La Gorce deal is biggest in Miami-Dade this year

By Eric Kalis from Daily Business Review Online

There are some people who make every moment count for the MIami (June 14, 2010) - Print Share Email Reprints & Permissions Write to the Editor Prominent Miami Beach developer Todd Glaser has sold a mansion on Miami Beach's La Gorce Island for $16 million in the most expensive residential transaction in Miami-Dade County of 2010.

Glaser, operating as 88 La Gorce LLC, sold a 17,200-square-foot home on 1.1 acres at 88 La Gorce Circle to Okto Inc., a German company registered in Delaware, which does not list company principals in state corporate records. The sale closed on Friday, according to Glaser and Miami attorney Steve Waserstein. Waserstein and attorney Denise Ben David of Waserstein Nunez & Foodman represented 88 La Gorce in the sale.

Miami-Dade County has not yet recorded the transaction.

The La Gorce deal surpasses the $14.1 million sale of a Coral Gables estate at 158 S. Prospect Drive in March. Hugh and Carole Westbrook sold the 2.25-acre property, which includes a five-bedroom house and three guest houses, to Coral Gables company Coconut Harbour, according to Miami-Dade County records.

According to Glaser, the sale is the most expensive for a completed home on La Gorce Island. The most expensive deal in the island's history was Yvonne Gibb's $17 million sale of a 1.23-acre property at 30 La Gorce Circle to former Campbell's Soup chairman George Sherman and his wife, Betsy. Gibb, the widow of Bee Gees pop singer Maurice Gibb, sold the property in October 2006.

Glaser paid $8.2 million for the 1.1 acre La Gorce Circle site in June 2007. The site previously was two lots, one vacant and another with an existing 6,018-square-foot house. Glaser and partner Armin Mattli, owner of spa owner Clinique La Prairie, tore down the existing house and built the 17,200-square-foot mansion in 2008, he said.

"That's what I do," said Glaser, who has developed and sold homes for many celebrities, including Billy Joel, Hulk Hogan and Michael Bay. Joel currently owns a home on La Gorce Island.

Glaser also does interior design, and his bathrooms have been featured on HGTV. Glaser said he has been hired by Major League Baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez to build a mansion at 4358 N. Bay Road property. The New York Yankee third baseman recently bought the site for $7.4 million.

For the 88 La Gorce home, Glaser went with a German-themed design inspired by Fisher Island developer Carl Fisher's estate at 5020 N. Bay Road. At one point after the project was completed, Glaser rented the home to music superstar Beyonce Knowles, he said.

The 88 La Gorce property has 236 feet of frontage on Biscayne Bay and overlooks gated Allison Island to the east.

The German architectural style appealed to the buyer, said Glaser, who declined to reveal the cost of the project.

Okto was represented by the Miami office of the Duane Morris law firm. Calls to the law firm were not immediately returned.

"When the buyer came to see the house, it was exactly what they were used to growing up," he said. "They were blown away by it."

Glaser said the Okto principals will likely live in the home. "Everybody in this market right now is an end-user," he said. SIGN OF STABILIZATION?

The 88 La Gorce sale is a sign of stabilization in Miami-Dade's high-end residential market, Glaser said.

"I think we found a bottom," he said. "We are still three or four months away from coming off the bottom, but it should be a hot little market in October, November and December."

The mansion generated "two or three" offers, Waserstein said. That is a sign of increased activity for high-end properties but not enough to constitute a boom in the sector.

"There's still a lot more bargain hunting on the lower side of the market," he said.

Not including the 88 La Gorce sale, 24 waterfront homes in Miami Beach have been sold this year, according to Miami Beach broker Kevin Tomlinson, who was not involved in the deal.

"After a stagnant May, things are really moving now," Tomlinson said. "I see a lot more activity happening in the later part of this year."

Calls to broker Nelson Gonzalez, who listed 88 La Gorce Circle for Glaser, were not immediately returned.

Eric Kalis can be reached at (305) 347-6651.

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