NY family among new 'Versace mansion' owners - New York News

NY family among new 'Versace mansion' owners

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VM South Beach LLC placed the winning bid of $41.5 million for the property. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) VM South Beach LLC placed the winning bid of $41.5 million for the property. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Gianni Versace turned a neglected oceanfront South Beach mansion into a personal work of art. Now the mansion's new owners might use its ornate interiors to showcase new art.

VM South Beach LLC bid $41.5 million last month for the Ocean Drive property. The Miami real estate agents who collaborated with an auctioneer on the sale say the deal officially closed Thursday.

VM South Beach owns five hotels in Miami Beach, including the Hotel Victor next to the mansion. The company's principals include the Nakash family of New York, which controls Jordache Enterprises.

Joe Nakash, chairman of Jordache Enterprises, is considering using the mansion for an exhibition featuring young artists in early December, when thousands of people flock here for Art Basel Miami Beach and about two dozen other contemporay art fairs, according to a statement from real estate agents Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber.

"We have said all along that this property was the Mona Lisa of real estate, and look forward to seeing what the new owners do with this elegant property," said Eber.

It's not clear what the long-term plans are for Versace's former home. After winning the Sept. 17 auction, Nakash said he hoped to use the Italian fashion designer's name and legacy in rebranding the property as a hotel.

The mansion has been officially named Casa Casuarina for more than a decade, operating first as a private club and then as a boutique hotel until earlier this year. But locals still refer to it as "the Versace mansion," even though the Versace family sold it in 2000. It was initially listed for sale at $125 million last year.

Versace bought a neglected three-story, Mediterranean-style home, originally built in 1930 by Standard Oil heir Alden Freeman, and a dilapidated hotel next door in 1992 and spent $33 million on renovations. The 23,000-square-foot mansion has 10 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, an open-air courtyard and a 54-foot-long swimming pool inlaid with 24-karat gold tiles.

Versace was fatally shot on the front steps in 1997 by serial killer Andrew Cunanan, who later shot himself as a police search closed in on him.

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