John Lennon’s former home brings in $ 36 million in Palm Beach, deed says

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One of Palm Beach’s most famous beachfront mansions – the home the late John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono bought in 1980, the same year the singer was murdered in New York City – has sold for $ 36.08 million.

Ono then carried out a renovation and sold the iconic property at 720 S. Ocean Blvd. six years after the death of her husband.

Known as El Solano, the house last changed hands for a recorded sum of $ 23.06 million in January 2016, when it was purchased by Cindy and John C. Sites Jr. In this agreement, the Sites shared majority ownership with the Trust 2010 Sites family trustee, ownership records show. In July 2018, John Sites, a former Bear Stearns executive and partner at Wexford Capital LP, and his wife transferred ownership to his name. The Sites had homestead in the later Palm Beach County tax rolls.

Via a deed registered on Monday, the Sites and trustee Ashton Hudson sold the estate to 720 South Ocean Boulevard Land Trust, for which West Palm Beach attorney Paul Krasker is trustee. Also on Monday was registered a 30-year, $ 19.6 million mortgage on the property, signed by Krasker, through lender First Republic Bank. Krasker could not be reached and no further information about the buyer was available in the public records.

The property sits about three-quarters of a mile north of Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s Winter White House.

The Siteses have extensively renovated the Mediterranean-style mansion, which has a strange quirk dating back to the 1920s. The house has an adjoining guest apartment on its north side which is owned by next-door neighbors, novelist James Patterson and his wife , Sue. A covered passage on the second floor connects the apartment to the Patterson House.

>> MORE CONTENT: John Lennon’s former rectory in Palm Beach under contract, listed at $ 47.5 million

With a tennis court, the iconic estate at 720 S. Ocean Blvd.  encompasses nearly 2 acres and faces approximately 180 feet of waterfront across the coastal road.  Photo by Dakoda Wright for Andy Frame Photography

The mansion was built in 1919 on a project by famous company architect Addison Mizner and subsequently expanded.

To this day, many locals refer to the Estate Section’s home as “The John Lennon House”. The mansion sits on nearly 2 acres of land with approximately 180 feet of waterfront overlooking its beach patch across the coastal road.

Lennon and his wife purchased the Mediterranean-style home for $ 725,000 in January 1980. They used it as a vacation home for a short time and made plans for a major renovation and restoration. After the death of the former Beatles singer, his widow retained ownership and eventually completed a renovation. She sold the property in 1986 for $ 3.15 million, according to records.

John Lennon outside The Breakers in Palm Beach in February 1980, after having lunch with Yoko Ono and actor Peter Boyle.  The former Beatles singer is said to be assassinated in New York City later that year.  (PAT PARTINGTON / THE PALM BEACH POST)

The layout includes more than seven bedrooms as well as nine bathrooms and three powder rooms, according to the sales list prepared by broker Christian Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate. In all, the house has 14,145 square feet of living space, inside and out.

Corcoran Group agents Dana Koch and Paulette Koch handled the buy side of the sale.

Angle declined to comment, citing a confidentiality agreement involved in the sale. His clients were not reachable.

Dana Koch and Paulette Koch also declined to discuss the transaction.

The home went on sale in late April for $ 47.5 million and the price has never wavered in MLS.

>> RELATED CONTENT: John Lennon’s former home El Solano sells for $ 23.05 million

This photo of the back of El Solano, 720 S. Ocean Blvd., was taken around the time the house was purchased in 1980 by former Beatle and songwriter John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono.  After Lennon died on December 8, 1980, residents and visitors to the town gathered for a vigil at the house, known as El Solano, according to news reports.

Lennon and Ono purchased the house from the late Brownie McLean, to whom they had rented the house for a month in 1979.

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLean shared the house with her late husband, John “Jock” McLean, whose parents owned the Hope Diamond.

In 1976, Larry Flynt, who published the sexually explicit magazine Hustler, leased the estate using a business that hid his identity from Brownie McLean, according to a 2017 article in the Pam Beach Post. Flynt signed a two-year lease and photographed models for Hustler at the property, he told the Post.

“We sneaked in before anyone knew we were there,” Flynt told the Post. “My first studio was the backyard of the McLean House.”

After Flynt’s identity became known, the city moved to expel him, the Post reported – although Flynt said he appreciated the notoriety. After his lease ended, Flynt left town for California.

“Sprawling grounds”

Ono sold the property to Howard A. Fafard, according to records, and in 1990 it was transferred to Alan and Christine Curtis for a recorded amount of $ 4.315 million. In early 2016, the Curtis sold the property to Siteses, who made improvements to the property.

The Sites weren’t new to Palm Beach when they bought the house. A month before they closed, they had sold a house on Wells Road for almost $ 8 million.

John Sites specializes in private and public equity investments at Wexford Capital, which has offices in downtown West Palm Beach and Greenwich, Connecticut, its website says.

Angle represented the Sites when they purchased the home, negotiating with broker Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates.

Angle’s sales listing described El Solano as a “spectacular beachfront Mizner resort” with “sprawling grounds”, a tennis court, “sunrise and sunset pools” and a cabana directly overlooking the sea. the beach. There are original architectural details and oversized fireplaces.

The layout includes a seaside dining room, a library and a large living room with a wet bar. The owners’ wing by the sea has a living room, two bathrooms, an office and a terrace.

Early landmark

The city designated the house as a landmark in 1980, shortly after a preservation program was established to protect historic residences from demolition or significant alteration.

A report prepared as part of the historical process described the house as “very representative of the distinctive (Mizner’s) style of this period, of which very few examples remain. In addition, the scale of El Solano is in keeping with the seaside neighborhood of the areas of which it is an important part.

Once the house was completed, Mizner would have occupied it. The house was named after the county of California where Mizner grew up, although the house name is sometimes misspelled as “El Salano”.

Mizner quickly sold the house to Harold K. Vanderbilt, who used it in the years leading up to the construction of Eastover, his 1929 mansion in Manalapan. For the Palm Beach home, Vanderbilt commissioned Mizner to add an expansive living room and pool.

About the gateway

The covered walkway that crosses the Patterson’s Alley at 710 S. Ocean Blvd. can be traced to a dispute in the 1920s between Vanderbilt and the architect and owner of No. 710, Standard Oil heiress Elizabeth Kay. A 2009 Daily News article cited Charles S. Roberts, who sold No. 710 to Patterson that same year and had searched for deeds of the properties.

The iconic home that just changed hands at 720 S. Ocean Blvd.  has an unusual architectural feature.  It shares a wall with a long-ceded two-story guest apartment at the neighboring 1920s estate (seen far right) and owned by novelist James A. Patterson and his wife, Sue.  A second floor bridge connects the guesthouse to the Patterson House at 710 S. Ocean Blvd.  The result is that the two houses appear to be linked even though they are owned by separate owners.

Vanderbilt built an addition on the north side of El Solano that adjoined the northern property line he shared with Kay, who was upset that his privacy was intruding on. Several years later, Vanderbilt sought to resolve the feud by selling Kay the addition, along with 50 feet of land. He sold the rest of the house to Louis and Norma Levy.

Rather than demolish the addition, Kay converted the addition into a guesthouse and built the bridge connecting it to her house.

“The houses have been connected since she did this… but they have never been in common ownership,” said Roberts, who at the time of the article was a member of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. “There was no zoning, and things were done that could never be done today.”

The guesthouse and bridge passed to the subsequent owners of # 710, including the Pattersons.

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This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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