Former Versace mansion auctioned off for $41.5 million
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- In a matter of minutes, the former Versace mansion was sold to the highest bidder, Tuesday morning.
The Trump family was one of three potential bidders, but when the luxury property hit the auction block, a neighbor walked away with the deed.
VM South Beach LLC, the owners of the Victor Hotel on South Beach, paid $41.5 million for the 19,000-square foot house that has 10 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. "This is the most fantastic villa. If you were inside, you would understand how valuable it is," said Joe Nakash of the Nakash family who are the founders of Jordache Enterprises and the Victor Hotel. "It's a great property, and we bought it cheap."
Fashion designer Gianni Versace bought the house back in the 90s and spent more then $30 million in renovations.
Versace was shot to death in 1997 on the front steps of his mansion. Since then it has been a tourist attraction where many stop to admire the home and take pictures.
According to an Associated Press report, bidding began at $25.5 million and rose in $500,000 increments under a tent next to the mansion's 54-foot-long swimming pool, Fisher said.
"VM South Beach outbid Donald Trump, whose other South Florida real estate holdings include the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach and Trump National Doral," the AP reported. "Trump's son Eric left the mansion without speaking to reporters."
According to the AP, "the mansion has been officially named Casa Casuarina for more than a decade, operating first as a private club and then as a boutique hotel until earlier this year. But locals still refer to it as 'the Versace mansion.' It was initially listed for sale at $125 million last year. The asking price dropped to $75 million by June, and Nakash said he had been prepared to offer that much for the property."
The listing agents said Nakash is paying for more than just the house. "It has so much history," Jill Eber said. "Versace lived here, but not only did he live here but he invited every major politician, celebrity, and you're walking into and you're buying, what I call, the real estate's Mona Lisa."
"It's an iconic piece, so we have no idea what it's really worth. You have to open it to the market," Jill Hertzberg said.
The Nakash family celebrated by jumping into their new pool. As for the brokers, they celebrated by toasting with champagne.
Nakash, who also owns the adjacent Hotel Victor, already has big plans for his new property. "We're going to create a hotel that will be consolidated with the Victor," Nakash said. "We're going to use the name Versace, after we receive OK from the family to use it."
With the seller in bankruptcy, the first OK must come from the Federal Court. "The result from today's auction satisfied most of the debt, if not all of it," Adam Marshall, the seller's attorney said. "Obviously, we have some calculations to do. The mortgage amount was approximately $34 million, so the difference between 34 and 41-and-a-half is a very decent return for creditors."
The courts expected to approve the sale Wednesday.
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