Lavish Palm Beach estate owned by the Ziff family sells for $94M after six years on the market

An enormous Florida estate that was previously among the most expensive real estate listings in the country has finally sold for $94.17million after six years on the market.

The Ziff publishing family first put the 15-acre oceanfront property known as ‘Gemini’ up for sale in 2015 at just under $200million but the price dropped as no buyer looked keen on picking up the sprawling estate.

Located on Manalapan, just south of Palm Beach, the entire estate covers the width ocean-to-lake of the barrier island and is described as the perfect family compound with a main house, a second guest house, four beachside cottages and staff housing.

A deed has not yet been recorded and so the buyer’s identity is not known, said Palm Beach Daily News, who first reported on the deal.

The $94.17million price tag was reported Tuesday in local listings and will set a record for the wealthy town if confirmed in records at the Palm Beach County courthouse. 

It will also be among the highest-dollar sales ever to close in Florida. 

Located at 2000 S. Ocean Blvd near the Boynton Beach Inlet, the estate is surrounded by dense vegetation and has about 1,200 feet of beach frontage and 1,300 feet of waterfront.

Throughout all the various houses on the property, there is a total of 85,000 square feet of living space with 33 bedrooms, 34 bathrooms and 13 powder rooms.

The ‘Gemini’ estate just south of Palm Beach owned by the Ziff publishing family has sold for $94.17million

The main Mediterranean-style house has twelve bedrooms while the guest house, known as Mango House, also has seven bedrooms.

Each of the beachside cottages has four bedrooms while the staff housing includes four studios.

All feature open-air loggias, terraces, balconies, and French doors to take advantage of the views. 

The park-like outdoor area features amenities such as a PGA-standard golf-practice area, a regulation tennis court, a half-basketball court, a freshwater pond, an 18-hole miniature golf course, a boat dock, a large-scale model train, and a bird sanctuary and a butterfly garden.

The estate was branded Gemini because of its positioning on both sides of South Ocean Boulevard with the coastal road running through the property.

However, the road is hidden by the manner in which the main house is positioned. The different halves of the estate can be reached through tunnels that run under the road, including one that is a furnished 15-foot-wide gallery.

Walls and landscaping also keep the property screened from view from the road.

The main house stands on top of a dune offering 360 views with the main entrance at the lakefront side of the estate.

It was first designed in the 1940s by noted society architect Marion Sims Wyeth but was renovated as recently as 2002. The house covers about 62,220 square feet with a 17,950 square feet basement.

The interiors include abundant stone, rich wood millwork, a grand staircase and plenty of wall space for an art collection. There are also informal and formal living and dining rooms, a media room, libraries, offices, a wine cellar and two elevators.

The Sotheby’s listing described the estate as ‘unrivaled among South Florida’s most significant waterfront properties’. 

Other previous owners included the Lambert pharmaceutical family – the original owner – and Loel and Gloria Guinness, who used it as a seasonal home before it passed to the Ziff family in the early 1990s.

William B. Ziff Jr is first listed in the property’s records from 1992 when he used it as a winter getaway for family and guests.

Tamsen Ann Ziff (pictured above in 2010), wife of William B. Ziff Jr, is Vice President of the limited liability company, Ocean Boulevard Properties LLC which had ownership of the home since 1999. Her husband died in 2006

Tamsen Ann Ziff (pictured above in 2010), wife of William B. Ziff Jr, is Vice President of the limited liability company, Ocean Boulevard Properties LLC which had ownership of the home since 1999. Her husband died in 2006

In 1999, Ziff Jr. and his three sons, along with his second wife, Tamsen Ann Ziff, signed a $19.6 million deed transferring their ownership to a limited liability company, Ocean Boulevard Properties LLC. Tamsen Ann serves as Vice President of the company.

The Ziff family is ranked No. 19 on Forbes’ 2020 list of American’s wealthiest families. The family’s fortune come from the Ziff Davis publishing empire and investments.

Will Ziff Sr. co-founded the company in 1927 and with Will Jr., it grew into a media empire. The family divested itself from the company in the early 1990s to focus on investments. William B. Ziff Jr. died in 2006.

Their wealth is currently managed by Ziff Brothers Investments of New York City, which is controlled by the three brothers — Dirk, Robert, and Daniel Ziff.

As the family had struggled to move the property in the past six years, they sought approval just over a year ago to subdivide the property into four ocean-to-lake lots, which could be sold separately.

It was approved unanimously in January 2020 with a deadline set for January 28, 2022, for the final subdivision agreement and plat to be finalized, according to Palm Beach Daily News.

The family has also been tied to the purchase of an oceanfront estate in Seminole Landing near North Palm Beach in 2009.

Their sale of Gemini is among a string of recent mega-money transactions in Palm Beach in recent months as monied families from along the east coast pour into Florida.

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