Companies linked to billionaire cosmetics executive William P. Lauder of Estee Lauder Cos. own the beachfront mansion at 1071 N. Ocean Blvd and a vacant lot next door.
It would be the most expensive tear-down in Palm Beach history.
A controversial oceanfront mansion appears to be headed for demolition in Palm Beach after quietly changing hands for more than $110 million late last year, the Palm Beach Daily News has confirmed.
The six-year-old mansion at 1071 N. Ocean Blvd. is owned by a company linked to cosmetics billionaire William P. Lauder, who also owns a vacant lot next door through a different ownership entity, sources tell the Daily News.
The newspaper is the first outlet to report the sale of No. 1071 and its pending demolition.
Lauder’s company bought the mansion in an off-market deal with an unusual structure that kept the sale price out of courthouse records.
On Monday, passersby could see a Town of Palm Beach demolition notice fastened to driveway gates at No. 1071. Dated Sept. 15, the notice referenced the demolition permit being reviewed by the town and said the owner intends “to demolish” the house. The demolition notice was signed by real estate attorney James M. Crowley of the Gunster law firm, representing the owner.
Behind the gate, crews using heavy equipment had already removed the mansion’s front lawn and razed the motor court. On Tuesday, landscape workers could be seen uprooting trees and shrubbery.
The exterior of the house can’t be razed until the town issues a final demolition permit, according to an email from the planning, zoning and building department. The town has given the demolition applicant a list of items that still must be satisfied before the permit can be issued.
The town’s building official has already granted permission to pursue the interior demolition, because the owner wanted to remove and “donate interior finishes rather than having them thrown away,” the email said.
Palm Beach mansion has nearly 36,000 square feet
The seven-bedroom mansion with French-inspired architecture was completed in 2016 with nearly 36,000 square feet of living space, inside and out. On an oversize lot, the two-story house with a basement faces 242 feet of beachfront, a third of a mile north of the Palm Beach Country Club.
The mansion has frequently drawn criticism from neighborhood activists and officials at meetings of the Town Council and Architectural Commission during discussions about the ever-expanding size of proposed houses. Critics have derided the mansion as being too massive for its lot and out of scale with other houses in the neighborhood.
Lauder’s side-by-side properties total more than 2.25 acres with about 375 feet of beachfront, records show.
Lauder already has won the town’s approval to build a mansion on the vacant lot immediately to the south at 1063 N. Ocean Blvd. Although the Architectural Commission greenlighted the plans in early 2021, the house hasn’t yet been built. Plans for a new residence that might straddle both lots have not been submitted to Town Hall.
Lauder is executive chairman of The Estée Lauder Cos. His parents are Leonard and the late Evelyn Lauder and his grandmother was Estée Lauder, the late cosmetics pioneer.
A third-generation Palm Beach property owner, William Lauder has a net worth estimated by Forbes at $3.8 billion. He was ranked No. 317 among the richest Americans on the just-released Forbes 400 list. In April, he landed in the 801st spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest billionaires.
The mansion is technically owned by a Delaware limited liability company, Reiwa Holdings LLC, property records show, which took possession of it via a deed recorded Dec. 21 by the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office.
The seller in that deal was a Florida limited liability company named Reiwa LLC. That company is linked to Susan Salice and her husband, financier Thomas P. Salice, who co-founded SFW Capital Partners, where he is a partner and serves as chairman of its investment committee.
Because no price was recorded with the deed, courthouse records suggest the sale was structured in an unusual way. Under one likely scenario, William Lauder would have bought into the ownership of Reiwa LLC and then deeded the mansion to his own limited liability company, which would have served as the “conduit entity” mentioned on the deed.
The Salice-linked company bought the house in July 2019 for $40.42 million in a more conventional transaction. The seller in that deal was a trust affiliated with Philadelphia businessman Vahan Gureghian and his attorney wife, Danielle, who built the mansion as a custom home but never moved in.
Broker Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates acted on the Salices’ behalf in the 2019 deal and is said to also have taken part in last year’s sale.
Agent Jim McCann of Premier Estate Properties, who handled both sides of the sale when Lauder’s company bought the property next door, may also have been involved in the most recent sale.
Lauder, Thomas Salice and Crowley did not respond to messages requesting comments for this story. Moens, who customarily declines to discuss sales with the press, also couldn't be reached and his office declined to comment. McCann also could not be reached, so his involvement in the sale of the mansion is unclear.
Before the final demolition permit for the mansion can be issued, Town Hall staff must receive an updated construction schedule and review plans for a fence to screen the property while the work proceeds to ensure it meets code requirements. In addition, any work east of the “coastal construction control line” also would need a separate permit from the Department of Environmental Protection.
Mansion in Palm Beach has oceanfront swimming pool
With a modified H-shape and a basement, the house was designed with a 40-by-37-foot grand salon, a sweeping staircase, a library, a pair of two-bedroom oceanview guest apartments, dual seaside balconies, a gym, a home theater and a pub room. On the ocean side are a loggia, summer kitchen, infinity-edge pool and a whirlpool spa.
After taking possession of the house, the Salices changed the red barrel-tile roof to a more-sedate gray shingle style, in keeping with the chateau-like architecture.
Lauder’s company, 1063 N Ocean Blvd LLC, paid $25.4 million for the property next door in April 2020 and later demolished a residence that had stood there since the early 1960s. The house had been the home of the late businessman Morton Mandel and his wife, Barbara, philanthropists whose names grace the Palm beach Recreation Center.
In the 2019 sale of the mansion at 1071 N. Ocean Blvd., the listing agents were Ashley McIntosh, Gary Pohrer and Vince Spadea of Douglas Elliman Real Estate. They negotiated opposite Moens, who during his career has sold several homes in Palm Beach and nearby Manalapan for prices above $100 million.
Moens also was the listing agent in 2011 when the lots the Gureghians’ trust paid a recorded $28.9 million for the two side-by-side direct-beachfront lots where they would built the mansion at No. 1071. In that sale, broker Christian Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate acted for the Gureghians, who tore down a house on one of the lots to accommodate their mansion.
Other pricey Palm Beach tear-downs, including one sold by Trump
After the 2019 sale of mansion, the Salices sold their oceanfront penthouse at the Sun & Surf condominium development in Palm Beach. Moens acted on their behalf in that sale — recorded at $14 million in November 2020 — opposite agent Hal Matheson of Monique Matheson Properties LC, who represented the buyer, Shahla Ansary.
Other sizable tear-downs in Palm Beach have included two oceanfront houses that Citadel hedge-fund manager Ken Griffin bought when he was assembling his massive South End estate of more than 25 acres. Griffin paid a recorded $85 million for a house at 1290 S. Ocean Blvd. in January 2017 and later bought a house at 60 Blossom Way for a recorded $99.13 million. He has since demolished both homes.
Former President Donald Trump also sold a 6-acre investment estate at 513 N. County Road in 2008 for a recorded $95 million. The buyer, Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, ended up demolishing the mansion and subdividing the land into three lots, which his trust sold between November 2016 and July 2019 for a combined $108.74 million.