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Midtown house exits the market along with their Manalapan estate. Homes for Sale in Manalapan

Homes for Sale in Manalapan

By Darrell Hofheinz/Daily News Staff Writer

Last week turned out to be a busy one, real estate-wise, for investment consultant Dennis Hammond and his wife, Shelia. They sold not one but two homes within a few days of each other, the first in Manalapan and the second in Midtown.

1920 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan. Sold by Jack Elkins & Bunny Hiatt of Fite Shavell & Associates.

As detailed here April 4, they parted with their ocean-to-lake Manalapan estate at 1920 S. Ocean Blvd. for a recorded $11.84 million. The buyer was a Miami-based limited liability company named South Ocean Living LLC, represented by agents Jack Elkins and Bunny Hiatt of Fite Shavell Associates.

The Palm Beach County Clerk’s office recorded the deed on April 1. Late in the day on April 3, another deed showed up in courthouse records, this one recording the sale a four-bedroom house they had owned for less than a year at 346 Brazilian Ave.

They sold it for a recorded $5.425 million to a revocable trust in the name of longtime Palm Beacher Elizabeth D. Remmert, with Remmert serving as trustee.

Broker Linda Gary of Linda A. Gary Real Estate acted for the Hammonds in both sales. Agent Beverly Broberg of Brown Harris Stevens was on Remmert’s side of the deal.

The Hammonds had bought the two-story home last July for $5 million in a private deal handled on both sides by the Corcoran Group. John Porter and agent Brittnye Parker acted for them, with agent Jim McCann negotiating for the seller, George E. Marucci Jr.

The 4,832-square-foot Mediterranean-style house was built in 2004 by Wittmann Building Corp., replacing a multi-family building that occupied two lots. Gary had it listed at $5.6 million when it sold.

Jack Elkins & Bunny Hiatt of Fite Shavell & Associates

The deal marked Remmert’s second real estate transaction within the year. In May, her trust sold a second-floor condominium it had owned since 2004 in Lowell House at 330 S. Ocean Blvd. Brown Harris Stevens agent Carol Digges represented the trust in that $900,000 sale to James C. Wheat, according to property records. Agent Ashley Copeland, also of BHS, acted on Wheat’s behalf.

Both Remmert and the Hammonds have ties to Missouri and the affluent St. Louis suburb of Ladue, public records show.

The Brazilian Avenue house went under contract within four months of being listed. Its sale — and the one in Manalapan – means the Hammonds no longer own property on the island or nearby in their names.

Of course, another purchase could be brewing undetected, as none of the parties involved in last week’s sales is commenting. Stay tuned for more news – or not.

View entire article on the Palm Beach Daily News website.

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By Darrell Hofheinz/Daily News Real Estate Writer Fite Shavell in the Community

Fite Shavell in the Community

Palm Beach architect Jacqueline Albarran won the 2014 Schuler Award for her design of Karen Egger’s Art Deco-style home. The front door is adjacent to the stair tower, which is crowned by a skylight. Photo by Jeff Langlois.

Karen Egger says she was as surprised as anyone to learn that her Art Deco-style house in the North End was to be honored for excellence in new architecture by the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach.

“It’s beyond my wildest expectations,” she said. “I wanted a home that thrilled me — and I got it. The fact that it thrills other people just makes it that much more exponential for me.”

On Thursday, the foundation awarded Palm Beach architect Jacqueline Albarran of SKA Architect & Planner its Elizabeth L. and John H. Schuler Award for her design of Egger’s three-bedroom house at 216 Colonial Lane.

Albarran, who serves on the Architectural Commission, last won a Schuler Award in 2009 for a much larger estate of nearly 8,500 square feet at 180 Canterbury Lane. Egger’s house, by contrast, has 2,842 square feet of living space, inside and out, making it the smallest home ever to win the award.

But the house more than justifies the honor, said Alexander C. Ives, executive director of the foundation.

Among its distinctions, the house earned “platinum” certification as an environmentally sustainable property under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program, created and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is said to be the first such property on the island to earn a platinum designation — the program’s most rigorous.

The stairway is graced by a custom-designed banister with acrylic spindles. A glass-block window, common in Art Deco buildings, provides privacy while allowing light to enter.

