For sale in West Palm Beach: Mansion with a Palm Beach price tag

Luxury homes define the lifestyle of Palm Beach. But land prices are high and waterfront homes are scarce, with some costing $30 million or more for new construction.

Now comes a developer who proposes an alternative: a new waterfront mansion that’s move-in ready and half the price — on the other side of the bridge.

Developer SteveBendat is putting the finishing touches on a new “spec” home on the Intracoastal Waterway at 2914 Washington Road in West Palm Beach. The asking price is $13.5 million.

The astonishing price tag is about three times what even the toniest homes have sold for in this once-sleepy enclave, south of Okeechobee Boulevard and east of Dixie Highway. The homes in and around the El Cid and Prospect Park neighborhoods feature a number of real estate gems. During the past four years, these neighborhoods have seen an increase in the number of buyers who are paying big money to buy and improve historic homes, or demolish non-historic properties to build something new.

Bendat, of the Aquantis Group, is optimistic his six-bedroom, 9½-bathroom luxury home on Washington Road will stand up to even the most upscale Palm Beach properties.

“We have better quality features and better views” than homes similarly priced on the island, Bendat said. “We can compete on any level with any luxury estate on Palm Beach.”

He’s particularly hoping to attract the attention of hedge fund and private equity executives opening offices in West Palm Beach, an increasingly popular refuge for firms fleeing high-tax states in the Northeast.

The Washington Road mansion buyer “could be a guy from New York or Boston,” Bendat said. “It’s someone who likes a boat and wants to buy a lifestyle.”

Building ultra-luxury residences in West Palm Beach isn’t so far-fetched, some real estate agents say. In fact, it could be the next trend.

The construction of The Bristol, the most expensive condominium ever built in Palm Beach County, has kicked off an increasing interest in the city by people who could afford Palm Beach but, for various reasons, are choosing West Palm Beach instead.

This includes a number of Palm Beach residents, including philanthropist Sydell Miller, who bought an entire floor for a rumored $40 million at the 1112 S. Flagler Drive condominium. Other units in The Bristol average about $10 million each, and brokers say about half of the West Palm Beach tower’s sales are from Palm Beach residents.

“The reality is these two communities are going to merge and blend. You’ll see it more and more. This is the beginning,” said Burt Minkoff, a sales associate with the Corcoran Group on Palm Beach.

It’s certainly what Bendat hoped for when he paid $2.8 million for the 2914 Washington Road property in 2015. He demolished the house on it, then spent two years and $8 million building the mansion.

The idea of building ultra-luxury on the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway grew out of an idea by Leslie Holvey, an associate at The Fite Group Luxury Homes on Palm Beach.

Holvey said she noticed this portion of the city was a hidden gem, near but not in the city’s lively downtown. It’s also east of the bustling South Dixie Highway corridor, where investors and developers have poured money into new restaurants, businesses and even a new school.

With increased downtown traffic has come longer wait times to cross the bridges from Palm Beach. For some people, living in West Palm Beach just outside downtown is more convenient, Holvey said.

Holvey convinced Bendat to go on a mini-shopping spree, snapping up five homes that either are on or face the Intracoastal Waterway. The first to be built is this home on Washington Road, located east of Flagler Drive directly on the water.

Bendat crafted the neutral-toned home into a high-tech haven, filled with hidden speakers and the latest in technology for lighting and music. But he was careful to incorporate nature into the home’s design, resulting in water views in every room except the dining room, which has a water feature.

The two-story gated house has a granite driveway set in cement, a 45-foot-by-18-foot infinity pool, fire pits, cabana, grill, summer kitchen and a private boat dock. Inside the home, the main room features a 24-foot tall ceiling, bathrooms with wall-mounted toilets and $65,000 worth of high-end faucets and fixtures. The home, which features limestone floors, has seven fireplaces, an elevator and a wine storage area.

The home also comes with at least five televisions, including a 75-inch TV in the family room that can descend from above a fireplace for ease of viewing from a sofa — or be rotated to face the kitchen, which has five ovens.

There’s 6,700 square feet under air, and 10,000 square feet total, if you include the loggias and balconies. A second-story patio off the master bedroom, plus a guest house, complete the property.

Hedge fund executives seems to like the idea of a tech-savvy home. “High-tech property is the future of Palm Beach County,” said David Goodboy, founder of the Palm Beach Hedge Fund Association, which is holding a private networking event on April 26 at the home.

But not everyone is convinced this part of West Palm Beach can support this kind of house at that kind of price.

“No. Not on the west side of the Intracoastal,” said real estate broker and investor Jonathan Gladstone.  “West Palm Beach is West Palm Beach.”

Gladstone knows this part of the city well. He purchased an El Cid home for $550,000, then spent $275,000 improving it. It’s now listed for sale for $899,000. Gladstone said there also are plenty of “amazing” homes for sale along Flagler Drive in the $2 million-$4 million range.

Minkoff acknowledged the Bendat home is “definitely an experiment.” But he noted there’s a limited supply of inventory on Palm Beach, and even fewer available lots in the family-oriented north end of the island. Lots on the water are even harder to find.

After all, “Where else are you going to go if you want to buy something on the water?” asked real estate broker Rebel Cook, who thinks the bet will pay off. “You go where the water is, and that’s the Intracoastal,” said Cook, leader of the Economic Forum, a business group.

Bendat said he’s so optimistic, he’s about to commence construction on his next property, a vacant corner lot at 6717 S. Flagler Drive, where Forest Hill Boulevard meets the water.

That home, which will be ultra-modern, could be priced as high as $15 million, he said.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

Sears files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
Sears files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Sears Holdings has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in White Plains, New York, multiple news outlets are reporting. The iconic company, which owns Sears and Kmart, said early Monday that it will shutter 142 of its stores “near the end of the year” in addition to 46 closures announced this summer. A list of the affected locations...
Monday Meeting: Jaime Estremera-Fitzgerald wants us to age in place
Monday Meeting: Jaime Estremera-Fitzgerald wants us to age in place

Jaime Estremera-Fitzgerald wants you to enjoy a long and happy retirement — in your home. His mission as CEO of the local Area Agency on Aging is to further the opportunity for that to happen. He points out that Florida leads the nation in the percentage of residents who are 60 and older. In fact, a University of Florida study calls Florida &ldquo...
Even after covenants expire, HOA may be able to collect assessments

To start this week, and in the continuing story surrounding the application of term limits pursuant to the Condominium Act, the Division of Condominiums has issued a declaratory statement advising a condominium in Marco Island that “if at the next scheduled election the current board member has served on the board for eight consecutive years...
Whole lotta love for Whole Foods — but will chain come to Boynton Beach?
Whole lotta love for Whole Foods — but will chain come to Boynton Beach?

A choice piece of land near Boynton Beach could soon become the site of a new grocery store. Will it be Whole Foods Market ? Owner 13th Floor Investments , a Miami-based firm, isn’t saying, for now. But residents near the property at the northeast corner of Boynton Beach...
Hurricane Michael’s estimated losses range up to $8 billion
Hurricane Michael’s estimated losses range up to $8 billion

The full extent of Hurricane Michael’s destruction will not become apparent for some time, but early industry estimates put insured damage as high as $8 billion — below the $10.5 billion in Florida losses incurred from last year’s Hurricane Irma, though no less harmful and devastating to those in its path. Insured losses will reach...
More Stories