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June 9, 2012

Gianni Versace’s South Beach mansion listed for whopping $125m

London: The South Beach mansion where Italian designer Gianni Versace was shot to death has been put on the market for a mind-blowing 125 million-dollar. Known as Casa Casuarina, the ten bedrooms 11-bathroom luxury mansion on the exclusive Miami Beach strip of South Beach is being sold by its current owner, telecom magnate Peter Loftin. The telecom entrepreneur had bought the stately home in 2000 and converted the residence into a boutique hotel and private club in 2009. The hotel still features the murals and frescoes painted on the walls and ceilings by Versace, a detail that many believe contributes to the hefty price tag. According to the Wall Street Journal, property experts refer to the luxurious villa as a ‘trophy property’, the Daily Mail reported. The now legendary Italian designer bought Casa Casuarina in 1992 for just under 10 million-dollars after allegedly passing by and falling in love with it. Originally built in the 1930s by architect Alden Freeman, the Miami Beach property was somewhat dilapidated until Versace invested 33 million- dollar into restoring and improving the property. Once an architect himself, the flamboyant designer added a 6,100 square foot south wing and a 54ft pool lined with 24-karat-gold. The impressive courtyard he covered in thousands upon thousands of individual mosaic tiles while elaborate frescoes were painted across the property’s walls and ceilings. 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. After his death, when Donatella Versace hurried to sell off the designer’s assets, Loftin gained from a quick bargain and bought the villa for mere 20 million-dollar. 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. According to the hotel’s website, the decor ‘takes up style where fashion designer Gianni Versace left off.’ Boasting 23,400sq 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. Coldwell Banker’s Jill Eber and Jill Hertzberg, known to many as ‘The Jills’ are representing Loftin in the sale. “ Miami is now seeing prices like it’s never seen before, with an influx of international buyers, so it’s the perfect time to sell this trophy property,” Eber said.

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