The fact that Egger did not request any zoning variances to build it also won favor with the foundation, Ives said. Variance requests are frequently submitted by owners “claiming they can’t build anything attractive without them,” Ives said. Albarran and Egger, in contrast, “worked within the rules.”

But the key item responsible for earning the Schuler Award was the crisp Art Deco-style architecture Albarran designed, Ives said.

He noted that the home’s architectural style “has its tradition in our town, but perhaps is not as prolific” as Mediterranean Revival or British Colonial. Among the best examples of the Art Deco style in Palm Beach is The Reef — noted society architect Maurice Fatio’s masterpiece — which took the gold medal at the 1937 Paris International Exhibition as “the most modern house in America.”

‘Very stylish’

An attorney, Egger said she had long appreciated the charms of Art Deco architecture. She was raised in New York but also lived for the last 30 years in Europe, most recently in Switzerland.

“It’s simple, it’s clean and it’s whimsical — and yet it’s very stylish,” she said.

The Art Deco style emerged in France after World War I and soon found popularity in the United States, with its emphasis on geometric shapes and stylized, repeated decorative motifs. In South Florida, the style seemed particularly suited to resort life in the 1930s and ’40s: Miami Beach has one of the most extensive collections of Art Deco buildings in the country.

A variety of curved elements, including the master bedroom’s balcony, add visual interest to the façade above the pergola.

Egger’s house employs many of the elements that defined the U.S. version of the style, Albarran said.

“In the United States, we see more of the glass bricks, the rounded corners, the ‘eyebrow’ (shelves) above windows,” Albarran said.

Before she embarked on the house, Egger asked three architects to present ideas for it. Albarran’s submission impressed her “far and above” the others, even though the architect had never before designed a building in the style.

Albarran carried out extensive research, on her own, to interpret Egger’s wishes — and to keep the house proportional to its diminutive lot, which measures less than a fifth of an acre.

“She wanted a little jewel-box,” Albarran said. “The house has a lot of presence in such a little space.”

Egger also wanted a floor plan in which rooms flowed easily from one to the next with a minimum of interior walls — and plenty of windows.

“I tried not to have any hallways, to keep the space as open as possible,” Albarran said. “There’s so much transparency. The inside is not only open, but it’s almost see-through to the outside.”

She used geometrically detailed ceilings to help define the different spaces in the dining and living areas.

Green focus

Egger also wanted an environmentally friendly home, an expectation related to her experiences in Europe, where such building practices are common. She turned to her real estate agent and longtime friend, Victoria Brewer of Fite Shavell & Associates, who had earned the National Association of Realtors’ “Green Designation.”

Brewer then brought in Kyle Abney, a Palm City-based LEED consultant. The project team also included contractor Tim Givens and interior decorator Kari Roundy.

Victoria Brewer of Fite Shavell & Associates

Locally available and recycled materials were used wherever possible, including the terrazzo for the floors and low-emission paint for the walls. The kitchen features green-certified countertops made of special concrete and glass, as well as formaldehyde-free cabinets from Schrapper’s Fine Cabinetry and Design of Jupiter.

Specially prefabricated concrete walls provide maximum insulation. And to boost the reverse air-conditioning system’s efficiency, windows and doors had to be air-tight. The flat roof got solar panels, and a 3,000-gallon cistern beneath the house stores rainwater for irrigation. Landscape designer Fernando Wong even specified water-efficient plants.

Crews also worked to recycle construction waste, a process that helped earn points toward the platinum certification, Albarran said.

She said the environmental focus — plus the out-of-the-box architectural style — energized those involved in building the house, which was finished last fall.

“I had never had an experience where so many people were dedicated to a project,” Albarran said.

Egger echoed that sentiment: “I had a fabulous team. They were all motivated and excited.”

Ives said the results of that collaboration speak for themselves. “In the end, both the carbon footprint and lot-size footprint of the house gave respect to natural and architectural environments.”


The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach’s Elizabeth L. and John H. Schuler Award, established in 2005 by the Schulers, recognizes new architecture that is designed and built “in keeping with the traditional styles of Palm Beach architecture,” according to the foundation’s website.

