Versace mansion heads to auction

Villa on Ocean Drive has minimum bid of $25 million

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The famed Versace mansion on Ocean Drive is going to auction.

"You can't get any more bells and whistles and excitement on a property. I mean, it has it all," said Jill Hertzberg with The Jills. "It is an iconic piece. It is one of a kind. It is like getting a Picasso."

The villa at 1116 Ocean Drive was built in 1930. It's had many names, but is most well-known as the former home of Italian designer Gianni Versace, who was fatally shot on its steps in 1997.

The 10-bedroom, 11-bathroom, gated home features a 54-foot long mosaic pool lined with 24-karat gold. It also includes numerous frescos, ornate statues, arched doorways and an open air courtyard.

Tourists stopped by Thursday to take pictures in front of the mansion. Many weren't away convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein had a stake in it, leading it into foreclosure.

"It's too bad," said Evvie Kriedich. "You know, for someone with such an empire and a great name for so long and then it ends like this. I think it is terrible."

"It is very sad," added Betty Lepore. "It is a piece of history."

Fisher Auction Company is handling the sale, which is scheduled for Sept. 17. The 23,000 square-foot oceanfront mansion had previously been listed for $125 million.

Prequalified bidders must show they have at least $40 million to spend and able to place a $3 million deposit. The asking price fell to $75 million -- with a minimum bid of $25 million.

Hertzberg, who sold the most expensive home in Miami-Dade County for $47 million, said she thinks she can break her own record.

"We have gotten calls, inquiries from China, from Russia, and of course here in the United States," she said.

Hertzberg said she thinks either a billionaire will buy it or someone who wants a boutique hotel.

"It could go to a person who is operating a very, very high-end boutique hotel because there are 13 rooms and it could be set up like a boutique hotel," she added.