Lot with Trump history sells for $37 million
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 But the listing was withdrawn in early August from the Palm Beach Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service, records show.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.