.

And so it was that the last unsold lot in Landmark Estates — a lakefront subdivision carved in 2007 from a 5-acre remnant of the pioneer Maddock family’s 1890s ocean-to-lake homestead — changed hands last week.

The deed for the $5.35 million sale was recorded this month by the Palm Beach County Clerk’s Office.

> Photos: Maddocks sell last lot carved from historic Palm Beach estate

The off-market transaction included a vacant lot at 303 Maddock Way and a smaller adjacent parcel with a swimming pool. Combined, the properties measure about six-tenths of an acre in the neighborhood about a mile north of Royal Poinciana Way.

The swimming pool parcel was formerly part of Duck’s Nest, a landmarked house erected by pre-Flagler Era pioneer Henry Maddock in 1891 on the lake. Today, the house’s address is 305 Maddock Way.

Agent Judge Moss of Sotheby’s International Realty confirmed he represented the seller, Palamad LLC, a Florida limited-liability company controlled by developer Paul L. “Jay” Maddock Jr. and his family. Maddock is the great-grandson of Henry Maddock, whose family tree also includes Henry’s son, developer Sidney Maddock. The latter is best known to historians for building the 1902 lakefront Palm Beach Hotel, which burned down in 1925; he replaced it with the 1926 hotel that is today The Biltmore Palm Beach.

In this month’s sale, Corcoran Group agent Suzanne Frisbie acted on behalf of the buyer, Outside Chance LLC, another Florida limited liability company. Frisbie said she couldn’t discuss the transaction or her client. But she did confirm that Outside Chance LLC is not related to her family, which has developed a number of houses on speculation in Palm Beach. No other information was immediately available about the buyer.

Sparked by tax bills

Nine years ago, the Maddock family, led by Jay Maddock, created the cul-de-sac neighborhood by subdividing the land it owned between the lake and North Lake Way. Maddock had already platted, in 1989, the Palama Estates neighborhood on La Costa Way, immediately east of Landmark Estates. The Maddock family suddivided five lots there and sold an expansive parcel east of them to billionaire Nelson Peltz, which became part of his estate straddling North Ocean Boulevard.

Before the Town Council approved the site plan for Landmark Estates in 2007, Jay Maddock explained his family’s reasons for subdividing. “Escalating property taxes and estate taxes force us to develop (the land). It’s a bittersweet exercise, but something we have to do,” he told the council at the time, noting that five generations of Maddocks had lived on the land.

Today, that number has increased to six.

Immediately east of Duck’s Nest, the property that just changed hands is landlocked, but the Maddock family still has a sizable presence on the lake. Duck’s Nest, which was brought to Palm Beach in pieces by barge and reassembled, is owned through the Maddock-controlled Palamad LLC and has been leased by the family for the last 45 years to a number of tenants. It’s often referred to as the oldest house on the island, although Sea Gull Cottage near Royal Poinciana Chapel was built from scratch here in 1886.

The house next door at 306 Maddock Way is another landmarked family property, converted from a deconsecrated church built in 1894. Known as Old Bethesda-by-the-Sea, it was the second home of the Episcopal congregation that today worships on Barton Avenue. The former church-cum-house is today owned by Jay Maddock’s niece, New York City interior designer Celerie Kemble, who grew up there, and her husband, Ravenel Boykin Curry IV. Kemble’s mother, interior designer Mimi Maddock McMakin, has lived there for years with her investment-manager husband, Leigh. Kemble and her husband took ownership of the house last year via an internal deed transfer recorded at $7 million.

Another Maddock house, Tree Tops, once stood south of the church, but it had been razed before the six-lot subdivision was created.

One new house so far

Since Landmark Estates was platted, only one house has been built there. That 9,000-square-foot, West Indies-style residence was developed by Malasky Homes at 301 Maddock Way on the corner of North Lake Way and is home to Richard and Barbara Floersheimer Rothschild. A trust in her name paid a recorded $11.6 million for it last November. In that deal, Corcoran Group agents Paulette Koch and Dana Koch represented the Rothschilds opposite listing broker Christian Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate. The developer had paid $3.1 million for the lot in 2013.

The other property in the subdivision is vacant, totaling nearly 2 acres and stretching from the lake to North Lake Way on the south side of the cul-de-sac. It’s owned by entities associated with JFI, a New York City-based family investment management company controlled by billionaire Mitchell Jacobson and his sister, Marjorie Gershwind Fiverson. That land last changed hands for about $24.2 million in 2013, with broker Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates acting for the JFI-linked companies and agent Jim McCann of the Corcoran Group handling the sellers’ side of one of the lots.

The latter lot, at 302 Maddock Way, was the first lot to change hands in the subdivision, for $6.9 million in 2010, and the buyers, Jeffrey and Frances Fisher, sold it three years later after buying a landmarked house across town.

Preserving ‘the charm’

At the time the subdivision was approved, Jay Maddock said his family could have platted more lots but chose not to do so to “preserve the charm” of the historic properties, with its specimen trees.

Although the two landmarked homes no longer preside over their own 5 acres, Maddock told the Town Council in 2007 that he was pleased their eastern facades could now be viewed from the street by passersby.

Utility work in the subdivision didn’t begin until the summer of 2008. That November — barely a month before the Great Recession slammed the brakes on real estate sales in Palm Beach — Maddock told the Daily News that the three-year process leading to the creation of Landmark Estates had not been easy.

“I’ve done 14 other plats, nearly 500 lots, and this was the most complicated, time-consuming, exasperating project I’ve done,” he said. “But it’s also a labor of love. I want to get it right. I want to have it look right.”

With all of the vacant lots now sold except for the landmarked properties, Maddock is happy that his extended family has retained a tangible connection to land settled by his great-grandfather 125 years ago.

“What makes me happiest is that Duck’s Nest and the old church continue to remain in the Maddock family. It’s very sentimental,” he said Friday. “And hopefully, it’s something that will continue for generations to come.”




Source: Darrell Hofheinz, June 19, 2016, Palm Beach Daily News

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