Jeweler’s house sells for $10.4 M
Former Worth Avenue jewelry store owner Christopher Kaufmann’s landmarked house at 434 Seaspray Ave. has changed hands for about $10.41 million, according to price data recorded with two deeds Monday.
The Midtown house, built around 1924, has been the subject of foreclosure proceedings with three mortgage lenders. The consolidated foreclosure case was still open in the Palm Beach County Circuit Court, according to a search late Friday of the county clerk’s website.
Kaufmann also has been the target of multiple civil lawsuits related to his since-closed jewelry store over the past few years.
Brian J. Kelly, principal of Eastern Real Estate in Woburn, Mass., confirmed to the Daily News that he bought the Mediterranean-style house to use as a family home. Kelly has ties to New York, Boston and Santa Barbara, Calif. He declined to comment on specifics about the transaction.
His private company led the partnership with New England Development and Lupert-Adler to develop the Palm Beach Outlets mall on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard in West Palm Beach. The mall opened in February 2014 and was sold in 2015 for $278 million.
The three-bedroom house and separate guesthouses have 7,469 square feet of living space, inside and out. In the lake block, the property measures more than a half-acre. The property stretches between Seaview and Seaspray avenues, a couple of blocks north of Royal Palm Way.
Kaufmann and his estranged wife, Andrea Kaufmann, sold their property to Kelly’s ownership entity, Seaspray Owner LLC. Deeds show that the Florida limited liability company bought multiple lots that comprise the property in two sales recorded simultaneously by the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office. One of the deals totaled $8.926 million and the other, $1.482 million, according to the prices attached to the deeds. The deeds list the company’s address as in care of Eastern Real Estate.
Patricia Mahaney of Sotheby’s International Realty represented Kelly in the sales.
Agent Kevin Leonard of Keyes Co./Illustrated Properties was the last agent to have the house listed in the Palm Beach Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. Leonard, who at the time was the broker at Valore Group, last had the house priced at just under $10 million in a co-listing with Gary Feldman.
Mahaney and Leonard declined to comment. The Kaufmanns couldn’t be reached.
The Kaufmanns paid a recorded $2 million for the property in 2000, courthouse records show.
The town granted the house landmark protection in December. Before the designation was granted, Christopher Kaufmann used the word “wonderful” to describe efforts to make his home a landmark.
“We’ve been living in the house for 18 years. Not a day went by that we didn’t realize we were living in a true paradise of a property,” he said at the time.
Last June, a court order allowed thousands of possessions to be seized from the house as payment to creditors to whom Christopher Kaufmann owed more than $5 million, according to courthouse records. The inventory list included a 2001 Porsche, furniture, electronics, artwork and other items.
The house had been encumbered with a number of liens. In April 2016, the Kaufmanns lost a foreclosure case in which a circuit-court judge awarded Valley National Bank nearly $5.6 million for default loan payments, interest, late charges and attorney’s fees. In January, the court issued a related $1.46 million judgment to another lender, Branch Banking & Trust Co. Emigrant Residential also filed action to foreclose a mortgage in 2014 and that case was consolidated into the Valley National Bank foreclosure action filed in 2015.
Court-ordered mediation in January among the parties failed to achieve a settlement. A final court order to sell the house, however, was never issued, courthouse records show.
Christopher Kaufmann for years owned Christopher Kaufmann Le Salon on Worth Avenue. He and his companies have been sued more than a dozen times since October 2013 by clients alleging he didn’t pay them or didn’t pay them the right amount for their consigned jewelry.
In September, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a complaint against Christopher Kaufmann, asking a judge to “forever” prevent him from consigning jewelry in the state.
Former jewelry store owner Christopher Kaufmann’s landmarked 1924 house at 434 Seaspray Ave. was the subject of foreclosure proceedings with three mortgage lenders.