Gianni Versace's ornate mansion on Ocean Drive is attracting "serious interest," despite legal complications and a $100 million price tag, the listing agent says.
Current owner Peter Loftin, who is often referred to as a "telecom mogul," has received "several offers" for Casa Casuarina, where the famed designer lived, partied and died,said Jill Eber, the agent for the property, half of the Miami realtors-to-the-stars team know as "The Jills."
"We have serious interest from international as well as U.S. buyers," Ms. Eber said.
Of course, that doesn't mean the offers are anywhere near $100 million or a sale is imminent. Mr. Loftin is currently locked in a complicated legal struggle with the Nakash family of New York, who are attempting to foreclose on the debt on the estate. The $100 million price tag on the estate is "outrageously inflated," a spokesman for the Nakash family told the New York Times.
Ms. Eber would not comment on the legal issues, except to say "when we sell the property everything will be fine."
The mansion was originally built in 1930 by Alden Freeman, heir to a chunk of the Standard Oil fortune. Today the mansion reflects Mr. Versace's unique tastes, including the 54-foot mosaic-tiled pool lined with 24-karat gold, ornate sculptures and tapestries, the obligatory marble toilet with gold seat and Mr. Versace's gold Medusa head logo liberally sprinkled throughout the house.
Mr. Loftin, who bought the property in 2000 for $19 million, originally put the house on the market for $125 million in June, which was apparently considered a tad steep, even for Versace standards. He lowered the price to $100 million in November.
Determining whether the $100 million is "outrageously inflated" is difficult in the ultra-luxury home business. Donald Trump originally priced his Palm Beach estate at $125 million, but reconsidered and settled on $100 million in 2008, the price offered by a Russian billionaire. The widow of TV producer Aaron Spelling originally asked for $150 million for her Los Angeles mansion, but eventually sold for closer to $85 million, to Petra Ecclestone, daughter of F1 czar Bernie Ecclestone.
As anyone involved in the luxury game knows, there not many comps in the rarified air of these properties. Value is set by buyer limits, which are often fluid targets in this era of globe-trotting billionaires.
Casa Casuarina might be developed as an exclusive inn or retreat, giving it extra value. After Mr. Versace was gunned down in front of the gate of the estate in 1997, it has gone through several incarnations, including use as a private club and a hotel. A few years ago, it was opened to the public for tours.
Prospective buyers are "looking for different kinds of uses," Ms. Eber said. "Everybody has something different."
Ms. Eber declined to discuss any details of the property or its value, but said the market is "very strong."
"Miami is hot," Ms. Eber said. "This [property] is one-of-a-kind, it's iconic."