The award complements the foundation’s Robert I. Ballinger Award, which honors historically sensitive renovations of large estates; the Polly Earl Award, which honors similar renovations of small-scale properties; and the Lesly S. Smith Landscape Award, which honors notable landscape projects.


216 Colonial Lane

Homeowner: Karen Egger

Architect and project manager: Jacqueline Albarran, SKA Architect & Planner

General contractor: Tim Givens, Tim Givens Building & Remodeling

Structural engineer: Robert D. Botkin, P.E.

Civil engineer: Tom McCarthy, Clark and McCarthy Engineers

Landscape architect: Fernando Wong, Fernando Wong Outdoor Living Design

Interior design: Kari Roundy, Atmospheres

LEED consultant: Kyle M. Abney, Abney & Abney Green Solutions

View entire article on the Palm Beach Daily News website.

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SPECIAL TO FLORIDA WEEKLY Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

This beautifully updated four bedroom, 4.5-bathroom home is located at 232 West Indies Drive, Palm Beach, on a large, 14,453 square foot lot on the North End of the island — the southern section closest to town.

It features high ceilings, a spacious floor plan and an expansive yet secluded outdoor loggia, pool and spa. All four bedrooms have full baths en-suite. A separate guest house/cabana has a bedroom and full bath with steam room. Impeccable attention to detail is evident throughout. It offers a full-house generator, a custom security system, a solar and gas-heated saltwater pool, Kaleidescape entertainment system, and a smart A/C system.

Samantha Curry of Fite Shavell & Associates

The gourmet kitchen boasts top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, a spacious island, doubleoven and custom cabinetry. French doors with high-impact glass line the entire south side of this residence, providing views of the stunning pool area and creating the perfect atmosphere to entertain and relax.

Fite Shavell & Associates lists the home at $4,750,000. The agent is Samantha Curry,

View entire article on the Florida Weekly website.

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By Darrell Hofheinz/Daily News Staff Writer Homes for Sale in Manalapan

Homes for Sale in Manalapan

1920 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan. Sold by Jack Elkins & Bunny Hiatt of Fite Shavell & Associates. Photo courtesy Robert Stevens.

Having bought a home in Palm Beach last summer, Sheila and Dennis Hammond this week sold their ocean-to-lake Manalapan estate at 1920 S. Ocean Blvd. for a recorded $11.84 million.

A limited liability company with a Miami mailing address bought the 2004 Mediterranean-style house, according to the deed recorded Tuesday. Broker Linda Gary of Linda A. Gary Real Estate had listed the seven-bedroom house at $13.5 million in January, and it went under contract a little more than three months later, according to the local MLS. The property had been on the market for a little more than a year before Gary acquired the listing, MLS records show.

The Hammonds had paid $10 million for the house and its 1.88 acres in July 2011. At that time, they were represented by agent John Porter, then of Linda A. Gary Real Estate and today with the Corcoran Group. On the other side of the negotiating table was agent Diana Reed, who is today with Corcoran but at the time worked for Illustrated Properties.

Originally constructed by builder Robert Fessler for his own use, the house has 13,216 square feet of living space, inside and out. With 150 feet of waterfront on its east and west sides, the property lies about 2 miles south of the Ocean Avenue bridge.

Jack Elkins & Bunny Hiatt of Fite Shavell & Associates

Mother-and-son agents Bunny Hiatt and Jack Elkins of Fite & Shavell Associates acted on behalf of South Ocean Living LLC, the Florida entity that bought the house. The deed lists its mailing address as in care of Cantor & Webb, a Miami law firm that provides services to high-net-worth clients, according to its website.

A public records search offered no additional information about anyone linked to the buyer.

The property has a two-bedroom guesthouse, a 40-foot pool, a full-house generator, a four-car garage and a deep-water dock among its amenities, according to Gary’s listing.

Last July, the Hammonds downsized, buying a two-story home at 346 Brazilian Ave. for $5 million in a private deal handled on both sides by Corcoran. Porter and agent Brittnye Parker acted for the Hammonds, and agent Jim McCann repped the seller, George E. Marucci Jr.

Dennis Hammond founded Hammond Associates, a private investment-consulting firm in St. Louis that was acquired in 2010 by Mercer.

