Vicarage sells for $7.35M
The Vicarage at 448 N. Lake Way — so-named because an unknown architect built it in 1897 for the vicar of The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea — has sold for $7.35 million in a deal that closed Tuesday.
The island's third-oldest house and the first residence in Palm Beach to be landmarked, it was renovated in 1929 by architect Howard Major and was the 1990 winner of the Ballinger Award for historic preservation.
According to documents filed with Palm Beach County, the buyers are Wall Street merchant banker Leonard Harlan and his wife, Fleur Cates Harlan, an investment banker.
Leonard Harlan co-founded Castle Harlan Inc., a multibillion-dollar private equity firm. British-born Fleur Harlan, who was married to Benjamin Netanyahu while he was Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, is a director of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. The Harlans are supporters of various cultural initiatives and charities.
Palm Beacher John Castle and Len Harlan, both with lengthy backgrounds at Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette, founded Castle Harlan in 1986. Its dozens of acquired companies have included Morton's Restaurant Group, Ethan Allen Interiors, Smarte Carte Corp. and Truck Components Inc.
The seller of The Vicarage was Cellular One founder Kenneth Horowitz, who, with Palm Beacher Jon Stoll, invested $20 million in the Miami Fusion franchise of Major League Soccer.
Just a year ago, Horowitz told the Town Council that the landmark designation on The Vicarage could make it tougher to sell. Horowitz, who said the house wasn't designed for a modern family to live in, bought the property a decade ago for $2.89 million. The lot is 70 feet by 300 feet, making the new sales price $105,000 a linear foot.
The Vicarage is a two-story, wood frame and shingle British Colonial-style bungalow with five bedrooms, five bathrooms and about 5,000 square feet of living area. At one time, it was the winter home of actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and his wife, Mary Lee. Fairbanks sold the house in 1989 for $1.73 million.
Major added the distinctive lakefront octagonal gazebos and garden area. When the house won the Ballinger Award, John Mashek of the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach noted "the fanciful east entrance with its hint of Chinese influence."
The Corcoran Group brokerage was on both sides of the transaction. The house had been listed for $7.95 million. Rosalind Clarke represented the seller, and Dana Koch and Clifford Streit represented the buyers. They declined to name the parties, at their request.
"I'm just so thrilled. These buyers really love the house, and they appreciate its pedigree," Clarke said. "It's one of my favorite houses on the island, and they'll do a beautiful job restoring it."
"I can't discuss the buyers, but they have assembled a great team, in New York and here, to bring the house back to its former glory," Koch said.