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Vecellios sell Via Del Mar Estate Section home for $9.64 million

Posted On: 12-31-2010

By Darrell Hofheinz

Updated: 6:38 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010

Posted: 5:19 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010

As they pursue the lawsuit they filed over the construction of their newer Palm Beach mansion, Leo A. Vecellio Jr. and wife, Kathryn, have sold their former lakefront home at 210 Via Del Mar for about $9.64 million, according to a deed recorded Tuesday by the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office.

The couple sold their Estate Section home — designed in the English Tudor style by society architect Maurice Fatio and built in 1925 — to local attorney Theodore T. Tarone Jr., identified on the Dec. 23 deed as trustee of “the Atrium Revocable Trust under trust agreement dated December 27, 2010.”

Real estate agents Paulette Koch and her son, Dana, of The Corcoran Group’s Palm Beach brokerage, who represented the Vecellios in the transaction, had listed the house at $11.5 million. The Vecellios bought the house for about $8.3 million in September 2002, county tax records show.

Corcoran had the listing a little more than a year, Koch said. Prior to that, the home was represented by Brown Harris Stevens.

Agent K.C. Pickett of Barrett Welles Property Group acted on behalf of the buyer, a couple with school-age children who own a second home in the Northeast, said John Pickett, the agent’s husband and president of the three-month-old real estate agency on Royal Palm Way. He did not identify the buyers by name but said they have leased vacation residences in Palm Beach. The Via Del Mar property is their first home purchase here, he added.

With 11,094 square feet of living space inside and out, the seven-bedroom house has 163 feet of frontage on the Intracoastal Waterway. Among its amenities are a vaulted-and-beamed-ceilinged living room with a fireplace, a dining room with a coffered ceiling, and a loggia with French doors and a bar. The property also has a private dock and a two-bedroom staff apartment.

Paulette Koch said Wednesday that the deal came together rapidly and was solidified within two weeks. The quick time frame, she said, may reflect the evolving Palm Beach real estate market, where the inventory of high-quality waterfront properties remains tight. Buyers may be realizing that the market for those properties is becoming more competitive as the season progresses and the economy continues to improve, Koch said.

“We had very serious interest over the past few weeks,” she said. “It sometimes happens that a property all of a sudden becomes first and foremost in peoples’ minds.”

John Pickett said the house immediately appealed to the buyers.

“They loved the home, and they were motivated to buy it,” Pickett said. “It was a fair price and the right price. It just goes to show you that if you price a home fairly, then there are buyers out there.”

The Vecellios vacated the Via Del Mar house after they bought an oceanfront mansion, built as a “spec” home without a buyer, at 589 N. County Road, in January 2008. That house had been developed and built by Dan E. Swanson of Addison Development Corp. with Dean and Laura DeSantis.

The North County Road property was originally listed at $47 million by D.L.K.K. LLC, which listed Dean DeSantis as president, although it’s unclear from property records exactly how much the Vecellios paid for the Mediterranean-style villa. Court documents show that United Bank in January 2008 extended a $42.5 million mortgage on the property. Along with its ancillary buildings, the house offers 25,041 square feet of living space inside and out, property records show.

Last December, the Vecellios filed a lawsuit against the seller, builder and various contractors, alleging the parties knew about defects in the house prior to its sale.

The Vecellios moved out of the house in August 2008 and embarked on more than $11 million worth of renovations, Leo Vecellio said Wednesday from his vacation home in Colorado.

The Vecellios allege that the repairs were necessary to stop water intrusion that resulted in extensive mold growth, as well as addressing problems with the plumbing and electrical systems, the roof and other items related to the home’s construction, said Daniel Thomas, the attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Vecellios.

The Vecellios began moving back into the home in September, and the final inspection of the last of the repairs was scheduled to be done this week, Vecellio said.

Over the past several months, Thomas said, other vendors, contractors and subcontractors have been added to the lawsuit, which is in the deposition stage.

Vecellio said he hopes to go to mediation to resolve the lawsuit by February. But he said a trial is also a possibility if a settlement can’t be reached.

“We did not go into this process to not exact justice from all parties involved,” Vecellio said.

Attorneys for Addison Construction, Addison Development, Swanson and the DeSantises were out of the office Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.

The Vecellio family heads The Vecellio Group Inc., a conglomerate that includes Ranger Construction Co.

Sourse: Darrell Hofheinz, December 29, 2010, Palm Beach Daily News 


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