View entire article on the Palm Beach Daily News website.

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Victoria Brewer of Fite Shavell & Associates

What does it mean to be a LEED Platinum homeVictoria Brewer is the sole Green Realtor on the Island of Palm Beach and is dedicated to informing others about eco-friendly techniques and practices.  Here she shares information about the construction of the first LEED Platinum home on Palm Beach from an expert on air conditioning.  Meet Jeff Berkun, owner of Berkun Air.  By installing an ERV or Energy Recovering Ventilation System, he saved the owner hundreds of dollars over the course of her first year in the home.

By Jeff Berkun, Owner, Berkun Air

New ultra-efficent home located on Colonial Ave is first home in Palm Beach to earn LEED Platinum Certification. Berkun Air helps push home to earn LEED Platinum Certification

New ultra-efficent home located on Colonial Ave is first home in Palm Beach to earn LEED Platinum Certification.

Since 2004, a small lot of land stood vacant on picturesque Colonial Lane on the North End of Palm Beach, Florida.  That was until now.  The lot is now occupied by a uniquely designed home that stands apart from the many spectacular homes in the posh town known for it’s many  mansions.  No, this home is not a mansion.  Far from it in fact.  It is however, creating local buzz for being a trendsetter.

Palm Beach's First LEED Platinum Certified Home - Berkun Air ConsultsThe owner and visionary is an American-born woman who has lived in Switzerland for the past 25 years.  While abroad, she became accustomed to energy efficient buildings as being a way of life – the norm instead of the exception.  When it came time that she wanted to own a home in Palm Beach, she quickly realized that it was nearly impossible to find a home that was both stylish and energy efficient.

With that being the case, the owner consulted with Victoria Brewer, a Palm Beach realtor that is making a mark by focusing on green homes.  With little on the market that met her client’s needs, they turned to Palm Beach architect Jacqueline Albarran of SKA Architect and Planner.  She in turn assembled a team of green experts to advise on how they could best transform vision of an Art Deco residence into an ultra energy efficient resident suitable for South Florida living.

Palm Beach's First LEED Platinum Certified Home - Berkun Air Consults

Key members of the green team included luxury home building Tim Givens of Tim Givens Building and Remodeling, LEED Certifying Agent and Green Advisor Kyle Abney of Abney + Abney Green Solutions, environmental systems provider Jeff Berkun of Berkun Air Conditioning and LEED support provider E3 Building Sciences.  Together, their combined efforts resulted in a green home like few others.

Leed-Platinum-Plaque-Berkun-Air-shawdow-400pixUsing the latest building techniques and equipment designed with today’s highest energy efficiency features; the team’s efforts were put to a demanding energy audit.  When complete, the home underwent a comprehensive energy survey by Kyle Abney.  The results were sent to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for final review.  On Dec. 13, 2013, the USGBC announced that the Colonial Lane residence was documented with 94 points to earn council’s highest rating of LEED Platinum Certification, becoming the first home in Palm Beach to be LEED® Certified.

LEED Certification Levels

Launched in 2008, LEED for Homes Certification is awarded by the USGBC to promote sustainable living and environmental protection.  To be a LEED Certified Home, the home or building must meet all of the LEED Rating System’s prerequisites, and then earn a minimum number of points by achieving optional credits.  The number of points translates to certification levels, which include Certified, Gold, Silver and Platinum.

LEED Point Scoring Requirements Graphic

LEED Certification Point Requirements

While modest in size compared to many of the residences in Palm Beach, the 3-bedroom, 3-bath, just under 3,000 square feet Colonial Lane architect focused on having the residence being very stylish, ultra energy efficient and be built using sustainable building methods.  Pre-cast exterior walls were fabricated locally with local materials.  Fast growing bamboo flooring was considered, but having it shipped from China didn’t make much sense, so recycled materials were used such as terrazzo for the floors and colorful glass for kitchen countertops and lighting fixtures.

“We spend 90% of our time indoors and where we live and work has a significant impact on our health and well-being,” said Nate Kredich, Vice President, Residential Market Development, U.S. Green Building Council.  “By achieving certification, the Colonial Lane residence will be a home that a family will truly love to come home to, because it’s a more healthy, high-performing place to live.”

