Telecom tycoon sells Billionaires Row teardown in Palm Beach for $28M

Seller had tried to replace circa-1949 home with a contemporary mansion, but was denied by the Palm Beach Architectural Commission

TRD MIAMI /
Oct.October 08, 2020 01:30 PM
Donald Burns and 1021 North Ocean Boulevard (Twitter, Realtor)

Donald Burns and 1021 North Ocean Boulevard (Twitter, Realtor)

Former MagicJack Chairman Donald Burns sold his longtime Palm Beach estate for $28 million.

Burns sold the six-bedroom, 8.5-bathroom mansion at 1021 North Ocean Boulevard to 21 Palms LLC, a Delaware entity. The buyer financed the deal with an $18.3 million loan from UBS Bank, records show. Attorney Robert Sorgini signed the loan on behalf of the buyer.

Burns, who leads his own philanthropic foundation, chaired MagicJack’s board from 2010 to 2017. He’s also the former president and CEO of Telco Communications Group, and led Telco through its IPO before selling the company to Excel Communications for $1 billion in 1997, according to his LinkedIn.

He bought the 10,214-square-foot Palm Beach home in 1998 for nearly $4 million through a trust, records show.

The Bermuda-style estate was built in 1949. The property includes 100 feet of ocean frontage.

Burns sought approval in 2016 from the Palm Beach Architectural Commission to replace the mansion with a modern-style home, but was denied, according to the Palm Beach Daily News. He filed a lawsuit that is now in federal appeals court in Atlanta.

The property hit the market in June with Jim McCann of Premier Estate Properties for $34 million, but was later removed from the Multiple Listing Service.

Next door, the then-teardown at 980 North Ocean Boulevard sold for $28.7 million last year, also to a Delaware LLC. That property has since been knocked down.

The pandemic has fueled a stream of high-end home sales over the past six months. In September, new signed contracts for single-family homes in Palm Beach County grew nearly 62 percent, year-over-year, to 489 contracts.

Last month, billionaire businessman Jude Reyes sold his waterfront mansion in North Palm Beach for $19.2 million.

In July, pulmonologist Dr. Norman Traverse sold his ocean-to-lake mansion at 1744 South Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach to a Delaware LLC for more than $51 million.






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