Venetian-palace replica up for auction
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 conciergeauctions.com. 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]tinel.com 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.