July 25, 2013

Gianni Versace's former Miami mansion goes up for auction

The South Beach, Florida, mansion once owned by Italian designer Gianni Versace - and the place he was fatally shot - is headed for the auction block. The extravagant ten-bedroom home, known as Casa Casuarina, was originally built in 1930 and features a 54-foot long mosaic pool lined with 24-karat gold, numerous frescos, ornate statues, arched doorways and an open air courtyard.

Fisher Auction Company is handling the sale, which is scheduled for September 17.

The 23,000-square-foot mansion had previously been listed for $125million, before the price wa
s slashed in November to $100million, and again in May to $75million.

In 1997, the 50-year-old Versace was killed in front of the property by a man who later committed suicide. Tourists can still routinely be spotted taking photos in front of the house.

The property had been operating as a ten-room boutique hotel but had closed.

The house - whose most recent owner was telecoms magnate Peter Loftin - had its asking price cut by $50million after failing to find a buyer for more than a year.

He initially asked $125million for the property, making it the most expensive house on the market when it was first put up for sale a year ago.

Indeed it was Versace's pride and joy until the fateful June day of 1997 when Andrew Cunanan assassinated him in cold blood on the very steps of the house. When Donatella Versace scrambled to sell off the designer's assets, Mr Loftin gained from a quick bargain and bought the villa for a cool $20million.

After residing there himself for a number of years, he turned the opulent property into a boutique hotel. The property is now known as Villa by Barton G after the events impresario Barton G Weiss who renovated and re-styled it .

Nowadays, according to the hotel's website, the decor 'takes up style where fashion designer Gianni Versace left off.' Boasting 23,400 square feet, the ornate house includes seven fireplaces, a guest house and a parking garage large enough for a dozen cars, and all within a one acre plot.

For the past three years hotel guests have enjoyed the surrounding attractions of Miami's historic Art Deco district while re-energizing from the day poolside or in one of two of the residence's lounges.

xoxo LLD

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