Iglesias tears down and rebuilds rather than settling on low price

By Christina S.N. Lewis
The Wall Street Journal
Published1/5/2008 10:37 PM

Having failed to sell his Miami-area house for $25 million, Julio Iglesias razed it last month and plans to rebuild.

"We went down, down, down (in price) and then I thought, you know, this is too cheap," says the 64-year-old singer, speaking from his home in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. He had cut the asking price for the 10,350-square-foot house well below the original $32 million he was seeking when he listed it three years ago.


Iglesias says he tore the house down because it didn't meet his family's needs. "The house was built for a couple (and) suddenly I had five kids," he adds. As a result, he was spending relatively little time at the home, his only U.S. residence. (The singer also owns a house in southern Spain.) Because he considered the 4-acre property "great," he plans to build a Spanish-style hacienda on it.

Iglesias, who performs about 150 concerts a year, bought the property in 1978 for about $650,000 and renovated the house. It's in Indian Creek Village, between the Atlantic Ocean and Florida's Intracoastal Waterway. With about 400 feet of Waterway frontage, the Iglesias property includes a pool. Coldwell Banker's Jill Eber and Jill Hertzberg had the listing.

Escalating land prices have led to a boom in multimillion-dollar teardowns. "At these prices the value is all in the land," says East Hampton, N.Y., broker Diane Saatchi, of Corcoran Group, who says she sold a $28 million teardown property in the Hamptons.

At least one neighbor has had better luck selling in Indian Creek: Retired developer Leonard Miller, whose two-acre home brought in $20 million this week. That's believed to be the costliest single-family house sale in Miami this year. Rajendra "Raj" Singh, co-founder of wireless-services company LCC International, and his wife, Neera, bought the property, which has roughly 200 feet of Waterway frontage and was listed for $23.5 million. Eber and Hertzberg, along with Coldwell's Jeri Jenkins, had that listing, while Sheila Freed of Coldwell represented the Singhs.

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Steel executive Leroy Schecter just listed his Indian Creek home for $32 million, after paying $22.5 million for it last year, says his listing broker, Nelson Gonzalez, of Esslinger Wooten Maxwell. And just a few doors down from Iglesias, a developer is planning to ask $52 million for a new "tropical resort"-style house.

$65 million for Hamptons estate

A Southampton, N.Y., estate formerly owned by Martin "Marty" Richards, who produced the Oscar-winning 2002 film "Chicago" and many Broadway plays, has just gone on the market for $65 million.

The current owner, a European businessman, paid Richards $23 million for the estate in 2003, records show, and spent more than $25 million overhauling the property with the help of interior designer Robert Couturier, says Sotheby's Beate Moore, the listing broker.

The 6-acre oceanfront estate on Gin Lane includes a 13,000-square-foot, eight-bedroom main house and a 7,500-square-foot "guest house" with three bedroom suites, staff quarters and a four-car garage. With more than 400 feet on the ocean, the grounds include a pool and spa, a self-watering clay tennis court and a lily pond.


The late 19th-century Colonial Revival house is one of the oldest summer "cottages" in Southampton, says Gary Lawrance, the co-author of "Houses of the Hamptons, 1880-1930." Owners of the home have included James Lent Barclay, a member of one of New York's oldest families, in the early 20th century. Mr. Richards, the "Chicago" producer, owned the house with his late wife and Broadway producing partner, Mary Lea Johnson, a daughter of Johnson & Johnson heir J. Seward Johnson.

Gin Lane properties command some of the Hamptons' highest prices. This summer, Apollo Management LP partner Joshua Harris paid $25 million for a 2.7-acre beachfront parcel a few doors down from the former Richards estate, while last month, a two-acre oceanfront property on the Lane sold for $26.8 million.

House has links to "Charlie Wilson" film

A Houston mansion originally owned by a socialite who figures prominently in the film "Charlie Wilson's War" has gone on the market for $3.5 million.

Joanne King Herring, the politically active Texan who had the house built, is played by Julia Roberts in the film. It tells how Herring and U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks) helped persuade the U.S. to arm resistance fighters in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

In 1954, Herring built the four-bedroom, 5,500-square-foot house on nearly 4.5 acres in a French baroque style, according to the real-estate firm that has the listing, Martha Turner Properties. There's a large ballroom with wood paneling decorated with gilded bronze cherubs, violins and lyres.

The property includes a pool and a lawn overlooking a ravine near the Buffalo Bayou. It's in Rivercrest, a community west of downtown Houston.

Herring and her first husband, Robert King, hosted Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1968, among many others, the listing brokerage says. She later divorced, married Robert Herring and moved closer to downtown Houston. Martha Turner's Susan Boss has the listing.

The sellers, Cesar Rodriguez and his wife, Magdalena, bought the home about seven years ago.

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