Insurance mogul buys Kluge estate in Palm Beach: $39M

The John Kluge estate in Palm Beach
Kluge estate in Palm Beach at 89 Middle Road

Insurance tycoon Peter Wood paid $39 million for the former John Kluge estate in Palm Beach.

Columbia University sold the 4.3-acre property at 89 Middle Road, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The home, which includes about 150 feet of oceanfront, was listed for sale in 2011 for $59 million.

Records show Kluge donated the property to his alma mater after he died in 2010. Kluge, a billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist, made his money in the television industry. His former home is made up of five parcels that include a 1935 garden house with 12,000 square feet and a 6,000-square-foot Mediterranean-style ocean house designed by noted architect Addison Mizner, as well as three additional buildings that can be used for guests and staff, according to the listing. The property also includes gardens and a 150-foot reflecting pool.

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Paulette Koch and Dana Koch of the Corcoran Group, and Carole Hogan and Carol Digges of Brown Harris Stevens were the listing agents. It went under contract in March, according to the Palm Beach Daily News.

Wood is founder of insurance companies Direct Line and Esure. His agent, John O. Pickett III of Brown Harris Stevens told the newspaper that Wood owns other properties in Palm Beach and he does not plan to live on the Kluge estate. Pickett also said that the new owner may divide the property into “more management lot sizes.”

In Palm Beach, Wood paid about $43 million for architect Jon Stryker’s former home – where Wood divided the property into three parcels. There, he’s building himself a house, sold one parcel for $12 million and listed a third for $21 million, the latter of which is currently off the market.

Columbia University will use the sale’s proceeds for student scholarships. [WSJ] – Katherine Kallergis