Guest Blog Post by Jennifer McGuire
Casa Casuarina, formerly known as the Versace Mansion, was auctioned off in South Beach yesterday for $41.5 million – a bargain in the eyes of most who have entered this palatial Miami icon. Listed by Coldwell Banker’s power team, The Jills, the mansion is as notorious for the decadent parties Versace held there as it is for being the site of his tragic murder in 1997.
I was among the lucky few with a ring-side seat at the auction. If you’re old enough to remember Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, this could have easily been an episode. (If you’re not, just think Kardashians.) The bids opened at a paltry $25 million, which was still just a tad over my budget, so I had to refrain from getting in on the action. But watching from the sidelines was just as entertaining. An auction of this magnitude is exactly what you’d expect – steely eyed lawyers wearing well-practiced poker faces, gregarious auctioneers egging them on, subtle cues from the hard-to-spot decision makers, gorgeous young ladies in expensive designer outfits perched nearby watching the events unfold.
The auction itself took only about five minutes, after which auction company, The Jills and the new owners stepped out onto the marble steps leading to Ocean Drive to make the announcement.
They were greeted by a throng of news cameras, photographers and journalists with a few curious tourists mixed in, who had been standing outside in the sweltering Miami heat, anxiously awaiting the news. The helicopter circling overhead and the double decker tourist bus that passed by with a few dozen cameras plastered to the windows just added to the circus feel.
After making the announcement, a few of the new owners did what any happy new home owner would do – they shed their suit jackets and jumped into the 24-karat-lined pool. Buckets of bubbly magically appeared from the hotel next door, and it turned into one of those impromptu celebrations that earned the mansion its reputation.
My family is purchasing a new home next month, and I plan to do the exact same thing. Of course, I’m fairly certain there’s no gold lining our pool, and the bubbly will come from the grocery store.
Jennifer McGuire is the PR & Communications Manager for NRT LLC – Southeast