North End Bermuda-style home fetches $3 million

The market for homes priced between $1.5 million and $3.5 million continues to churn on the North End. As of last week, there were four such properties under contract, according to the Palm Beach Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

Among the deals in that price range recorded since the start of the year involved a four-bedroom house at 595 N. Lake Way. Agent Carole Ruhlman of Sotheby’s International Realty had listed the property — with 4,107 square feet of living space, inside and out — for sale at $3.4 million. It sold for $3.05 million.

Kenneth B. Elias and J. David Veselsky parted with the 1949 house, which they extensively renovated about a decade ago. The buyers were longtime New York commercial real estate executive Bertram “Bert” F. French and his wife, Carole, according to the deed.

The Frenches are familiar with Palm Beach. They owned a house on Dunbar Road for 21 years, selling it in 1996, according to property records. Bertram French spent many years as vice chairman of Cushman Wakefield in Manhattan.

Veselsky, an antiques dealer, sold the North Lake Way house as trustee of a revocable trust agreement in his name. He also acted individually in the sale with Elias, who owns Habitat Interiors on Antique Row in West Palm Beach.

Ruhlman’s sales listing described the property as a “move-in opportunity,” a strong selling point for updated houses that buyers can enjoy immediately without have to do much work to them.

Elias designed and oversaw the renovation of the home he shared for nine years with Veselsky. Property records show Veselsky bought it for $1.9 million in 2003 with the late Leslie Claydon-White.

Elias reworked much of the floor plan to improve its traffic flow and provide a more logical arrangement of rooms, according to a Shiny Sheet article last fall.

Ruhlman’s Sotheby’s colleague Cris Condon was on the buyer’s side of the negotiating table when the deal closed; the deed recorded last month.

Veselsky and Elias, meanwhile, have moved across the bridge, renovating a condo they bought for a recorded $835,000 last May in Waterview Towers on Flagler Drive. That deal also was a Sotheby’s book-end transaction, with Ruhlman acting for the buyers, and agents Crissy Poorman and Mary Boykin representing the sellers, Robert A. and Donna B. Paul, who acted as trustees of a revocable trust.

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Meanwhile, across town — Agent Martin Conroy of Fite Shavell Associates this week returned 120 Algoma Road to active status in the island’s MLS. Built in 1952, Albin Anderson’s three-bedroom house had been under contract since October. But the deal for the house — with its 4,163 square feet of living space, inside and out — fell through, Conroy said.

So it’s back on the market for a tad less than $2.8 million, making it the second-lowest-priced property for sale in the Estate Section. Algoma Road is two streets north of The Mar-a-Lago Club.

The lowest-priced Estate Section property in the MLS happens to be immediately adjacent to the west — No. 130, offered at $2.595 by agent Susan Furman of Linda A. Gary Real Estate. Owned by an entity linked to Abe Haruvi, that four-bedroom house was built in 1957 and entered the market nearly a year ago with a price tag $300,000 higher than the current one, according to MLS records. At 3,284 total square feet, the house is substantially smaller than Conroy’s listing.

The street, it turns out, is well represented in the MLS. The house at No. 150 — on the other side of Furman’s listing — is also for sale. Agent Monika Sundstrom of Engel Volkers Palm Beach listed the home in late December for $3.8 million. Heinz and Cornelia Gundlach’s 1938 house was designed by noted society architect Marion Sims Wyeth and underwent a major renovation several decades later, Sundrstrom said. It has four bedrooms and 4,615 total square feet.

In a town where new homes are scarce, the houses listed by Martin and Furman would seem ripe to be merged as a buildable lot measuring nearly seven-tenths of an acre. And someone who bought all three houses could end up with an even acre of land.

The latter scenario may not seem likely — but as they say in Palm Beach: “You never know.”

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Darrell Hofheinz writes about real estate and edits Home Loggia. He welcomes news items about Palm Beach real estate for this column. Email dhofheinz@pbdailynews.com or call 820-3831.

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