$19.75 million oceanfront lot primed for ‘super estate’


A South Florida development team that made national real estate news a year ago when it announced plans for a $60-million spec home in Vero’s estate section has switched gears.

Now, instead of offering a completed compound, developers Nathan Saks and Victor Hernandez have listed the filled, ready-to-build lot with an approved set of plans for $19,750,000.

“We are including all the entitlements, permits and renderings. Everything is ready to go,” said Douglas Elliman co-listing agent Tracy Ward, who is a broker associate on the nationally renowned the Eklund Gomes Team, which sold $3.7 billion in 2023.

“The developers put in 24 feet of marine grade fill, spending upwards of $5 million on that and the retaining wall, and the permits are active. Someone could start building there tomorrow.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to present this incredible opportunity to craft a ‘super estate’ in a location that is truly a dream realized,” team leader and celebrity broker Fredrik Eklund told Vero Beach 32963 last week.

The 2.5-acre lot at 2040 S. A1A – a mile south of The Moorings – has had some notable Vero names attached to it.

It was owned 15 years ago by Vero Beach Hotel and Spa developer George Heaton and his son Lee Heaton, who currently is developing Ouanalao Residences & Resort on South Hutchinson Island.

The next owner was Philadelphia billionaire Brook Lenfest, who helped start the estate section boom when he bought up numerous lots and built two of the earliest large luxury homes in the neighborhood.

Lenfest later sold off his Vero holdings to concentrate on hotel development in Philadelphia and Saks bought 2040 from him in 2018, paying $3,465,500.

As the pandemic property mania drove prices dramatically higher along the Florida coast, Saks pushed ahead with plans to build an ultra-luxe estate on the lot, bringing in Haute & Boss, a Miami-based project management and design-development firm, to partner with him in the venture.

“The property is spectacular, set apart by the unspoiled, pristine, raw beauty of the ocean, and Villa Paradiso will represent a pinnacle of luxury never before seen in Vero Beach,” Haute & Boss principal Hernandez said in January 2023 when the project was announced.”

The 21,000-square-foot tropical modern estate was designed by Choeff Levy Fischman, a Miami-based architecture studio with an incredible portfolio of dramatic and exquisite modernist homes, mostly in Miami Beach.

The firm’s renderings of Villa Paradiso evoke a residential ideal as much as a specific structure, showing a beautiful, four-building compound in a style that somehow makes poured concrete roofs and cantilevered sections appear light and airy, floating atop glass partitions.

The estate was the highest-priced property ever listed north of Palm Beach at that time, according to the public relations firm that supported the project launch.

Project marketing got off to a good start, with details of the lavish estate reported in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Real Deal and other publications read by real estate aficionados, and the developers proceeded to fill the lot to a height where the main house will have both ocean and Indian River Lagoon views.

But then at some point in 2023, Saks decided to sell the finished lot to an end user or developer instead of building the estate himself.

The developers did not hire an outside brokerage to sell the spec house, preferring to market it to their own network of ultra-high-net-worth clients, according to Hernandez.

When they changed directions and decided to sell the lot and plans instead of the finished project, though, they also decided to bring in some high-powered help.

“Nathan Saks and Fredrik know each other, and Nathan reached out to Fredrik about representing the property,” said Ward, who is co-listing the property with Douglas Elliman agent Kevin Kelly.

“We are Fredrik’s boots on the ground” along the stretch of coast from West Palm Beach to Vero. “We did our research and came up with the price and communicated with Nathan, explaining everything the team does. It was actually a long process. Nathan loves this property and is very passionate about it.”

The project was still listed as coming soon on Monday. Ward and Kelly are completing a project website and other marketing materials and will go live on the MLS in the next week or two, according to Ward.

“We have shown it to our internal network; it has started to spread from there.” Ward said. “The reaction has been very enthusiastic. We’ve heard, ‘Oh, my God, look at that property’ more than once.”

Kelly said the estate section is well known to agents in Jupiter and West Palm Beach, where he and Ward have their offices.

“People are absolutely familiar with it and call it the Hamptons of Florida,” Kelly said. “And the metaphor works. I am from New York and know both Southampton and East Hampton well. The drive from the property to Vero’s island village is a lot like the drive to South Hampton, on a smaller scale, with a similar look and feel.”

“Markets like Palm Beach and Miami have become overcrowded and can’t offer the same kind of idyllic enclave that Vero Beach can,” Hernandez told Vero Beach 32963 last year.

“The city is consistently named one of the top 10 happiest seaside towns in America.”

“People are migrating here from the Northeast and coming up from Miami looking for tranquility,” Ward said. “That smalltown vibe is why buyers come to the Vero Beach area.”

Besides targeting the usual suspects in South Florida and the Northeast, Ward and Kelly, who have been partners for 13 years, plan to market the building opportunity nationally and internationally to both end users and developers.

“Frederick’s network is massive, it is international, so we are going to be able to reach other countries that are sending luxury buyers here,” Kelly said. “His notoriety and expertise in the Florida market will help us expand beyond Europe to include South America and Asia as we look for the right person.

“Our signage along A1A is going to have Fred on it. When Nathan came to him, Fred told us, ‘This is your neighborhood, you handle it.’ But we want him involved. At some point we are going to bring him up here as part of our marketing to take advantage of his tremendous personality.”

If the buyer proceeds with the approved plans, they will build a 14,669-square-foot main house with 11 bathrooms and eight bedrooms – including an 1,850-square-foot owner’s suite – sitting high up on a lot with 150 linear feet of ocean frontage on a wide, accreting beach.

The 2,300-square-foot guest house has more bedrooms and bathrooms and a second “gourmet kitchen,” and there is a 2,200-square-foot standalone spa, gym and wellness center with fitness, yoga, treatment and massage rooms, a gym lounge and bar, cold-plunge pool, sauna, steam room, 1,000-square-foot workout terrace and Zen waterfall wall.

There is a guardhouse at the entrance, garage parking for 14 vehicles, and three swimming pools – a 60-foot, oceanfront infinity pool, a lap pool and yet another pool at the guest house, just in case.

The balconies, patios, decks and other outdoor space would make a Ritz Carlton blush.

Eklund leads a team of about 80 agents who sold $3.77 billion “in celebrity-heavy markets in four states: New York, Florida, California and Texas,” according to an article published last month in The Hollywood Reporter.

The former “Million Dollar Listings” cast member “moved to Miami full-time last year, where he says, ‘the demand is really roaring right now’” according to the newspaper.

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