Historic West Palm Beach estate subdivided and sold

Listing agent's family owned property since it was built in 1938

TRD MIAMI /
May.May 05, 2015 12:00 PM

A waterfront estate —  one of the few in West Palm Beach designed by noted architect John Volk that hasn’t been given landmark designation —  has just been sold for $6.8 million.

A third of its 1.45 acres has also been split off in a separate sale to a pair of prospective home builders. That deal totals $2.55 million.

For listing agent Sabra Kirkpatrick, the sale was a little bittersweet.

***

Kirkpatrick told The Real Deal that the 9,245-square-foot home, at 5815 South Flagler Drive, has been in her family since it was built in 1938.

It was first owned by her grandfather D.E. Taylor, a shipping magnate who moved his company to the Port of Palm Beach with his brothers in the early 20th century.

Through his West Indie Fruit and Steamship Company, he ferried goods between Cuba and the United States — until Fidel Castro came to power in the 1960s.

Kirkpatrick told TRD that trade between the island nation and the U.S. had all but dried up, and Taylor decided to close the business.

Her grandfather passed away a decade later. His wife stayed in their West Palm mansion until she passed away in the 1990s, leaving the home to her only child, Kirkpatrick’s mother.

She lent it to the Red Cross for a year as part of their annual designer show-house event, where designers come in and decorate the home as a fundraiser, then moved in with her husband in 1996.

***

The two decided they didn’t need as much space anymore and put the house on the market with their daughter Sabra, a Realtor with Brown Harris Stevens. She sold the home in 2013 to an unnamed developer, who came in with the intention of splitting up the estate into four parcels and selling them, Kirkpatrick said.

He also restored the property’s mansion from top-to-bottom. That meant new electrical wiring, a new roof, a new pool. New everything.

“He basically brought it back to the 1930s,” Kirkpatrick said. “He brought it back to life.”

The original architecture of the house remained. Its windows, when opened, let in a gentle cross breeze from the ocean, and its sunken terrace keeps guests out of the wind while preserving the home’s ocean views.

The developer re-platted the compound into four parcels: Two vacant lots fronting Ellamar Road to the north, and the two lots fronting Churchill Road to the south where the mansion sits.

His plan was to have a home on each parcel, but two separate home buyers approached him and wanted more space.

So he re-platted the four into three. He also kept Kirkpatrick as the listing agent. The Ellamar parcels, now one contiguous rectangle, were sold to a husband and his wife. Kirkpatrick described them as end users who will build their home on the land.

The Churchill Road parcels, which still make up the bulk of the lot, were sold to a company titled Tara Real Estate Holdings II. It lists a business-management firm in Wilmington, Delaware, as its registered agent.

Up until last week, Kirkpatrick said her family has been the only ones to ever live in the mansion. Her mother still doesn’t like to drive by it, but Kirkpatrick sees the sale as positive. The storied estate will live on.

“I’m extremely blessed to have sold that property,” she said.


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