Vacant lot sale tops $34 million at former Trump estate in Palm Beach


Vacant lot sale tops $34 million at former Trump estate in Palm Beach

By Darrell Hofheinz

Daily News Real Estate Writer

North County Road has seen the end of an era, of sorts, with the recorded $34.34 million sale of a vacant lot subdivided from the oceanfront estate that Donald Trump once sold for a record-setting $95 million.

An ownership company associated with Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev— who bought the property from Trump eight years ago — sold the 2.35-acre tract with about 175 feet of beachfront via a deed recorded today by the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office.

The buyer was the 515 North County Road Trust, for which real estate attorney Maura Ziska of Kochman & Ziska in West Palm Beach serves as trustee. Ziska could not be reached, and no other information about the buyer was immediately available.

Carved from the 6.26-acre estate at 515 N. County Road, Lot 3 is the largest and southernmost of three newly subdivided parcels there. The town has not been asked to assign the lot its own address, said John Page, director of the Planning, Zoning and Building Department.

Broker Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates handled both sides of the off-market sale, his office confirmed. Moens declined to comment. As of late this afternoon, a spokesman for Rybolovlev had not responded to a request for comment.

News that Trump’s record-setting mansion sale had turned out to be a tear-down broke last spring. That’s when one of Rybolovlev’s attorneys asked the town for permission to tear down the house, which had stood for about 25 years on the property, and several outbuildings.

The Town Council in August approved the subdivision, and crews spent several weeks carrying out the demolition.

The sale leaves two remaining lots: Lot 1 measures about 2 acres with about 150 feet of beachfront. Lot 2 also encompasses about 2 acres but has about 150 feet of beachfront. The properties lie about a half-mile south of the Palm Beach Country Club.

Trump bought it at auction

Trump, who is today the country’s president-elect, bought the estate for $41.4 million in 2004 from the late nursing-home magnate Abe Gosman, who had named it Maison de L’Amitie. Gosman had paid about $12 million for the property in 1988 and immediately completed the 66,000-square-foot “Euro-Regency” style mansion begun by the previous owner, retail magnate Les Wexner. In all, the buildings totaled 80,000 square feet and included a carriage house that dated to the 1930s.

Trump was the high bidder when Gosman was forced to sell his estate in a court-ordered auction related to a voluntary declaration of bankruptcy. Trump then renovated the property before selling it to Rybolovlev in July 2008, a pre-recession deal that set what was then a U.S. record for a residential sale. Rybolovlev’s ownership company was named County Road Property LLC, a limited liability company associated with a family trust.

Trump has always maintained the amount that changed hands in that transaction was $5 million more than the $95 million price recorded by the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office.

Marketed privately

Rybolovlev never used the mansion as a residence and has described the property as an investment. At the time of the purchase, he was married to Elena Rybolovlev, but the couple later split in a high-profile divorce with a stratospheric settlement.

Moens previously confirmed he was marketing the three properties privately but had not announced prices.

Moens acted on behalf of Trump in the 2008 sale opposite Brown Harris Stevens agent Carol Digges, Rybolovlev’s agent.

The property was originally known as Blythedunes, an estate designed in 1917 for Robert Dunn Douglas and later expanded by owners Harrison and Mona Williams. Socialite and art collector Jayne Wrightsman and her husband, oilman Charles Wrightsman, had owned it since 1947. She sold it Wexner in 1985 and he demolished the historic house there and broke ground on the house that was razed this year.

Before it sold, the Wrightsmans had drawn up their own subdivision plans for the estate — with nine lots — but it was never implemented. The Town Council dissolved that subdivision last spring in response to a request made by a Rybolovlev attorney.

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