Near-record sale in Port Royal fetches $49.5 million

Laura Layden
Naples Daily News

As 2021 drew to a close, Naples saw a near-record home sale. 

Property records show 4540 Gordon Drive squeaked by on Dec. 30 — fetching $49.5 million.

While impressive, the price fell a few million — and change — short of the all-time record of $52 million, set early last year.

Both estates are in the city's posh Port Royal neighborhood.

Real estate experts say the neighborhood — one of the most expensive in America — attracted more attention than usual from wealthy buyers in 2021 for a variety of reasons, including urban flight into less populated areas, such as Naples, due to COVID, and migration to low-tax states like Florida.

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This home at 4540 Gordon Drive recently sold for $49.5 million.

In the more recent eye-popping transaction, Thomas Campbell and Richard Prebish, with William Raveis Real Estate, represented the sellers.

"As is our policy, we do not comment on such matters," the Realtors, who specialize in the sale of upper-crust homes, stated in an email.

Public records show the sellers as Ray and Eva-Marie Berry of Greensboro, North Carolina. He's the founder of The Fresh Market gourmet supermarket chain.

The deed lists the new owner as ACME, a limited liability company, with an address in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

This home at 4540 Gordon Drive recently sold for $49.5 million.

The address for the LLC is identical to one used by a long-time independent, boutique trust and investment management company known as Trust Point. The companies' relationship to one another or the property's owner isn't clear. 

In state records, Nicholas J. Kaster is listed as the manager for ACME, incorporated in June 2011. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Brenda Ruth, with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty’s Broad Avenue office in downtown Naples, brought the buyer to the sale — a record-breaker for the luxury real estate company.

“Designed by a top Naples architect and constructed by a renowned area builder, this Italian-style masterpiece commanded a record-breaking price because of its extraordinary level of craftsmanship, elegant appointments and sought-after Gulf-front location.," she said. "Its timeless design and world-class amenities appealed to the discerning buyer seeking a beachfront retreat and legacy property to be enjoyed for generations to come.”

She did not reveal the buyer.

The estate at 4540 Gordon Drive stretches more than 8,000 square feet under air, with four bedrooms and nine bathrooms, including three half-sized ones.

The listing described the home — completed in 2014 — as rare and the property as "one of the very best beachfront locations in Naples." 

The property last sold for $14.2 million in 2010, for the value of the waterfront land overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

Newbury North Associates, a Naples-based custom builder, constructed the home.

This home at 4540 Gordon Drive recently sold for $49.5 million.

Features include a breakfast bar, an elevator, a fireplace, an eat-in kitchen and a four-car garage.

The owners have access to the exclusive Port Royal Club, offering fine dining, as well as a spa, fitness center and tennis courts.

According to Zillow, the house first hit the market for $47.9 million in August of 2016, only to be removed a few months later. The sellers then relisted it for $49.5 million in March 2021, garnering a contract for the asking price in late November.

Naples Realtor Dante DiSabato, also with William Raveis, handled some impressive sales of his own in Port Royal last year. 

Naples Realtor Dante DiSabato with William Raveis Real Estate in Naples sold two Port Royal estates to the same buyers six months apart. The homes at 2790 and 2800 on Gordon Drive are pictured here, left of the Port Royal Club, which is on the far right.

In fact, the luxury real estate agent helped one of his clients purchase two choice waterfront properties in the neighborhood. Combined, the sales — six months apart — totaled nearly $70 million. 

The second home sale ranked as the second-highest ever in Naples history at $40 million, until it was eclipsed by nearly $10 million with the sale of 4540 Gordon Drive a few days ago.

Port Royal is named after the 17th-century Jamaican city

Developed in the 1950s, Port Royal is named after the 17th-century Jamaican city where pirates once roamed. It was the dream of John Glen Sample, an advertising executive who developed the radio soap opera. He envisioned the neighborhood as a winter retreat for the wealthy.

Today, Port Royal continues to attract an elite group of successful and influential corporate leaders who've amassed great wealth.

Mike Dodge, an assistant manager and director of market research at John R. Wood Properties in Naples, said as of Monday 60 sales had been posted in the multiple listing service, or MLS, for Port Royal in 2021, with a combined value of more than $824 million.

That's up from 49 sales in 2020 — and 38 in 2019, before the pandemic hit, he said.

With some digging, he also found out the value of home sales in Port Royal last year was 80% greater than in 2020 and 155% more than the average for 2017-19, the three years before the game-changing COVID outbreak.

"In 2021, 63% of homes in Port Royal sold for $10 million and greater, and 10% sold at or above $20 million," Dodge said. "The average for the preceding four years was 36% and 3%, respectively."

Last year, 38 homes sold for more than $10 million in the neighborhood, he said, compared to 18 in 2020.