Calvin Klein's 'resort' is hotbed of real-estate sales activity

High-end property prices go up as inventory of waterfront gems attracts ultra-wealthy from Northeast, Latin America, experts say

Fashion icon Calvin Klein owned this Miami Beach home on North Bay Road for about a decade. He recently said he wants to sell it.
Fashion icon Calvin Klein owned this Miami Beach home on North Bay Road for about a decade. He recently said he wants to sell it. (MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PROPERTY RECORDS)

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Several trophy properties in the luxury market surround Calvin Klein's Spanish-style waterfront home in Miami Beach.

The designer purchased the six-bedroom, six-bathroom home in the North Bay Road community, after he sold his brand to global apparel company Phillips-Van Heusen for about $400 million. And after nearly a decade in the neighborhood, Klein said he is selling  4452 North Bay Road

Klein, 72, said he recently bought a $30 million "glass box" in California's Hollywood Hills because he was bored of the Miami Beach "resort" life, the New York Post reported.

"I want to sell it to someone who appreciates the aesthetic," Klein said during a recent Page Six interview

It's a good time for Klein to sell, as Miami's luxury market is thriving, several experts said. The global economic recovery is fueling a demand for a spectrum of properties with Biscayne Bay views, and most of the demand was coming from well-heeled buyers from Latin America who were paying cash.

According to the Miami Association of Realtors, 81 percent of international buyers in Miami-Dade and Broward counties paid all in cash. About 9 percent spent $1 million or more. Miami has long been a haven for those fleeing political and economic instability in South America.  In 2014, about 16 percent of the buyers were from Venezuela, 12 percent were from Argentina, 11 percent were from Brazil and 8 percent were from Colombia.

The luxury market in Miami also attracted the nation's elite in 2014. There were buyers from New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, realtors said. The Chinese and the Russians were barely buying.

"Really what is driving Miami is a very strong influx of Americans from the northeast corridor -- that has been a surprise in the market place -- and then you have people from South America and Europe," said Jill Hertzberg, of Coldwell Banker, who has several exclusive listings in the North Bay Road and La Gorce Island.

MAP: View some of the homes listed near Calvin Klein's home

Miami's reputation in the luxury market is improving. Last year's Christie's International Real Estate index ranked Miami as ninth among the top 10 luxury markets worldwide. Only three more U.S. cities were on the list: New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  London, Hong Kong, Sydney, Paris, Dubai and Toronto were also included.

Miami's North Bay Road and La Gorce Island community has long been home to the ultra-wealthy. This includes celebrities, the occasional athlete and entrepreneurs at the pinnacle of their careers. Most recently the area has become a hotbed of sales activity and construction.

English billionaire retail entrepreneur Mike Ashley gutted most of the waterfront property at 42 La Gorce Circle. There is curiosity about what he is going to build there.


Klein is not the only millionaire moving out. Colombian pop star Shakira was asking $13.9 million for the mansion at 3140 North Bay Road. Lil Wayne's 94 La Gorce Circle was listed at $18 million. Nearby film entrepreneur Larry Kuppin listed his  92 La Gorce Circle  at $18.75 million and the Hamaoui family listed  98 La Gorce Circle at $15.5 million.

Jill Eber, of Coldwell Banker, and Hertzberg, part of a realtor team called The Jills, are selling a Mediterranean-style estate near Ashley's property. Eber said La Gorce Island is "absolutely stunning," enjoys "the best" security and is close enough to dining and shopping in Miami Beach. The Jills also handled the sale of Matt Damon's mansion and recently sold Ricky Martin's former mansion.

"Prices are definitely going up," Eber said. "It's always supply and demand. Sellers have their properties on the market, then the buyers come in and they really want that property -- and they are going to pay what they need to get that property."

Last year, Damon sold  6020 North Bay Road for $15.37 million, records show. The property was a combination of two lots. In 2005, he bought 6020 North Bay Road for $10.3 million and 6030 North Bay Road for $4.2 million. Meanwhile, Martin sold 5030 North Bay Road in 2005 for $10.6 million. The Jills sold it in March for $18.25 million.


There is a lot going on in Klein's neighborhood. The property at 14 La Gorce Circle recently sold for $19.7 million. Other listings in the area include 4730 North Bay Road at $31.75 million and 2920 North Bay Road at $29.5 million, records show. A mansion at 2068 North Bay Road sold in March for $20.5 million.

The Ritz-Carlton joined the mix with 111 residential units at 4701 N. Meridian, where the former Mount Sinai Medical Center used to be. The sales team has centered their efforts on hosting events during international gatherings such as Art Basel, the Miami Yacht & Boat Show and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Their pop-up showroom had stops in Milan, Beijing and Tokyo.

"We are approaching 60 percent sales," said George Mato, during a recent interview with The Real Deal's Ina Cordle.

The flood of international investors has been a concern to the U.S. Treasury Department, which reported that for decades Miami's luxury market has attracted dirty money. Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is part of North Bay Road history. The U.S. government seized his mansion in 1987.

Chicken Kitchen founder Christian De Berdouare is a member of the La Gource Country Club and has a passion for the neighborhood. Records show he owns three properties. Among them is 5860 North Bay Road, Escobar's former mansion, which he bought for $9.6 million May 6, 2014.

De Berdouare also owns 5750 North Bay Road, where the Beatles had a Life magazine photo shoot in 1964. He has an ultra modern home at 5004 North Bay Road under construction that he told The Wall Street Journal he hoped to sell for $35.9 million.

"Honestly and very humbly, I can state that it's going to be the most beautiful house ever built in South Florida," he said earlier this year during an interview with The Miami New Times.

Klein's home is smaller and not as modern. Records show the 5,802-square-foot home was built in 1929. It took him about a year to renovate it. The lot -- north of the Miami Beach Golf Club and south of the La Gorce Golf Club -- is 16,709 square feet., records show. The waterfront views are the focus of the home's decor.

FLOOR PLAN: View a sketch of Calvin Klein's home

Klein already has a listing broker to deal with the ultra-wealthy buyers. Coming up with the appropriate listing price will be a challenge. After appraisals and an analysis of recent sales in the area, finding a comparable price won't be easy, since the hand of a unique fashion icon was involved in the renovations of the 1929 home. The process will be more like pricing fine art at Art Basel Miami.

Ingrid Sischy, of Vanity Fair, described the home in 2008 as "both a monastic and fantastic place, with decorative details stripped down to nothing, so that what is there -- the understated lighting, the plastered, almost Ryma-nesque walls, the 'simple' but extraordinary furniture -- is exquisitely heightened. At night, a bamboo allée over the pool offers an unforgettable romantic peek across the bay at the lights of Miami Beach."

She was probably referring to the lights of the much-less glamorous Miami neighborhoods on the other side of Biscayne Bay.

Get to know the neighborhood

Calvin Klein's Miami Beach neighborhood

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