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Merck family gets OK for new home on Seagate

Posted On: 07-29-2015

By Darrell Hofheinz Daily News Staff Writer

Palm Beach finally knows what’s going to be built on a vacant lot kitty-corner from the Sailfish Club at 167 Seagate Road – a new house for the Merck family, of pharmaceutical fame.

And it will bear no resemblance to the design of a contemporary-style, white-stucco-and-limestone home that was proposed by the lot’s previous owner. That project was soundly rejected last year after town officials deemed it out of place in the neighborhood.

Their decision so irked Mads Thomsen, who wanted to build it, that he immediately put the lot on the market. Palm Beacher Adele “Dede” Merck used a trust to buy it in February for $2.6 million — nearly $1 million more than Thomsen paid for it a year before, property records show.

At the corner of North Lake Way, the property measures about a third of an acre. It lies seven streets north of the Mercks’ longtime lakefront estate at 1197 N. Lake Way.

Last week, the Architectural Commission green-lighted plans for the house Dede Merck and her husband, George, want to build there. The couple may downsize at some point to the new two-bedroom house, which also will be used by family members, commissioners learned last week at their meeting.

And the style of the new 5,300-square-foot residence? It has the look of a Jamaican beach house with broken gables at the roofline – “a Caribbean-inspired house, an island home, if you will,” said their architect, Gerard J. Beekman of Gramatan Corp., during the July 22 meeting.

“We studied Jamaican houses and pictures of homes owned by Mrs. Merck’s family,” he said, including Goat Hill in Montego Bay.

At Dede Merck’s request, the new house will have a free-flowing floor plan, a gray slate roof, easy-to-maintain exterior materials and simple detailing. Nievera Williams Design created the landscaping plan.

“It’s a beautiful house,” ARCOM Chairman Bob Vila told Beekman. Vila’s colleagues agreed, giving the design their unanimous approval.

Merck’s trust, by the way, was represented in the purchase earlier this year by agents Sylvia James and Patricia McInerney of Fite Shavell & Associates. Acting on behalf of the seller was agent Paula Mikus, who was then affiliated with Brown Harris Stevens but has since moved to the Corcoran Group.

The Mercks’ lakefront estate, by the way, isn’t listed for sale in MLS. Stay tuned for any updates.


Source: Darrell Hofheinz, July 29, 2015, Palm Beach Daily News

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