And the winning bid goes to VM South Beach LLC, winners of the auction for the seaside Miami property made famous by the murder of former-owner Gianni Versace.
“The auction of this iconic South Florida villa closed at 41.5 million dollars, which was the last price offered by VM South Beach LLC. We think is a very good deal and we are happy with it,” Lamar Fisher, president of Fisher Auction Company, reported.
The 23,000-square-foot Mediterranean-style villa, called Casa Casuarina, was auctioned fully furnished. It houses 10 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms and a 24-karat gold-lined swimming pool. Versace bought the property and a hotel next door in 1992. Both were in disrepair and he spent $33 million on renovations. The Versace family sold the property in 2000 to telecomm entrepreneur Peter Loftin for $19 million after Gianni Versace’s murder.
Loftin has been trying to sell the mansion for over a year, starting at $125 million, reducing to $75 million before the auction, called because lenders foreclosed on Loftin. The auction started bids at $25 million ending in just 20 minutes with a final bid from Joe Nakash, investor with VM South Beach and chairman of Jordache (jeans) Enterprises (pictured here).
Though Nakash promises to leave the property, “as it is,” plans are to develop the mansion into a hotel. Nakash and fellow investor, Eli Gindi, own the neighboring Victor Hotel. The two properties will be combined and the group plans to ask the Versace family for permission to name it in the designer’s honor.
The two other bidders were Eric Trump, on behalf of father Donald Trump, and Glenn Straub, owner of the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club. If you are thinking you should have joined in the bidding, requirements to participate were a $3 million deposit placed in escrow and at least $40 million available in liquid assets.
Versace, famed Italian fashion designer, was murdered just outside of the villa in 1997. The killer, Andrew Cunanan, committed suicide days after Versace’s death, which became part of a three-month killing spree.