Reducing Energy Costs During Florida’s Hot Summers

South Florida is known for it’s idyllic warm breezes in the winter, but the rest of the year the weather is hot and humid, which drives up energy demands for air conditioning in homes and buildings here.  To slash energy consumption in this home, pre-fabricated concrete walls were engineered with integrated thermal foam panels.  These walls were not only thinner to provide additional interior space; they guarded against strong hurricane winds and offered an unprecedented high R-20 insulation value.  Hurricane glass windows and doors provided high strength hurricane protection and provided an outstanding thermal barrier.  To cool the home in hot periods, automatic shades adjust to block the suns heat, while opening shades to warm the interior on cooler days.

Air Conditioners are one of the largest consumers of electricity in South Florida homes.  According to Jeff Berkun, “This home was originally outfitted with two of the industry’s most efficient 3-ton air conditioning systems.  Early energy loss calculations found that this home was so well insulated that we could cut energy consumption further by utilizing a single, high efficiency, 5-ton, reverse cycle #TRANE air conditioning system.  By utilizing the systems heat pump on cold nights instead of the traditional electric heating elements, we slashed electrical consumption by nearly 50-amps.”

Few know that nearly half of global energy is used in buildings.  And half of heating / cooling cost is caused by ventilation when it is done by the “open window” method.  With today’s homes becoming thermally tight, proper ventilation is becoming a growing problem, especially in a home trying to cut energy costs, not to mention that odors, smoke and germs linger.  For address this, the home was outfitted with a state-of-the-art Energy Recovering Ventilation system or ERV.   An ERV system provides a home with a constant flow of fresh air but prior to introducing outside air into the home, the unit recovers up to 90% of the energy and humidity of exhausted air and pre-heats / cools the incoming air.  These systems improve indoor air quality and reduce total HVAC equipment requirements.

How an Energy Recovery Ventilation or ERV system works.Diagram of a Energy Recovering Ventilation system during a heating period.  During a cooling period, the principle reversed to recovering cool energy.

A Functional, Efficient Roof

solar-panelsThe flat roof of this Art Deco home served multiple purposes and its what people don’t see that was truly innovative and functional.  It should be expected that this roof would be heavily insulated, but few know that 100% of the roof’s flat surface is used to rainwater, which is then funneled into a 3,000 gallon underground cistern.  Collected rainwater is then used to irrigate Florida friendly landscaping with an intelligent watering system.  Solar panels are mounted out of sight and provides enough electricity provide power for the home’s 100% LED lighting systems.

LEED Certified Homes – A Strong Return on Investment

Palm Beach LEED Platinum Scorecard - AC Consulting by BerkunAirColonial Lane home scores 94 points to earn LEED Platinum Certification, becoming the Palm Beach’s first LEED Certified home.

Although there are higher cost associated with designing and building at LEED certified home, the savings are long lasting and well documented.  A LEED certified home is not only comfortable and practical, they are designed to cut operating cost by as much as 40%.  According to Kyle Abney, the LEED auditor on this project, “This home has a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Index of 50, which is 50% better than the national average or 41% better than Florida’s energy code.”

The benefits of building green are becoming more and more obvious, especially as energy costs climb.  According to McGraw-Hill Construction’s 2009 Green Outlook: “Trends Driving Change”, tangible economic benefits to green (LEED and Energy Star) buildings include:

  • Decreased operating costs of 13.6%
  • Increased building values of 10.9%
  • Improvement in ROI of 9.9%
  • Increased occupancy of 6.4%
  • Rises in rent of 15 to 18%.

“Working on this project has been a learning experience,” says Jeff Berkun.  “The more I learn about building green, the more I’m becoming an advocate, not just because its the right thing to do, but there is becoming a strong financial return to build green too.”

For more information on #Green, Eco-Friendly Air Conditioning Systems, please contact Berkun Air.

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Jeff Berkun - Owner of Berkun Air, West Palm Beach

Jeff Berkun – Owner, Berkun Air

Founded in 1992, Jeff Berkun has run his business based on providing customers with outstanding service and expert advise. Berkun Air is one of the few air conditioning companies to be awarded an A+ Rating from the Palm Beach County Consumer Affairs Division.

