Listing of unique riverfront property latest feather in Vero’s cap


Vero Beach just achieved another major real estate distinction with the listing of by far the largest riverfront residential property for sale on the east coast of Florida.

The classic Mediterranean-style home at 2380 Old Quay Dock Road, which sits on 42 manicured acres on the western shore of the Indian River Lagoon, directly across from John’s Island, is one of only five comparable waterfront properties on the entire eastern seaboard of the United States, according to Premier Estate Properties agent Melissa Talley.

“We did some research before Kay and I listed the home and discovered there are only four other residential properties with 30 to 100 acres on the market that are located directly on the Intracoastal Waterway or ocean coastline,” said Talley, who is co-listing the property with her partner, long-time broker associate Kay Brown.

With a listing price of $17 million, 2380 Quay Dock Road is the highest-priced mainland residential property in Indian River County at present and probably the most expensive ever.

As usual though, it seems like a land-rush bargain compared to waterfront estates in Palm Beach and South Florida. Intracoastal homes on less than 1/10th the land – two to four acres – in Miami are going for as high as $150 million and in Palm Beach an .8-acre intracoastal lot without a house at 940 N. Lake Way is on the market for $55 million.

Besides the 6,905-square-foot, 4-bedroom, 6-bath main house, Talley and Brown’s listing includes a 1,724-square-foot, 3-bedroom, 2-bath, Old Florida-style cottage, a 4,500-square-foot warehouse/workshop that Brown says would be perfect to house a collection of classic cars, a 3.25-acre lake and an astonishing 1,600 feet of river frontage, with an aluminum dock and boat house.

The grounds were laid out by world famous landscape and urban planning firm SWA Group Landscape, which has won more than 450 awards designing everything from residential properties to entire cities in the U.S., China and other countries.

The entry drive takes a long, slow curve around a grove of mature palm trees to cross a picturesque bridge before ascending to the main house where a stone courtyard with a blue-tiled fountain leads to a massive mahogany front door.

Earth from the lake excavation was used to raise the elevation of the house, which sits on a peninsula created by the meandering lake, and there is a tangible sense not just of arrival but of transformation when driving over the bridge and up to the house, a sense of entering a more refined world.

Island architect Clem Schaub, who designed both houses, told Vero Beach 32963 that the main home “set the highest of bars in design and execution for me and my career.

“I was a much younger person and relatively new architect in Vero Beach when my clients – now friends – hired me to first design the caretaker’s house and storage barn, then eventually the main home.

“It was a great collaboration where every detail was discussed and implemented with the great help of The Hill Group and specifically Ric Taylor, who worked with them at that time.

“The home is Mediterranean in spirit and materials but clean and crisp in its detailing. The exterior stucco is integrally colored and has a shell aggregate that looks incredible and has never been painted.

“The roof overhangs are shaped from Ipe – a form of teak – chosen for its hardness and longevity.

“We had the honor of working with Donald Kaufman, the well-known colorist, using ‘full-spectrum colors’ which are magical to this day.”

Like SWA Group, Kaufman has a big reputation. An artist with paintings in MoMa and the Whitney Museum of Art, he is also “a master architectural colorist,” according to an article in the New York Post about the sale of his home.

Becoming entranced with color as an artist, Kaufman evolved into a stellar career creating colors for specific projects, working in conjunction with architects like Schaub, and eventually launched a specialty paint manufacturing company.

Aiming for a quality of luminosity that makes paint appear to glow from within, Kaufman and his “wife and partner, artist Taffy Dahl … have created colors for a broad range of structures, from contemporary city apartments to great country houses, as well as hotels, restaurants, stores, libraries, and art museums,” Kaufman writes on his website.

David Sprouls, president of the New York School of Interior Design, called Kaufman, “brilliant – half scientist and half magician,” and an art gallery owner who hired Kaufman and Dahl to paint his gallery was so wowed that he gave the couple an opening with just the bare walls.

Besides a magical paint job, the stately two-story house has an authentic barrel tile roof, teak and stone floors, large, gracious rooms with built-ins, fine architectural details and wide, unobstructed views of the lagoon and tropical grounds. There is a chef’s island kitchen, spacious river-vista terrace and spa-like lap pool.

Practical features include solid concrete block construction on both levels, impact glass windows, and a 60 KW generator with two 1,000-gallon propane tanks.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to have a serene oasis in the middle of Vero Beach, with great privacy but still close to everything,” said Brown.

Though it is surrounded by the natural world with abundant wildlife and green, watery views in all directions, the home is “culturally and socially connect to the community … minutes from the Vero Beach Museum, Riverside Theatre, popular restaurants, luxe shopping, prestigious country clubs, exclusive golf courses, Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital, and the Vero Beach airport,” according to Brown and Talley.

The property is also strongly tied to the history of Indian River County. Quay Dock Road, which Brown said was built as a wagon road in the 1890s, runs along the southern boundary and slightly bisects the property. In those pioneer days, wagons carried material and supplies down to the water where they were ferried across to what is now John’s Island, and carried island produce back to the railroad tracks where it was shipped out on the Florida East Coast Railway.

That commerce continued until 1924 when the second bridge in Indian River County was built just north of the listed property. That drawbridge, known as Winter Beach Bridge, spanned the Indian River from North Winter Beach Road (now 69th Street) to the end of Old Winter Beach Road on the barrier island, where there once was a bridge tenders house and now is a small, little-known park, according to a historical plaque posted on the island shore.

From the 1920s until the 1960s when it burned down, that rickety wooden bridge was a main thoroughfare for tourists and locals going to and from the barrier Island, starting out in Model Ts and ending up in big 1960s sedans and pickup trucks.

Brown and Talley listed the home two weeks ago and “have had inquiries from four local agents with out-of-state buyers looking for land and privacy,” Talley said. “I’ve also had several locals reach out to me from John’s Island … I think the interest stems from the proximity [of the listing] to Gem Island. We have had inquiries from outside agents and direct calls to our office.”

“It is so ‘Old Florida.’ There is a Cross Creek feel to it,” said Talley, referring to the once bucolic hamlet where famed Florida author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings lived and wrote.

“It is a timeless masterpiece very reminiscent of the Mizner style,” Brown added.

Besides the 42-acre main property, which is bisected by Quay Dock Road, with 38 acres and the main house north and 4 acres with the cottage and warehouse south of the road, there is an adjoining 7-acre parcel that’s also for sale, but not listed.

“The owners won’t sell separately,” Talley said. “They will only sell it if they sell the main property.”

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