Vene­tian-palace replica up for auc­tion

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Money - By David Lyons

If there’s to be a sym­bol of Fort Laud­erdale’s sta­tus as the canal­laced “Venice of Amer­ica,” the

27-room Casa Bella For­tuna is a prime can­di­date.

At $36.25 mil­lion and pat­terned af­ter the Doge's Palace in Venice, Italy, the

17,350-square-foot home built by Fort Laud­erdale en­tre­pre­neur Jim Bar­nett is headed for an on­line auc­tion April 9-12.

Com­pleted in 2015, the es­tate is a grandiose re­treat, pat­terned af­ter the res­i­dence oc­cu­pied by the do­ges — or elected heads of state — who ruled the Repub­lic of Venice be­tween 726 and 1797.

The Fort Laud­erdale ver­sion has a panic room, seven bed- rooms, six full bath­rooms and five and a half baths. A yacht owner could take ad­van­tage of its 750 feet of wa­ter frontage with a 350-foot con­crete dock. Ac­cord­ing to the list­ing, the home also boasts a four-car garage, salt­wa­ter pool, gar­dens, golf putting green, and space for ten­nis and bas­ket­ball courts. (Any new owner would have to build their own courts).

The in­te­rior is adorned by hand-painted mu­rals by the late Buck­ing­ham Palace artist Leonard Par­don. The five bed­room suites are ac­com­pa­nied by pri­vate bal­conies. There is also a gym, mas­sage room, yoga room and two home of­fices.

A na­tive of Canada, Bar­nett

bought the prop­erty at 534 Bon­tona Ave. from the late bil­lion­aire H. Wayne Huizenga in 2010 for $7.64 mil­lion.

Bar­nett de­mol­ished an ex­ist­ing home on the 1-acre penin­sula and set to work build­ing his dream es­tate.

“De­spite its grand stature, Casa Bella For­tuna pro­vides a warm and re­lax­ing en­vi­ron­ment,” Bar­nett said in a state­ment re­leased this week. “Our vi­sion was to cre­ate a state­ment prop­erty and we picked the best team to bring the vi­sion to life.”

Be­sides Par­don, the artist, the group in­cluded Jef­frey W. Smith, a trained Vene­tian ar­chi­tect, and in­te­rior de­signer Bunny Wil­liams of New York.

Bar­nett, who cre­ated busi­nesses in tech­nol­ogy, real es­tate de­vel­op­ment and health care, was sen­si­tive to the threat of sea-level rise in South Florida when he built the home, rais­ing the penin­sula on which the home is lo­cated by 6 to 8 feet at var­i­ous points.

The es­tate was ini­tially put up for sale in 2017 for $39 mil­lion. The list­ing is held by Ka­t­rina Campins of The Campins Com­pany of Mi­ami Beach.

The auc­tion, which is be­ing con­ducted by Concierge Auc­tions of New York, is on­line only. It is be­ing held via conciergeauc­ Par­tic­i­pants can jump in via a Concierge Auc­tion app. A $100,000 de­posit and proof of funds are re­quired. The seller is con­sid­er­ing ac­cept­ing a por­tion of the sale price through bit­coin, though de­tails have yet to be worked out.

Al­though word of the auc­tion went out only a week ago, the re­sponse has been fa­vor­able, with in­quiries com­ing from New York, Con­necti­cut, the Midwest and Cal­i­for­nia as well as lo­cally, ac­cord­ing to Campins and Tony Young, project sales man­ager for Concierge Auc­tions. Show­ings are al­ready sched­uled.

In a tele­phone in­ter­view, they said a num­ber of the in­ter­ested par­ties are po­ten­tial refugees from high-tax states in the North­east who are con­sid­er­ing Florida and its busi­ness-friendly cli­mate as a po­ten­tial land­ing spot.

“We fea­tured this prop­erty for ex­actly that group,” said Campins, who re­cently pitched the prop­erty on Fox News. “Buy­ing a house for $30 mil­lion is not out of the ques­tion be­cause these are high net worth in­di­vid­u­als. It just makes fi­nan­cial sense for them.”

Said Young: “Com­pared to Cal­i­for­nia, the prop­erty val­ues are bet­ter here.”

Concierge Auc­tions is also or­ches­trat­ing the sale of Huizenga’s es­tate on the New River, with an auc­tion sched­uled for March 26-28. The 10-bed­room home is listed by Nash Lux­ury at The Keyes Co. for $27 mil­lion.

David Lyons can be reached at 954-356-4340, dv­[email protected]­ twit­ter: @david­v­lyons


Casa Bella For­tuna, a 27-room es­tate listed for $36.25 mil­lion in Fort Laud­erdale’s Las Olas Isles sec­tion, is headed for an on­line auc­tion April 9-12.

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