View entire article on the Berkun Air website

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Developer sells 101 El Bravo Way to Palm Beachers Thomas and Mary Alice O’Malley. Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

By Darrell Hofheinz/Daily News Real Estate Writer

The last of Palm Beach’s most expensive “spec” houses built during the recession has left the market, sold this week by its developer to a Palm Beach couple for a recorded $30 million.

A company controlled by island real estate investor and businessman James A. Patterson this week sold the never-lived-in oceanfront house at 101 El Bravo Way. It has 175 feet of oceanfront, seven bedrooms and more than 21,000 square feet of living space, inside and out.

Oilman Thomas D. O’Malley and his wife, Mary Alice, bought the house, according to the deed recorded Thursday. The couple, who have a home in Greenwich, Conn., last summer paid a recorded $10 million for a landmarked house on Clarke Avenue after selling their Midtown condominium on the ocean.

Built by Dan Swanson of Addison Development Corp., the Mediterranean-style house on El Bravo Way was completed in 2011. It was priced at $37.5 million by listing agent Jim McCann of the Corcoran Group.

Broker Linda Olsson of Linda R. Olsson Inc. Realtor represented the O’Malleys this week, just as she did in their real estate transactions last year.

Biggest deals

The sale on El Bravo Way marked the highest-dollar residential deal in Palm Beach during the past nine months, property records show. The largest sale immediately prior to that was another spec home built by Swanson, at 1220 S. Ocean Blvd., which sold in June for a recorded $42 million.

The amount that changed hands for 101 El Bravo also bests what had been the island’s highest-dollar sale this year, involving another house built on speculation, at 445 Antigua Lane; that transaction recorded at $28.86 million.

Thomas O’Malley is executive chairman of the board of New Jersey-based PBF Energy, and has created and sold a number of oil companies, often through consolidation. In 2010, he bought Ironhorse Country Club in western Palm Beach County, which was then in bankruptcy.

Patterson has a home at 560 S. Ocean Blvd. and ties to Louisville, Ky. In addition to his real estate investments, his business interests including founding a number of national restaurants, including the Long John Silvers fast-food chain and Chi-Chis Mexican Restaurants.

102 Banyan Road, Palm Beach. Listed & Sold by Paula Wittmann of Fite Shavell & Associates

Patterson signed the deed on behalf of 101 El Bravo LLC, an affiliate of his JP Florida Investment Corp.

Patterson — no relation to the bestselling novelist, who also lives in Palm Beach — could not be reached for comment.

The O’Malleys also could not be reached. Their 1927 house at 255 Clarke Ave. was not listed for sale in the local multiple-listing service as of Friday, and it is unclear whether they have plans to sell it. They bought it last August in a private sale in which agent Stephen Ploof of Linda A. Gary Real Estate acted on behalf of sellers Margaret D. and Christopher A. Sinclair.

Like McCann and Olsson, Swanson said he couldn’t comment on specifics of this week’s deal, citing a confidentiality agreement.

Twin loggias

The layout of the house includes twin open-air loggias flanking a rear courtyard facing the pool.

“Our emphasis is always on indoor-outdoor (living), because that’s Florida,” said Swanson, who has developed and built dozens of spec and custom projects in Palm Beach and other areas.

West Palm Beach architect Roger Janssen of Daily Jannsen Architects designed the house for a lot measuring a little less than an acre, about a third of a mile south of Worth Avenue.

The development team raised the elevation of the house to provide better ocean views across South Ocean Boulevard. That decision allowed the addition of a 4,000-square-foot basement, Swanson said.

The elevated living room looks out to the ocean across South Ocean Boulevard. Above it – occupying the majority of the second floor – is a master suite with a sitting room, library and separate dressing areas and bathrooms.

A so-called “flex space” in the basement can be configured for such uses as a gym, a home theater, a wine cellar, a game room or a day room for household staff, Swanson said.

In 2007, Swanson bought a 1993 custom home on the property for a recorded $16.5 million and replaced it with the house he just sold. The demolished house had been on the market for several years. But it didn’t have the sort of layout or outdoor amenities buyers were seeking and that his new house would offer, Swanson said.

