Miami Beach’s Star Island regains its lusterAugust 25, 2020
Miami Beach’s Star Island has long attracted such high-profile residents as Sean “Diddy” Combs, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, plastic surgeon Leonard Hochstein, and Philip and Patricia Frost.
Soon, more stars may be heading to the exclusive island — where all homes are waterfront. After years of zero to few sales, a few mansions have recently sold, one house recently rented for $250,000 a month, and a number of properties are under contract, spurred by the pandemic.
The rumored buyers: Superstar couple Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
Rodriguez and Lopez have reportedly toured the guard-gated island, and are said to be the buyers of 13 Star Island, a 10-bedroom, 15,011-square-foot mansion. It’s under contract and expected to close soon, according to sources. E&A Estates, tied to Patrick Green, owns the house, which is on the market for $40 million. In early August, Rodriguez posted a photo on Instagram that appears to have been taken from the dock of 13 Star Island.
In late July, Lennar Corp. Executive Chairman Stuart Miller, who owns a number of properties on Star Island, sold 22 Star Island Drive for $49.5 million. The modern compound, which was designed by Domo Architecture + Design and built by Todd Michael Glaser, sold for $51.5 million including furnishings. That sale, brokers say, had a domino effect on other deals.
A trust managed by Donna Forlizzi of Family Offices Services & Support in the Boston area purchased the property. Sources said Kraft, the embattled billionaire owner of the Patriots and the Kraft Group, is the buyer, though people close to the deal denied that to be true.
Like other waterfront areas of South Florida, including Palm Beach, pockets of Miami Beach, Gables Estates and Cocoplum, and Fort Lauderdale, the market has been on fire on Star Island during the pandemic. Brokers attribute the action to a few things: sellers dropping their prices, and coronavirus accelerating the trend of wealthy buyers leaving high-tax markets to live in Florida, a no income tax state.
“This didn’t happen because of the pandemic,” said Jill Hertzberg, who is part of the Jills Zeder Group at Coldwell Banker. “Smart, wealthy people from the Northeast corridor and California recognized there were tremendous benefits by moving to Florida. They come here for Art Basel, and have seen the benefit of living here. Covid may have just pushed that timeline up a bit.”
Hertzberg declined to comment on 13 Star Island Drive, which she is listing, but confirmed it is under contract.
Next door, 14 Star Island Drive is also pending with an asking price of $30 million, according to the Multiple Listing Service. So is 29 Star Island, which is on the market for $22.9 million. Property records show Elisa Gosselin, wife of Mexican hotelier and architect Carlos Gosselin Maurel is selling 14 Star Island; and 29 Star Island is owned by former U.S. ambassador Paul Cejas. Hertzberg also has those listings. Cejas’ home hit the market in September for $29 million, and since then its asking price got a 21 percent haircut.
The properties at 11 and 12 Star Island Drive, owned by Miller, are also reportedly under contract in off-market deals.
Recent closed sales include 34 Star Island Drive, which sold for $12 million, and 44 Star Island Drive, which sold in June for $10 million. Shay Kostiner sold the latter for less than half the original asking price of $24 million.
“Ultimately, these properties have been on the market for quite some time and you had a lot of sideline buyers constantly monitoring these properties,” said Oren Alexander of Douglas Elliman.
Alexander said that the sale of 22 Star Island instilled market confidence in Star Island.
“As soon as they saw one of the properties go into contract, they all jumped in the game,” he said. “And before you know it they’re gone.”
Dora Puig, who is listing 46 Star Island Drive for nearly $40 million, recently signed a one-year rental at 27 Star Island for a whopping $250,000 a month, according to the Multiple Listing Service. Puig represented the tenant, and Alyssa Morgan of the Jills Zeder Team represented the owner, John Jansheski.
Puig declined to comment on the lease, but said there is a “try before you buy” sentiment among some recent transplants to Miami Beach who are uncertain about staying in New York for the fall and winter months. Renters and buyers are traveling to Miami Beach on private jets, just as they are in Palm Beach. Even if Art Basel is canceled in December, her clients are looking to either buy or rent for a year, she said.
Brokers in South Florida, as well as Aspen, Beverly Hills and Connecticut are now selling the properties they couldn’t sell for two years, Hertzberg said.
“Everyone’s hopeful that life will return to normal,” she said. “But everyone’s realistic enough to know this won’t happen so fast.”
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