Marble-clad mansion in Southwest Florida sells within hours

Laura Layden
Naples Daily News
This home at 111 Fifth Ave. S. in Naples recently sold for $12 million. It's one of the highest priced sales in the neighborhood over the past two years.

A marble-clad mansion in Naples has changed hands.

The French Colonial-inspired estate — at 111 Fifth Ave. S. — sold within hours of hitting the market, fetching $12 million.

While the price might not sound so impressive for swanky Naples, it's nothing to bat an eye at in the historic neighborhood. 

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It's one of the most expensive sales to happen in Old Naples over the past two years, actually ranking in the Top 5, said Naples Realtor Alex Owens, who represented the buyers. 

Those rankings are based on sales made through the Southwest Florida MLS, or multiple listing service. 

Owens described the home as an "architectural masterpiece," sharing that his buyers have long admired it. The buyers could not be reached for further comment.

his home at 111 Fifth Ave. S. in Olde Naples recently sold for $12 million. It's one of the highest-priced sales in the neighborhood over the past two years.

About the French Colonial-inspired estate: 

On the outside, the mansion is covered with more than $1 million worth of imported Italian marble.

The home itself spans 7,000 square feet, with five bedrooms, plus a den, and six bathrooms. It includes an oversized gourmet kitchen and large living room designed for entertaining, among other features.

Outdoors, there's a 70-foot-long pool, and a rooftop deck offers views of the sunsets Southwest Florida has become known for. 

"This residence leaves nothing to be desired," said Owens, with Amerivest Realty.

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Meet Gene Martin who designed the home for his own family

Noted architect and former owner Gene Martin, who designed the home for his own family, sold it, "ready to do another build," he said.

Although Martin relocated to Naples years ago, he has maintained his architectural practice in a suburb of Chicago, as well as doing high-end residential work here.

He and his wife sold their sprawling Naples mansion because their kids are grown and no longer live at home. A Realtor himself, he acted as the selling agent in the deal.

While Martin knew the local real estate market was hot and he had something unique to offer, he didn't expect his home of nearly 10 years to sell as fast as it did.

"It took us by surprise," he said. "We were kind of unprepared." 

As a result, they scurried to find a place to rent temporarily, moving in Friday.

Martin confirmed he wants to build another distinctive home in Naples for him and his wife. First, he said, he needs to find the right location, preferably close to his last home, where everyone is so friendly.

"It's definitely very difficult to find vacant land to build on," he said.

The mansion, built in 2012, is hard to miss, as it sits at the prominent corner of Fifth Avenue South and Gulf Shore Boulevard South. 

While living there, Martin said he heard many positive comments about it, from neighbors and passersby. He said he was going for a European townhouse look with the prominence of marble and ironwork.

Sitting on an oversized lot, Owens said the property probably could have fetched a much higher sales price of $20 million to $25 million if it sat on waterfront property.

Earlier this year, a stately waterfront compound at 2700 Gordon Drive in Port Royal sold for $52 million, setting an all-time record for the most expensive home ever sold in Naples.

About the luxury market in Naples

The luxury market in Naples has sizzled this year, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made the area an even sweeter spot for the uber-rich, who are looking to flee the chaos of larger cities, such as New York.

“I was born and raised here, so I’ve seen the tremendous growth over the years," Owens said. "But this last year takes it to a whole new level. COVID-19 really woke people up to what was important to them. If you were someone living up north debating when you might move to Florida, the last year really accelerated that timetable for many of the buyers I’m working with.”

Several waterfront mansions in Naples have sold for more than $30 million this year.

While there have been recent signs of a slowdown in the housing market overall, Owens said that despite how hot the market has been, he still sees more room for growth.

“We’re working with a lot of folks who have been eager to get down here and purchase, but haven’t been able to either because of travel restrictions or they were waiting to get the vaccine," he said. "So I’m still seeing a lot of pent-up demand out there. And, frankly, there’s just not enough inventory to go around. It’s a great time to be a seller."