Surreal Estate: the $84M spec-house
The rich are different from you and me.
Apparently, they need more juice bars.
Or so I surmise from the specifics on an $84M Palm Beach spec house that’s on the market.
With nothing better to do the other evening, I grazed around the WSJ real estate news. Big news, of course, there was. The Neelemans of JetBlue wealth and fame are putting their 13,300 square foot digs in New Canaan, CT on the market. They’ve only been there are couple of years, but they may be relocating to Brazil, where David Neeleman has bought a budget airline. At least now the Neelemans know what they need in terms of space for their nine-kid family. They had been living in a paltry 8,000 square foot home, but this felt “squished.” Apparently you need at least 1,000 square foot per capita to feel unsquished. Which I do get on some level. Even without nine kids, I’d certainly feel less squished if we had more than 1,150 in square footage to our name.
Still, I think about the 1,600 square foot house I grew up in. We only had five kids, but I will admit that we grew up squished. Thank god for the clammy, unfinished, all-cement cellar where we could go to let off a bit of unsquishing steam. It was well-equipped for steam-letting: a battered, warped, out-of-tune upright piano; a sheet of plywood balanced over a much smaller old kitchen table, with a net clamped on it so we could play ping-pong; and an ancient, hand-me-down from the ages tricycle called the Fire Engine. My father had painted it bright red to disguise the fact that, on it, you could tricycle like it was 1930. But we knew. Although it was the trike of record for my sister Kath and I, by the mid-1950’s – despite my father’s refurbishing attempt – it was deemed too old and embarrassing for us to use any longer. The younger kids got new trikes; we all got new bikes. These were all stored in the cellar, but it was the Fire Engine that we used to rampage around on. (Once you got too big to ride it, you used it like a scooter.)
But I digress.
We were talking squished.
I know squished, and it actually is doable (if not entirely pleasant).
But maybe, for the Neelemans, it’s the four marginal kids that really push you over the square foot edge. And perhaps each of the Neeleman children needed their own plywood-over-old-kitchen-table ping-pong set up. Their own out-of-tune upright. Their own Fire Engine course.
While reading about the Neelemans, I spied an adjacent article on an $84M spec house.
Okay, it may not be the 27 story, billion dollar “house” that Mukesh Ambani just built for himself in Mumbai. But $84M is plenty of dough to spend on a house. Particularly a spec house. (The price is up from its original $75M asking. Real estate market in Florida be damned!)
The 27,355-square-foot, eight-bedroom, nine-bathroom mansion was built by Dan Swanson, a high-end developer, who’s built communities in Florida and is likely familiar with the spec gamble. He spared no expense: The home boasts a lakeside dining room that can accommodate more than 20 guests, six juice bars and a wine room with space for some 3,000 bottles.
Six juice bars.
Wouldn’t want to have to trek a couple of hundred feet, and down a flight of stairs, to grab a juice box or take a swig of SunSweet prune juice.
Wonder how they fit in. Are some of them out in public areas, in the halls between and among the bedrooms? Does the master suite gets its own juice bar.
And just what is a juice bar, by the way?
Is it strictly for juice? Is the juice on tap? Can they also carry water, soda, and a few bottles from the 3,000 bottle wine cellar?
How many seats per juice bar? Do the stools have backs? Do you need a juice bartender? Can you run a tab? Get shut off? Is there last call?
As is fitting an $84M anything, the $84M spec house has its own website. Where we learn that – surprise, surprise – this manse is:
Designed for large scale entertaining
- Fabulous art walls to showcase a major collection
- Lushly landscaped gardens for sculpture
- Secured parking for over 50 cars including oversized 5 bay garage
- Endless water views
- Magnificently landscaped gardens with fountains and decades old trees
- 500 Square foot entry veranda with three pairs of 13’ hand carved European doors
And, of course, the six juice bars. Wonder if they’re also hand carved and European.
- Morning room off kitchen for casual everyday living
I like the fact that there’s one spot in the house for everyday living. Although one would think that the juice bars would allow for a bit of everyday living, as well. Juice being an every day kind of drink, and everything.
- Sun-filled garden room ideal for large gatherings, ladies’ luncheons, casual or formal evening soirees
And I like the fact that there’s a special place for ladies’ luncheons and/or casual or formal evening soirees. (I’m no French major, and I hate to be a snotty nit-picker here, but doesn’t the word soiree imply evening?)
Maybe it’ll look better when the Ethan Allen is moved in, but it does look a bit of bleak without any furniture. I guess I like cozy too much to be comfortable here, even if I had $84M. And I really don’t need a place for ladies’ luncheons. That’s what we have “let’s meet at Cosi” for, no?
It’ll certainly be interesting to see whether its a Russian oligarch, Saudi royal fam member, or some got-rich-quick grandee who bites on this spec house.
Me? If I had $84M to spend on a house, I’d want something to my own liking. But that’s just me.
The spec-builder may want to give LeBron James a holler, as he’s recently decamped from Ohio to Florida to dribble a ball for the Miami Heat. He left behind the dream house he built in Ohio, so perhaps he’s dream-housed out and would be happy to plunk down in something where someone else had picked out the fixtures, flooring, and lighting. And figured out where to locate the six juice bars.