Friday, April 18, 2008

UPDATE: Sidney Kimmel

By now all the children should all be well acquainted with the tremendous Thierry Despont designed digs in posh Palm Beach that mid-priced ladees apparel titan and movie producer Sidney Kimmel (The Kite Runner) foisted on to the market in April of 2008 with a spine tingling $81,500,000 asking price.

Well, kids, in less than one month, the 32,316 square foot limestone pile has been sold...for full price. Yes children you read that correctly. Sold. For. Full. Price. That ought to scare the livin' daylights out of all the folks fretting and fussing about the widening gap between the merely rich and the ridiculously rich.

Your Mama hears–and reports say–there were several financially qualified and interested parties who made offers on the sprawling 5.9 acre ocean front property which was reportedly scooped up by a fifty-something year old dude named John L. Thornton. Unless you follow the shocking shenanigans on Wall Street or consider yourself a bit of a policy wonk you'd be forgiven for not knowing who Mister Thornton is or why he's got so much damn money to spend on a place in Palm Beach that is unlikely to be his full time residence.

Once upon a time Mister Thornton was the president of glitzy Goldman Sachs, and all the children know that no matter what the economy is doing, the moolah is mountainous at the upper echelons of big name investment banks like Goldman Sachs. Mister Thornton now serves as the chairman of the Brookings Institution, a non-partisan and very powerful public policy think tank in Washington D.C. which has a reputation for being a little more lefty than righty. According to the Palm Beach Post Mister Thornton also serves as a director of Intel Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, an impressive resume to be sure. That is if you're impressed by these sorts of associations.

This is not the first time Mister Thornton has dabbled in the high priced real estate game. In 2001, Mister Thornton reportedly paid more than $18,000,000 for a 118 acre estate in Bedminster, New Jersey (property records indicate a purchase price of $19,366,779), and it appears that he and his wifey also own a house on Chester Square in London's swank Belgravia district, which happens to the same nabe where former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher makes a home as well as Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich...although Mister Abramovich owns so many homes it's difficult to know if he actually lives in Belgravia or simply puts furniture in a house there. Anyhoo, Your Mama presumes that Mister and Missus Thornton also own cribs in New York City and Washington D.C., however we could find no records to confirm that so don't anyone repeat that like it's some sort of truth.

In other high priced Palm Beach real estate news, the Palm Beach Daily News and the Wall Street Journal recently reported that Venezuelan banker Victor Vargas has entered a contract to fork over "about $70,000,000" for a 30,206 square foot Peter Marino designed Polynesian-style paradise owned by billionaire art collectors George and Frayda Lindemann. The 3.7 acre Lindemann property happens to sit right next door to the $81,500,000 Kimmel/Thornton estate. Mister and Missus Lindemann's house was not on the market, but apparently SeƱor Vargas' people presented an offer To the Lindemann's people they could not refuse. Who can blame them? Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter would not refuse "about $70,000,000" for our little beach hut either.

The Wall Street Journal is also reporting that the musty looking Addison Mizner designed Palm Beach estate owned by the estate of Cheng Ching Wang, dress designer Vera Wang's deceased daddy, has went to contract soon after the asking price was reduced from $23,000,000 to $19,000,000. This is all, of course, on the heels of real estate tycoon Lloyd Goldman picking up the spectacular Howard Gittis estate for $22,450,000 just six weeks after it hit the market with a $23,500,000 asking price.

So while the market tumbles in most parts of the good ol' U-nited States of America, it remains white hot in the highest price points of Palm Beach. Food for thought.

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