|It was once the lavish residence of late fashion icon Gianni Versace, then the location of his tragic death and until recently, a boutique hotel. What’s next for the famed Casa Casuarina?
According to a press release issued by Fisher Auction Company, majority owner and telecom entrepreneur Peter Loftin has filed bankruptcy. The Miami Beach mansion, last listed for $75 million after two steep price cuts, will be sold at an auction in conjunction with Coldwell Banker’s The Jills at 10 a.m. Sept. 17.
“It will be the auction of a century,” said Lamar Fisher, president and CEO of Fisher Auction Company. “It provides an opportunity for the world to react and compete for this awesome property.”
The home is being auctioned with all the furnishings intact. Versace reportedly spent some $33 million in renovations, adding a 24-karat gold-lined pool, hand-painted walls and ceiling frescoes, among other custom upgrades. Today, the mansion is considered a South Beach showpiece, combining fine European craftsmanship with an Italian designer’s eye for luxury.
“Casa Casuarina LLC owes money to VM South Beach,” Fisher explained. The Nakash family of denim manufacturer Jordache Enterprises became the secure lender, VM South Beach, after buying a note from Loftin’s original lender. “They are the stalking horse,” Fisher said. “They will start bidding at $25 million.”
And, that’s not all. To qualify, bidders must make a $3 million deposit as well as show proof of funds no less than $40 million. Once the highest bidder is determined, he or she must tender a 10 percent deposit, inclusive of the $3 million, immediately.
This may seem like a steep price to pay, even for a 23,462-square-foot oceanfront property, but not compared with the home’s first asking price of $125 million when it hit the for-sale market last year. Loftin listed the property while leasing it to star Miami chef Barton Weiss, who converted the 10-bedroom, 11-bath home into the Villa by Barton G. Earlier this year, Weiss filed an emergency injunction, removing his hotel business on the grounds that the owners were hiding the home’s imminent default.
The South Florida Business Journal now confirms the home’s mortgage is listed at $30 million in bankruptcy filings.
“It’s going to sell,” Fisher concluded. “We already have a $25 million bid.”