With a sale recorded at $95 million, Edward “Chris” G. Watkins and his wife, Karen, have said arrivederci to Pietra Mare, the Italian-style oceanfront mansion they built on Palm Beach’s Billionaires Row.
A trust was on the buyer’s side of the off-market sale of the estate at 1341 S. Ocean Blvd., according to the deed recorded Wednesday. West Palm Beach attorney Ronald S. Kochmann served as trustee of the 1341 South Ocean Boulevard Trust.
The sale is among most expensive properties ever sold in Palm Beach. The actual amount changing hands was just over $100 million, according to sources familiar with the deal.
Kochmann couldn’t be immediately reached, and because of rules governing trusts, no other information about the buyer’s side of the sale was available in public records.
The seven-bedroom residence has 28,400 total square feet and stands on a lot of more than 2 acres. The house was completed in 2003 and faces about 170 feet of oceanfront, about a half-mile south of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago.
Broker Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates handled both sides of the sale, his office confirmed. He couldn’t be reached.
The estate’s name, Italian for “stone” and “sea,” is a reference to its coquina exterior and its seaside location.
Immediately south of the landmarked Casa Apava estate, the mansion is on a stretch of coastal road known to locals as Billionaires Row because the neighborhood is home to some of the most expensive estates on the island.
Edward Watkins had the house homesteaded in the latest Palm Beach County tax rolls. It was owed through the Goodrich Florida Realty Trust, for which Joseph Marzilli and Jennifer R. Wynne served as co-trustees, the deed shows.
Moens had previously listed the property at $110 million in the local multiple listing service but he withdrew the listing March 5, records show. It entered the MLS in June, although Moens first advertised the estate for sale in late November 2019. The price included “select furnishings,” according to his previous listing
More: Priced at $110M, Watkinses’ Billionaires Row estate returns to market
The property had been previously marketed, in and out of the MLS, for about two years at slightly lower prices by another agency.
Moens’ marketing materials described the house as “an oceanfront resident of unparalleled quality and timeless appeal.”
Edward Watkins formerly owned Simplex Time Recorder, a Massachusetts company started by his grandfather. Watkins expanded the company into fire alarms and security systems, and sold it for $1.2 billion to Tyco International in 2000, according to news reports at the time.
Watkins paid a recorded $17.68 million for the South Ocean Boulevard property in 2001, according to property records.
The sellers own a lakefront Georgian-style house at 735 Island Drive on Everglades Island, which they bought in October 2017 for a recorded $23.8 million using an ownership company, property records show.
More:UPDATE: Billionaire buys ‘spec’ mansion on Everglades Island for $49 million: deed
The former Watkins house on South Ocean Boulevard was designed by Palm Beach architect Jeffery Smith of Smith Architectural Group in the style of a villa from the Italian Renaissance. In a chapter about the house in Smith’s monograph, Palm Beach Splendor, Edward Watkins said he was regularly amazed by the views afforded in every room.
Interior details include elaborately designed floors of old oak from France, the dining room’s intricately coffered and hand-carved wood ceiling, and hand-painted kitchen tiles from Portugal. The fireplace mantelpieces in the great room and library are from England, while the one in the dining room came from Italy. The master suite occupies much of the second floor.
The Watkinses house on Everglades Island was completed in 2008 as a custom home for Ann Ames and her late husband, Steven, whose mother was part of the Annenberg family, known for philanthropy through the Annenberg Foundation. The Watkinses carried out an extensive renovation to the seven-bedroom house with 11,775 square feet of living space inside and on its lakeside loggias, according to courthouse records. The lot measures about three-quarters of an acre with 190 feet of frontage.
Broker Linda Gary of Linda A. Gary Real Estate handled the buyer’s end of the 2017 sale on Everglades Island opposite listing agents Mary Boykin and Crissy Poorman, of Sotheby’s International Realty. The three agents have always declined to discuss the sale or identify the buyers of the Everglades Island house.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.