Port Royal spec home fetches $18.5 million, showing market still hot

Laura Layden
Naples Daily News

Port Royal remains a hot spot for the wealthy.

One case in point? 

Luxury developer London Bay Homes recently sold an estate it designed on speculation — or spec — for an eye-popping $18.5 million in the ritzy neighborhood.

While construction quietly started without a buyer, the luxury 7,640-square-foot home at 700 Admiralty Parade W. sparked a bidding war in the end.

This spec home at 700 Admiralty Parade recently sold for $18.5 million, showing the continued strength of the Naples market.

It may not be the most expensive home ever sold in Port Royal, but market watchers see it as yet another shining moment for the local real estate industry despite the coronavirus pandemic — putting another spotlight on Naples as a "garden spot" to live in,

Although there have certainly been pricier sales in the affluent Naples neighborhood over the years, the price tag paid for the spec home is still at the top end of the market.

"We've taken the big water views and some of the best lots. So to a certain extent, your highest-end customers will always be concerned about that. They're not looking for a deal on the lot," said Mark Wilson, president and CEO of London Bay Homes, a custom builder headquartered in Naples.

More:Despite pandemic, parts of Southwest Florida's real estate market are thriving

They're also not looking for a deal on the home itself, but a home that stands out from the rest and meets their every wish and desire, he said.

"We don't cut corners and we don't reduce specifications to seek a little bit more profit," Wilson said.

In this case, the one-of-a kind home lured California-based buyers who liked its style and idyllic waterfront location, offering long, wide views across Admiralty Bay to Keewaydin Island, he said.

Master bedroom at spec home that recently sold at 700 Admiralty Parade in Port Royal

Property records show the buyers as well-known businessman Jeffrey Henley and his wife Judy. He's a vice chairman of Oracle Corp.

London Bay collaborated with a "dream team" to build and design the home to the hilt, which replaced a tear-down. The team included Jon Kukk and his namesake company Kukk Architecture & Design, Michael Scott of Romanza Interior Design and landscape architect Christian Andrea of Architectural Land Design.

The dream team's goal? To fuse the beauty of the home's stunning waterfront views with luxurious finishes and architectural styling that's timeless, yet contemporary, Wilson said. 

The estate has five bedrooms, with five full bathrooms and two half-baths. Among its special features are a VIP guest suite, multifunction bonus room and a pair of personalized studies. 

“When you have some of the best in the business all gathered together, in a truly collaborative spirit, the possibilities and creativity to explore every 'what if' is endless. And at this price point, we weren’t afraid to push boundaries and try new elements that would resonate with a refined buyer," said London Bay Homes Vice President Steve Miller. 

More:Highest priced Southwest Florida home sale of 2020 occurs after Naples mansion sells for almost $20M

Some of home's other noteworthy features include a seamless design between spaces, wide expanses of glass throughout to capitalize on the dramatic water views and create an interplay between indoor and outdoor spaces, and a pool with a vanishing edge, making it look like it drops right into the wide waters of the bay.

“Each room is a balance of function, comfort and style,” said Scott, with Romanza Interior Design. “For instance, we positioned the master bedroom to take advantage of wide water views through an expansive wrapped window, yet incorporated touch-control motorized blackout shades for added privacy."

Even more stunning in Scott's eyes? A closet for her that he describes as a "must-see," with a lighted gallery case crafted of Italian glass to "showcase a Louboutin shoe or prized Birkin collection."

Above all, the design team wanted to make it a house that "truly feels like a home," Wilson said. 

“Amidst a backdrop of custom finishes and top-quality selections, the home embodies a warmth and comfort that creates the ideal setting for an upscale dinner party or a casual conversation after a day on the golf course," he said.

The estate includes a dock that can accommodate a yacht of up to 36 feet, giving the owners deep water access, with Gordon Pass to the south, Naples Bay to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west.

With its speculative projects, London Bay is catering to high-end clients who want a home in Port Royal or other top-end neighborhoods or communities, but don't want to wait the two or three years it will take for one to get designed and built especially for them. 

More:Best Buy founder's Bonita Springs mansion sells for almost $5 million

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest, Southwest Florida has seen an uptick in buyers who are more eager to relocate and get out of bigger cities, where there's not as much room to social distance to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19 — and it's harder to avoid crime and violence.

When it comes to the design of London Bay's latest spec home, Bill Earls, a luxury Realtor with John R. Wood Properties, said the builder and its dream team "nailed it."  

"It was a magnificent project," he said. "He's a quality developer and it was a quality product."

He points out that the buyers paid more than $2,400 a square foot for the home, nothing to blink an eye at. 

"Anytime you have a sale over $10 million it's significant," Earls said, "although we've had 16 sales for $10 million in the trailing 12 months." 

So, the sale of London Bay's spec home is a part of a larger trend.

Demand for homes in Port Royal has picked up due to many factors, Earls said, not just the coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest, but burdensome state taxes elsewhere in the country, which don't exist in Florida.

"Florida is a tax haven. We're helping these people. These people are tax refugees," Earls said. 

He describes Naples as a "world-class garden spot." 

"As the rest of this country spirals into rural and moral decay, people are going to want to go to the garden spots and Naples is one of the premier garden spots in the country, in the world maybe," Earls said.

More:Photos: Port Royal home sells for $14.95 million in 2018

It's a garden spot because it's a much cleaner, easier, safer place to live than many other places in the country, especially big cities, he said.

"Look at this town," Earls said. "You don't have the litter on the streets. We don't have any graffiti on walls. We don't have anyone throwing chairs through business owners' windows, or burning up cop cars. We don't have gang violence. We don' have excess drug use." 

Last year, Earls said he sold $274.8 million worth of residential real estate in Naples. His sales are approaching $200 million this year, with more time still left to go, and that includes several months when sales were at a virtual standstill after the pandemic first hit in March.

"Boy is it lit up now," he said.