The Real Deal Miami

Golfer Greg Norman mansion gets facelift for sale

By Sally Apgar | July 13, 2009 11:55AM

When golf great Greg Norman decided that the sale of his Jupiter Island estate had hit an iceberg and was sinking at the asking price of $47.5 million, he did more than rearrange the palm trees in his front yard.

The “Great White Shark” hired contractors, filed the necessary legal work for massive renovations and hiked the price of his Jupiter Island spread to $60 million.

Apparently, Norman is trying a new pricing strategy for his 8-acre seaside hacienda, listed in 2007 for $65 million. It languished unsold on the market for almost a year, even after a drastic 27 percent price cut of $17.5 million to $47.5 million.

If Norman gets anywhere near his asking price, he will outdrive the record price for a property on the island: the $44.5 million that neighbor and golf superstar Tiger Woods set in 2006 when he bought 12 acres and began building a family compound.

Another neighbor, Canadian diva Celine Dion, is still working on a sprawling seaside compound of her own. In June 2005, she paid $12.5 million for 3.7 acres and then bought another 2 acres for $7 million in January 2008.

Jupiter Island, about 25 miles north of Palm Beach Island, is the home of quiet mega-wealth. For generations it has drawn Fords and DuPonts. It was home to singer Perry Como, who called it “a little slice of heaven.”

While Palm Beachers buzz about on a busy social schedule of charity galas and grow two-story hedges to keep their dollhouse versions of French chateaux out of sight, Jupiter Islanders enjoy a more countrified lifestyle.

With an estimated fortune of $377 million, Norman now plays golf part time. In addition to his interests in golf course design and development, Norman also runs a vineyard, markets Australian beef and owns a turf company, restaurant and a clothing line.

In June 2008, Norman married tennis legend Chris Evert and the two moved into her Boca Raton digs.

Recent construction activity — including the rearranging of towering palms on the front lawn that now shield the house from gawkers — has sparked speculation in town that Norman and Evert are moving back to Jupiter.

But the property, which was marked up to $60 million in late June, is still listed with the Corcoran Group.

Corcoran Agent Suzanne Frisbie declined comment about Norman’s housing plans.

One of Norman’s attorneys, Jack Schneider, did not return repeated phone calls. Schneider was granted limited power of attorney in March to oversee construction on the estate, according to Martin County court papers.

In 2007, Norman put the estate, known as “Tranquility,” on the block during a bitter public divorce from his then-wife, Laura Andrassy. In the end, Andrassy won $103 million and is entitled to $17.5 million of the proceeds from the sale of Tranquility, according to a settlement.

Andrassy and Norman bought the home in May 1991 for $4.9 million, according to property records. In 1997, the estate grabbed headlines when President Bill Clinton injured his knee there while visiting for a golf weekend.

According to the Corcoran description, the estate sits on a huge swathe of land reaching from the Atlantic Ocean along 172 feet of oceanfront to the Intracoastal Waterway, where it has 370 feet of waterfront. There is a main house and five other buildings, including a garage big enough to hold 17 cars. The west lawn “allows for a 5,500-square-foot putting green with one bunker and one tee set up for 80-yard pitch shots.”  

According to recent court documents, planned improvements to the estate include:

• Remodeling of the “existing two-story main house, carriage house, coach house, beach house (where Clinton nursed that knee) and boat house to include replacement of roofs, windows and doors.”
• Rebuild or build “retaining wall, tennis pavilion, pool, pool deck, tennis court, sky shade.”
• “Remove invasive landscape, relocate large trees, relocate main concrete drive to south property line, gate and columns, grading irrigation and sod.”

On its Web site, Corcoran touts the property as “truly a unique opportunity.”