Lot with Trump his­tory sells for $37 mil­lion

Palm Beach Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - By DAR­RELL HOFHEINZ

The sec­ond of three lots sub­di­vided from an ocean­front es­tate that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump sold to a Rus­sian bil­lion­aire nearly a decade ago has changed hands for $37 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the deed recorded Fri­day by the Palm Beach County Clerk.

The 2-acre lot, at 535 N. County Road, had been listed in the lo­cal mul­ti­ple list­ing ser­vice since Jan­uary, priced at $39.8 mil­lion.

It’s the north­ern­most of the lots carved from the es­tate Trump sold for a recorded $95 mil­lion in 2008 to a com­pany linked to busi­ness­man Dmitry Ry­bolovlev and con­trolled by a Ry­bolovlev fam­ily trust.

The first of the other lots sold in Novem­ber for more than $34 mil­lion. That brings Ry­bolovlev’s to­tal land sales so far to $71.34 mil­lion.

A Boca Ra­ton-based lim­ited li­a­bil­ity com­pany linked to lux­ury home­builder Mark Pulte bought the lot, ac­cord­ing to the ad­dress of the buyer listed on the deed. Pulte’s firm, Mark Ti­mothy Inc., has de­vel­oped on spec­u­la­tion and sold lux­ury man­sions in Palm Beach, in­clud­ing a lake­front house that changed hands in April for $31.59 mil­lion at 1330 S. Ocean Blvd.

Pulte also de­vel­oped the ocean­front house at 6 Ocean Lane that the late Fox News CEO Roger Ailes bought last year for $36 mil­lion. The home­builder has an­other never-lived-in lake­front house on the mar­ket for $42.5 mil­lion at 1340 S. Ocean Blvd. And he is seek­ing town ap­proval for a con­tem­po­rary-style house he wants to build on a va­cant lot he bought in Septem­ber for $14 mil­lion at 446 N. Lake Way.

Bro­ker Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens As­so­ciates, who had the list­ing for the va­cant lot that just sold, couldn’t be reached for com­ment. But his of­fice con­firmed that he han­dled both sides of the sale. He also has rep­re­sented Pulte in his other Palm Beach sales.

With 150 feet of direct beach­front, the lot on North County Road stretches 560 feet be­tween the street and the shore, about a half-mile south of the Palm Beach Coun­try Club.

A sim­i­lar-sized va­cant par­cel im­me­di­ately south of the lot that just sold was listed for sale at $38.9 mil­lion in Jan­uary. But the list­ing was with­drawn in early Au­gust from the Palm Beach Board of Real­tors Mul­ti­ple List­ing Ser­vice, records show.

At the time Ry­bolovlev bought it, the 6.26acre es­tate was home to a man­sion — since de­mol­ished — that Trump had ren­o­vated. Trump sold it to Ry­bolovlev for a price the pres­i­dent al­ways has main­tained was $100 mil­lion, al­though court­house doc­u­ments recorded the deal at $5 mil­lion less. The sale set a U.S. res­i­den­tial record at the time and still stands as Palm Beach’s largest-ever sin­gle-seller/ sin­gle-buyer deal.

The man­sion was razed last year and the prop­erty sub­di­vided into three lots, the largest of which sold in Novem­ber at 515 N. County Road for a recorded $34.34 mil­lion. The buyer was a trust, and the deal was or­ches­trated by Moens.

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

The Rus­sian sold both lots through a Florida lim­ited li­a­bil­ity com­pany, County Road Prop­erty LLC. The Pulte-con­trolled en­tity that bought the lot Fri­day is named 535 North County Road LLC.

Pulte and a spokesman for Ry­bolovlev couldn’t be reached for com­ment.

Part of the North End’s so-called Bil­lion­aires Row, the lot is im­me­di­ately south of the es­tate owned by takeover king Nel­son Peltz.

The Daily News in spring 2016 re­ported that Trump’s record-set­ting man­sion sale had turned out to be a tear­down. Crews au­tho­rized by Ry­bolovlev’s own­er­ship com­pany sub­se­quently de­mol­ished the 66,000-square-foot house and its out­build­ings. In all, the to­tal liv­ing space was about 80,000 square feet. The prop­erty was sub­di­vided last year.

Trump bought the es­tate for $41.4 mil­lion in 2004 from the late nursing-home mag­nate Abe Gos­man in a court-or­dered bank­ruptcy auc­tion. Ry­bolovlev never lived there and has de­scribed the prop­erty as an in­vest­ment. When he bought it, he was mar­ried to Elena Ry­bolovlev, but the cou­ple’s di­vorce ended with a strato­spheric set­tle­ment. Forbes es­ti­mates Dmitry Ry­bolovelv’s net worth to be $7.4 bil­lion.

This year, Trump’s 2008 sale be­came the sub­ject of in­tense me­dia at­ten­tion be­cause of its Rus­sian con­nec­tion, fu­eled by ac­cu­sa­tions that Rus­sia tried to in­flu­ence the out­come of last fall’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. The con­tro­versy has also raised ques­tions about any deal­ings among Rus­sian en­ti­ties and Trump, his fam­ily, cam­paign aides and busi­ness as­so­ciates.

Trump has main­tained the Palm Beach trans­ac­tion was strictly a busi­ness deal and that he never met Ry­bolovlev. Ry­bolovlev, in turn, also has said he hasn’t met Trump.

Be­yond Palm Beach, Pulte’s com­pany has built ocean­front and wa­ter­front homes in Del­ray Beach, Gulf Stream, Manala­pan and Boca Ra­ton. Pulte also has been a prin­ci­pal of Pulte Cap­i­tal Part­ners, a strate­gic in­vest­ment firm fo­cused on in­vest­ing in build­ing-prod­ucts busi­nesses, ac­cord­ing to an on­line ré­sumé.

A na­tive of Bloom­field Hills, Mich., Pulte is pres­i­dent and CEO of Mark Ti­mothy Inc. His fa­ther, Wil­liam J. Pulte, founded Michi­gan-based Pulte Homes, to­day Pul­teGroup of At­lanta.

In the sale last spring of Pulte’s spec house on South Ocean Boule­vard, Moens was the list­ing bro­ker op­po­site Linda A. Gary of Linda A. Gary Real Es­tate, who han­dled the buyer’s side.

The lot on North County Road is near the beach­front homes of ra­dio shock-jock and tele­vi­sion celebrity Howard Stern, celebrity sur­geon Dr. Mehmet Oz of The Dr. Oz Show and fash­ion de­signer Tommy Hil­figer.

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