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Plans progress for subdivision of tear-down Trump sold for $95 million

Posted On: 09-25-2016

By Darrell Hofheinz

Daily News Real Estate Writer

The Palm Beach oceanfront mansion once sold by Donald Trump for $95 million has been knocked to the ground, but there’s still an obstacle in the way of selling the three lots to be subdivided from the estate’s 6.26 acres.

That obstacle, of all things, is a hedge. Or, to be more specific, a “restrictive covenant” that required “a previous owner” of 515 N. County Road to maintain a privacy hedge on the estate’s west side, which stretches about 500 feet along the North End street.

On Wednesday, the Architectural Commission is expected to review a request made by the property’s owner — a company associated with Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev — to eliminate the hedge requirement.

According to documents filed with the town, the owner says removing it will “allow the lots to be sold without such encumbrance.”

Rybolovlev bought the estate from Trump in 2008 in a deal that still stands as the island’s biggest-dollar single seller/single buyer transaction. That was long before Trump became the Republican presidential nominee.

Trump had bought the estate, with its 61,744-square-foot main residence, in 2004. Trump paid about $41 million for the house and several outbuildings at an auction ordered as part of the bankruptcy of the late Abe Gosman. Trump then carried out modest renovations before he began marketing the property at $125 million, later dropping the price.

Three lots planned

Rybolovlev and his ex-wife, Elena, never lived in the house. At the time he bought it, Dmitry Rybolovlev said it was an investment property. Rybolovlev never listed the estate for sale in the local multiple listing service.

In mid-August, the Town Council agreed to his plan to subdivide the land into three lots, once the demolition was done. That process is complete and the subdivision is expected to be platted and signed off on, once the lot is sodded and the property inspected, according to John Page, director of the Planning, Zoning and Building Department.

The southernmost lot would be the largest with 2.35 acres and 173 feet of oceanfront. The other two lots would each measure a little less than 2 acres with 150 feet of beachfront.

Real estate broker Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates has confirmed that he is marketing the properties but hasn’t announced a price. Several Palm Beach agents and brokers have speculated the parcels might be priced at as much as $40 million each.

By way of comparison, a new spec house at 6 Ocean Lane on a much smaller parcel just changed hands, furnished, for a recorded $36 million. That house is about a half-mile north of the Rybolovlev property on a lot of about eight-tenths of an acre with 94 feet of oceanfront. The land on Ocean Lane had sold for about $12 million in 2013 when the island was still shaking off the effects of the Great Recession. Property values and real estate prices have steadily risen over the past few years, according to the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s office.

Multi-month process

The demolition of the North County Road estate took several weeks and razed the main house, which Gosman completed in the 1980s, and the outbuildings, including a 1930s-era carriage house.

The land lies a half-mile south of the Palm Beach Country Club and is next door to Montsorrel, the home of billionaire deal-maker Nelson Peltz and his wife, Claudia.

The process toward subdividing the land began several months ago with various requests to the town.

Moens acted on behalf of Trump in the 2008 sale opposite Brown Harris Stevens agent Carol Digges, who represented Rybolovlev.




Source: Darrell Hofheinz, September 25, 2016, Palm Beach Daily News

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