Monday, October 19, 2009

Palm Beach Mansions - Sidney Kimmel Mansion sells to John Thornton

In another sign of just how hot the Florida mansion market has remained, the oceanfront estate built by billionaire businessman and philanthropist Sidney Kimmel has sold for $81.5 million, a record for the island.

John L. Thornton, 54, a former Goldman Sachs partner and chairman of the Brookings Institution, is the buyer, people familiar with the transaction said.

While the sale price was officially recorded in late 2008 at $77.5 million, listing agent Paulette Koch said the buyer also paid $4 million in closing costs. That means Kimmel got his full asking price of $81.5 million.

The deal underscores both the strength of the mansion market and the desirability of Kimmel's home at 1236 S. Ocean Blvd.

"The house was in impeccable condition, with the finest details," said Koch, adding that three other buyers were interested in the property.

The estate boasts 5 lushly landscaped acres and 300 feet of ocean frontage. The 32,000-square-foot home was designed by Thierry Despont, who also created Bill Gates' mansion.

The living room includes 26-foot ceilings and 20-foot-high glass panels that disappear into the floor at the push of a button.

The home also features a wine cellar, pool, waterfalls, staff quarters and an air chiller and 27-zone air conditioning system.

The sale tops the previous Palm Beach record of $70 million, which Ron Perelman's estate fetched in 2004.

Palm Beach Realtor John Pinson said he wasn't surprised that Kimmel's house sold so quickly and for full price.

"There are only so many outstanding, exceptional properties, and this is one of them," Pinson said. "It's a very nice, isolated location, and the beach is very pretty."

For many, the home's property tax bill alone would prove daunting - $517,775 last year.

While the overall housing market in Palm Beach County has struggled since late 2005, the mansion market in the town of Palm Beach is booming.

County home prices dipped 4 percent from 2006 to 2007, according to the Florida Association of Realtors, but Palm Beach prices jumped 13 percent during that period, according to a study by Palm Beach attorney Les Evans.

"There are buyers out there with plenty of money that they can afford to spend," Pinson said. "When you get into this very elite level, certain people are unaffected by economic changes because they're blessed with a lot of wealth."

Kimmel is founder and chairman of Jones Apparel Group and producer of films including The Kite Runner.

Thornton could not be reached for comment. In addition to his role with Brookings, an independent research and policy institute based in Washington, he is a director of Intel Corp., Ford Motor Co. and News Corp. He's also a professor of global leadership at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

It's not the first time Thornton has proved bullish on real estate.

In 2001, he set a record for New Jersey home sales by paying $18 million for a 118-acre estate in Bedminster that Princeton University had been using as a retreat, The New York Times reported.

Description from Listing Brokers Site for this huge house in Florida Reads - World Class Oceanfront: Designed by internationally renowned architect, Thierry W. Despont on approximately 5 private acres (301' frontage), this extraordinary residence is truly a "work of art". The essence of this masterpiece is the unsurpassed direct oceanfront setting, tropical gardens, fountains and reflecting pools perfect for monumental art, and the rich mahogany and pale French limestone pervasive throughout. This unparalleled architectural vision has floor to ceiling walls of glass designed to capture light and sweeping ocean vistas with over 32,000 square feet of unmatched quality and detail beyond compare.

No comments:

Post a Comment