Swanson’s request to raze the house, which had been designed by Smith Architectural Group, sparked a minor controversy when members of the Architectural Commission questioned the wisdom of tearing down a fairly new house in good condition.

The house entered the market in late 2007 – a year before the recession began tightening its grip on Palm Beach — at a pre-construction price of $47.5 million, according to records in the local multiple listing service. The price held steady until it was reduced to $37.5 million in January 2012.

Swanson currently has a 30,000-square-foot custom home under way at 1840 S. Ocean Blvd. He said he has another Palm Beach spec house in the planning stages but declined to provide details.

Other spec sales

With this week’s sale, McCann can say he took part in three of the four largest spec deals that occurred since the beginning of March 2013.

McCann represented Swanson last summer when a trust linked to Palm Beachers Charles B. Johnson and his wife, Dr. Ann L. Johnson, bought 1220 S. Ocean Blvd., the lakefront house Swanson not only built but developed. Ploof of Linda A. Gary Real Estate acted on behalf of the trust that bought it. The sale ended a foreclosure action on the property.

Paula Wittmann of Fite Shavell & Associates

And just last month, McCann negotiated for the buyer, Colonial LLC, opposite fellow Corcoran agent Suzanne Frisbie in the sale of the lakefront house that sold in February on Antigua Lane. It was completed last fall and developed by her husband, David, and his two brothers.

For several years, the El Bravo Way house was one of only two major spec mansions marketed for sale in the Estate Section.

The other was an oceanfront property at 102 Banyan Road that sold a little more than a year ago for a recorded $20.23 million. That 11,000-square-foot home was completed in 2010. The Banyan Road Trust bought the house, which was built by Paul Wittmann of Wittmann Building Corp. for investor Peter J. Callahan of Palm Beach Gardens. Wittmann’s wife, agent Paula Wittmann of Fite Shavell & Associates, handled both sides of the sale.

View entire article on the Palm Beach Daily News website

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SPECIAL TO FLORIDA WEEKLY Land for Sale in Palm Beach

Land for Sale in Palm Beach

This property offers an incredible opportunity to purchase 0.64 acres in the Estate section of Palm Beach. Large double lot at 203 Via Vizcaya. A great property to rebuild your dream home. Offers many possibilities.

Fite Shavell & Associates lists the property at $6,670,000. The agent is Martin Conroy, 561-523-6148,

View entire article on the Florida Weekly website

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SPECIAL TO FLORIDA WEEKLY Condominiums for Sale in West Palm Beach

Condominiums for Sale in West Palm Beach

One Watermark Place, 622 N. Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach, comprises only 48 luxury apartments, which are cosseted by a full-time manager, inhouse concierge, complimentary valet and doorman. The amenities boast an exquisite board room, wonderful social room with televisions, bar and kitchen, pool directly on the Intracoastal with towels provided, magnificent fitness center with massage rooms and lockers, and outdoor barbecue area with grills. Keyed elevators take you directly to your apartment. The building provides both cable TV and direct satellite TV. Pets are allowed with no weight restrictions and maximum of two per apartment. Other attributes include two full-building generators, garage with cameras and security guards, and state of-the-art water filtration system.

No. 904 features four bedrooms and 5½-baths. Fite Shavell & Associates lists the apartment at $6,900,000. The agent is Martin Conroy, 561-523-6148,

View entire article on the Florida Weekly website

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By Christine Davis/Special to the Daily News Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Talk about curb appeal.

It’s no surprise that this Ibis Isle house has gardens in spades, considering that landscape architect Mario Nievera was its previous owner. And his lush landscape designs certainly caught the attention of the current homeowners, Bruce and Tami Watkins, when they decided to buy the South End property in 2006.

A sofa divides the living from the angled family-and-dining room facing the pool. Note the library alcove just left of center.

Take, for instance, the Alexander palms that gracefully frame the entry of the one-story, mid-century house at 2255 Ibis Isle Road W. Or look at the citrus espalier on the front of the house, the trees’ branches trained to grow along the walls flanking the porch.

With terraces edged with greenery, the property makes a pretty picture. But gardens to the sides of the house and around the pool are outstanding, too, Tami Watkins said.

