Insurance mogul sells Palm Beach home to Toronto firm for $18M

Estate previously belonged to John Kluge, who left it to Columbia University

89 Middle Road and Peter Wood (Credit: Redfin and Alchetron)
89 Middle Road and Peter Wood (Credit: Redfin and Alchetron)

The oceanfront Palm Beach home that once belonged to late billionaire John Kluge just sold for $18.25 million to a company led by Larry Morassutti of the Toronto-based real estate firm Morassutti Group, property records show.

Esure insurance founder Peter Wood sold the 5,435-square-foot home at 89 Middle Road for about $3,360 per square foot to Mora Middle Investments Inc.

Wood bought the home, which was part of a larger 4.3 acre estate, in 2016 for $39 million. Kluge left the property to Columbia University, which sold it to Wood two years ago. In July, Wood won town approval to subdivide the estate into five lots. Wood razed another home that was on the property, while the four-bedroom home that just sold remained intact thanks to its protected landmark status. It was built 1921 and designed by architect Addison Mizner.

Longtime oil-industry consolidator Thomas O’Malley bought the first, 20,000-square-foot lot in October for nearly $7 million. Another lot at 95 Middle Road is reportedly under contract for nearly $8 million to an unknown buyer.

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The Morassutti Group focuses on investment, property development and management, according to its website.

The Mediterranean home features 150 feet of ocean frontage, a guesthouse and a two-car garage. It’s near Palm Beach’s upscale shopping and dining district, Worth Avenue.

Christian J. Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate represented the the buyer and the seller. The property hit the market in December 2016 asking $24.9 million, meaning the home traded at a 26 percent discount.

Angle is also listing Wood’s spec home at 530 South Ocean Boulevard for $41 million.