LoanDepot founder drops $50M on Star Island mansion, One Thousand Museum condo

Star Island seller linked to principals of multibillion-dollar hedge fund Alden Global Capital

Miami /
Jan.January 11, 2022 12:36 PM

Randy Smith (Alden Capital) and Anthony Hsieh (LoanDepot) (Zillow, ONE THOUSAND MUSEUM, Wikipedia, LoanDepot)

UPDATED, Jan. 11, 1:50 p.m.: The founder and CEO of LoanDepot is picking up some of Miami’s most expensive residential real estate.

Billionaire Anthony Hsieh paid $30 million for a waterfront Star Island mansion in Miami Beach and $19.5 million for a unit at One Thousand Museum in Miami, The Real Deal has learned.

Lake Forest, California-based LoanDepot, which bought the naming rights to Miami’s Marlins Park in March of last year, is one of the largest non-bank, direct-to-consumer lenders in the U.S. Forbes pegs Hsieh’s net worth at $2.6 billion.

Sources confirmed Hsieh is the buyer of 34 Star Island Drive, a waterfront house that sold last week. Hsieh also acquired unit 5201 at the Zaha Hadid-designed One Thousand Museum in downtown Miami via his Banda LLC, according to property records.

The sale marks the third time the Star Island home has traded hands in less than two years, underscoring the strength of South Florida’s luxury residential market. In March of last year, Roni and Sam Jacobson flipped the waterfront mansion for $21 million, about nine months after paying $12 million for the property and following a multimillion-dollar renovation and expansion of the house.

Barbara Stovall Smith and her husband, Randall “Randy” Smith, the co-founder and chief investment officer of Alden Global Capital, a multibillion-dollar hedge fund also led by co-founder Heath Freeman, are the most recent sellers of 34 Star Island Drive, sources said.

Alden Global Capital, a West Palm Beach-based “vulture” hedge fund, owns more than 200 newspapers across the country, including the Sun Sentinel, the L.A. Times and the New York Daily News, making it the second-largest newspaper owner based on circulation, according to a profile of the firm in The Atlantic. Alden has been widely criticized for its cost-cutting methods after acquiring newspapers.

The Smiths have been active real estate investors in South Florida. Late last year, they sold three homes in Palm Beach for $56 million, the Palm Beach Daily News reported.

An entity managed by title attorney Philip Gross acquired the Star Island house in Miami Beach last year, which was renovated by luxury home developer Todd Michael Glaser. The nine-bedroom, nine-bathroom mansion spans 8,100 square feet and was built in the early 1960s. It includes a pool and space for a 90-foot yacht, according to the listing.

Companies managed by Gross, listing the same address, also purchased two more Miami Beach homes in 2021: the waterfront house at 2288 Sunset Drive and the waterfront home at 4774 North Bay Road.

All three deals were linked to the Smiths, sources said.

The Star Island mansion sits on a 40,000-square-foot lot. Judith Werner of Bold Miami was the listing agent in this most recent sale, and Arielle Werner of Bold Miami brought the buyer, according to Realtor.com.

One Thousand Museum has seen a recent uptick in sales, with few developer units left. The 62-story, 84-unit tower was developed by Louis Birdman, Gilberto Bomeny, Kevin Venger, Gregg Covin and Glaser. One Sotheby’s International Realty handled developer sales and marketing for the building.

Actress Sela Ann Ward and her husband, a venture capitalist, recently sold a unit for $6.3 million; and Market America’s founder and CEO James Ridinger and his wife, Loren, bought a penthouse in December for $18.5 million.





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