Rare Mizner-designed property in Naples fetches record price for beachfront

Laura Layden
Naples Daily News

There's been another record-busting home sale in Naples.

A few weeks ago, a sprawling compound in Port Royal broke the ceiling for the highest-price-ever-paid for a not-so-humble abode in the city, fetching $52 million.

Before that came a quieter chart-topper — of a different kind.

The sale of a 1926 Addison Mizner-designed estate — at 670 Gulf Shore Blvd. S. in Old Naples — brought the highest price paid per linear beachfront foot in the city "ever," said Dante DiSabato, a broker associate with William Raveis Real Estate, who represented the buyer and seller in the multimillion-dollar transaction.

The agent's claim is based on proprietary data from the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, used by the Naples Area Board of Realtors. 

The 400-foot deep, key-shaped property — with 100 feet of beachfront on the Gulf of Mexico — sold for $22.5 million. That’s $225,000 per foot of beachfront.

This 1926 Addison Mizner-designed estate fetched $22.5 million, setting a record for the highest price paid per linear foot of beachfront. Courtesy William Raveis Real Estate.

While the other record-breaking property commanded more than twice as much based on the total price paid, it "only averages $172,000 per foot of beachfront," DiSabato points out.

He describes the older, "smaller" estate he sold as one of Naples' most iconic properties, due to its classic styling, which gives it a vintage Palm Beach feel. 

By normal standards, you might describe the gated estate on 1.1 acres of manicured lawns as oversized. The main house stretches 4,345 square feet under air, including four bedrooms and five bathrooms. (The chart-topper is more than double the size, with even more bedrooms and bathrooms).

Along with the primary home, there's a private guest apartment attached — and an "Old World" tiled pool, among other features. 

“For close to a century this property has been a shining example of what the Naples lifestyle is all about — sand, sunshine, glamour and style. I’m sure the new owners will cherish the history and luxury" of it, DiSabato said.

Previously:Naples has a new record home sale at $52 million, luxury market sizzles

Dante DiSabato, broker associate, William Raveis Real Estate, Naples

The property has undergone several renovations, under previous owners, but the home still has Mizner’s signature touches. 

"It doesn't have a historical designation, but it is historical," DiSabato said. "It's probably the most famous house in Naples." 

That's because it's one of only a few that Mizner designed in Naples. 

One of Florida's leading designers in the 1920s, Mizner became famous for his  Mediterranean Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival architectural styles. Most of his homes are in Palm Beach.

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The rare property wasn't listed for sale, but DiSabato said he approached the former owners about selling the home, who are friends of his, because he had a client looking for a large beachfront lot — and they're in short supply these days in Naples.

"There a lot of beach buyers down here," he said. "Normally, we have one or two trade a year."

Over the past four months, he said at least a half a dozen homes have sold on the beach in the Naples area.

DiSabato saw the demand for luxury home sales spike in the Naples area a few months after the pandemic hit.

Here are some of his more notable sales from 2020:

  • 333 Gulf Shore Blvd. S., a 5,896-square-foot contemporary estate, for $8.9 million
  • 3330 Rum Row, a 5,306-square-foot modern residence, for $11 million
  • 1475 Gulf Shore Blvd. S., for more than $7.8 million
This 1926 Addison Mizner-designed estate fetched $22.5 million, setting a record for the highest price paid per linear foot of beachfront. Courtesy William Raveis Real Estate.

The luxury market in the Naples area has performed well amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Perhaps because of the difficulties of this past year, people have recognized the importance of having the perfect home in the perfect location,” DiSabato said. “There is no better place than Naples and people who understand and expect the best are flocking here more than ever before. Even the most discerning buyer can appreciate what Naples has to offer.”

Discerning buyers are relocating to Naples for several reasons, not just to escape larger, more densely-populated cities because of the pandemic, he said, but to flee higher-tax states and to retire.

This year started off with a bang for DiSabato. 

By the end of the first week in January, he'd already closed $47 million in deals.

"Right now, there is just such a huge lack of inventory," DiSabato said. "There are five buyers for almost every deal. It's unbelievable."

Currently, he has another $45 million-dollars-worth of real estate under contract.

DiSabato is not the only high-end Realtor who 's seen a lot of action since the start of 2021.

Longtime Realtor Bill Earls — specializing in ultra-luxury properties in Naples —  has been involved in sales that top $140 million.

Often, Earls, a top-producing agent with John R. Wood Properties, has been both the listing and selling agent. He was for the new all-time record sale, which closed Jan. 29.

This 1926 Addison Mizner-designed estate fetched $22.5 million, setting a record for the highest price paid per linear foot of beachfront. Courtesy William Raveis Real Estate.

Just a day before that colossal deal, Earls sold another gulf-front mansion a stone's throw away for a head-turning $36 million. 

Showings have picked up, so much so that Earls says it's hard to know whether he's coming or going.

"It's so unbelievably busy," he said.

Dennis Bowers, a construction expert turned leading real estate broker with Compass in Naples, who sold $100 million in real estate in Southwest Florida last year, said since January the demand for homes over $1 million has become even greater — along with the broader market. 

"The difference from last year to this year is staggering," he said.

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He offered up some numbers to show the difference. Over the past two weeks, in the Naples and Bonita Springs areas, 285 properties have gone pending — or under contract — for more than $1 million. Out of that total, 150 had been on the market for less than 30 days.

Pending sales in this price point are up nearly 40% from a year ago.

"We are down 60% this year over last year, as far as inventory goes," Bowers said.

In swanky Port Royal, he said, there are typically at least 20 homes listed for sale, and now there are just 10.

"So it's a very unique time for us," Bowers said.

While there hasn't been a record home sale in Fort Myers or surrounding beachfront areas this year, Lee County, like Collier, has seen a noticeable jump in transactions for properties priced at $1 million or more.

After doing a little research in that high-end market, Michael Polly, a president and managing broker for Royal Shell Real Estate, found some telling numbers.

From Jan. 1 through Feb. 23, 395 single-family homes and condominiums at that price sold or went under contract. That compared to just 72 in the same time a year ago.

"That’s a 449% increase in the number of sales," Polly said in an email.

Currently, he said, there are less than 340 properties on the market in Lee going for $1 million-plus.

He also noted the median — or midpoint — for the amount of time spent on the market in this seven- and eight-digit price category has dropped to 60 days.