Mar-a-Lago’s journey to ‘Winter White House’

The influence of the president’s exclusive golf club stretches well beyond its boundaries

TRD MIAMI /
Mar.March 17, 2017 08:45 AM

From the March issue: Cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post left her Palm Beach estate, Mar-a-Lago, to the U.S. government in her 1973 will in the hopes it would serve as a “Winter White House.” Though the property’s prohibitive maintenance cost meant the gift was not accepted, Post’s wish has been fulfilled nevertheless thanks to the election of Donald Trump, the property’s owner, as president.

There have been other local contenders for the Winter White House title. The 1920s-era beachfront 1-acre complex at 1095 North Ocean was once the winter residence for the Kennedy family. The home was sold for $7 million in 1995 to the Castle family, represented by Paulette Koch. Ned Monell of Sotheby’s International held the listing. And last June, Koch sold the erstwhile home of Elmer Bobst, lifelong friend and advisor to Richard Nixon, at 1055 North Ocean for $13 million. According to Koch, the home had an entire “Nixon Wing,” where he stayed during his visits.

It appears President Trump will do far more than just winter at Mar-a-Lago: Barely a month into his presidency, he has already played a round of golf there with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Since his inauguration, dues for the club at Mar-a-Lago have doubled to $200,000 a year.

As for real estate in the surrounding area, Palm Beach sports some of the most expensive homes in Florida, and indeed the entire country: Though the priciest listing in the state is currently a $195 million estate in Manalapan, Palm Beach generally fetches higher prices and has far more estate-size properties with heritage listings than any other part of the peninsula. [more]


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