“These are large gardens for Ibis Isle, and they are a visual treat. This is an indoor-outdoor house with interesting angles that draw attention to the landscape. You can sit anywhere in this house and feel like you are in the gardens,” she said.

And the effect is not just visual, she added, pointing again to the front of the house: “It’s a beautiful scented garden with orange blossoms on the espalier, two huge gardenia topiaries and a ylang ylang tree.”

In Bruce and Tami Watkins’ family-and-dining room at 2255 Ibis Isle Road W., the view of the pool and patio is showcased by a wall of glass windows and doors. The house is listed for sale at $2.195 million by Fite Shavell & Associates. Photos by VHT, courtesy of Fite Shavell & Associates.

The exterior charmed them when they were house-hunting eight years ago. But once inside, they were completely sold, she said.

“We loved the house. It felt right and we had a visceral reaction,” she explained. “My husband took a clean sweep, and said, ‘This is it.’”

Yet they always wanted to live directly on the water, and when property became available immediately across the street, the Watkins bought it and built a new home, which is nearly finished. As a result, they’ve listed No. 2255 for sale. Agents Lynn Warren and Gary Little of Fite Shavell & Associates have priced at $2.195 million.

The front door leads to a foyer, which, in turn opens to the living room. The cypress ceiling has been painted white and here are terrazzo floors, which continue into the adjacent family-and-dining room. Other details in the living room include walls covered in Donghia bamboo-patterned wallpaper and a library niche.

Lynn Warren of Fite Shavell & Associates

To the east, the loggia-like dining-and-family room also has a cypress ceiling, but this one is beamed and lightly whitewashed. The room, meanwhile, is detailed with a wetbar and accents of “subway” tile. One wall is all glass, with doors that open to the patio and the black-bottom pool, with its large sun shelf. The pool is surrounded by coral key stone, and entire area is lushly landscaped.

To the south of the living room is a study that could double as a guest suite. It’s carpeted and has plantation shutters at the windows, built-in bookcases and French doors that lead to the side garden. The bathroom has a sea-glass-mosaic floor and a walk-in shower.

The kitchen now has Corian countertops, a Miele oven, a KitchenAid dishwasher and cooktop, and a SubZero refrigerator and freezer drawers. French doors lead to an intimate dining patio.

Also off of the dining-and-family room are accommodations for guests and the master suite.

“Because we really like big bathrooms, we decided to add a new guest bathroom for the guest bedroom along with an entirely new master suite,” Watkins said. “Our builder, Tim Givens, helped us with our previous apartment, and now he’s building our new house across the street.”

Gary Little of Fite Shavell & Associates

The master bedroom has a pitched ceiling, Stark carpeting and French doors with motorized remote-controlled blackout shades, along with access to an oversize closet accessed via the master bathroom.

As in the new guest bath, the master bath features tile and fixtures from Urban Archaeology. Other details here include a walk-in shower, Corian-topped vanities, Dornbracht fixtures and a whirlpool tub.

The Watkins’ have set up the en-suite guest bedroom, with two closets, as an office. French doors here open onto a side garden. The new bathroom has tile in sea-glass colors, and the walk-in shower features frameless glass doors.

Among the home’s other amenities are a two-car garage and solar-powered systems that provide hot water and heat the pool.

While previously the Watkins lived on Palm Beach itself, they enjoy Ibis Isle.

“Compared to Everglades Island, it’s more open and airier. It has a different feeling. We have wonderful access to the beach, the town tennis courts and golf course, Phipps Ocean Park. And we are only 10 minutes away from Worth Avenue,” she said.

She returns again to the subject of Nievera’s landscape.

“The gardens helped seal the deal,” she said. “Having a total Mario Nievera garden is rare.”

View entire article on the Palm Beach Daily News website

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SPECIAL TO FLORIDA WEEKLY Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

This four-bedroom, 5.2-bathroom Palm Beach Mediterranean home was built in 2002. The home, at 326 Seabreeze Avenue, offers a fantastic floor plan with a downstairs master suite, high ceilings and marble and wood floors throughout.

Fite Shavell & Associates lists the home at $7,500,000.

The agent is Sonja Stevens,

View entire article on the Florida Weekly website

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