Former Kennedy estate sells for $70 million in Palm Beach, deed shows
The former Kennedy family estate in Palm Beach has been sold for a recorded $70 million by a company controlled by asset manager and billionaire Jane Goldman, who extensively renovated the property.
The estate — known to millions as President John F. Kennedy’s "winter White House" — faces the beachfront at 1095 N. Ocean Blvd.
Palm Beach in the last few years has acquired another winter White House: President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago on the other side of town.
The buyer in the off-market sale of the former Kennedy property was not immediately identified in the preliminary information about the sale posted Thursday on the Palm Beach County Clerk’s website.
The property was sold by TGS Florida LLC, a limited liability company linked to Goldman. She is principal of Solil Management, a family company that manages assets related to the fortune amassed by her late father, New York City real estate investor Sol Goldman. Forbes.com estimates her fortune at $3.1 billion.
TGS Florida LLC bought the property for a recorded $31 million in May 2015, courthouse records show.
Broker Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates brokered both sides of the sale, just as he did in 2015, his office confirmed. Moens could not be reached for comment.
Goldman’s company bought the property from merchant banker John K. Castle and his wife, Marianne. The Castles, in turn, had bought the estate from the Kennedy family in 1995 for a recorded $4.9 million.
The 1920s-era house and outbuildings on about an acre of land with 200 feet of oceanfront. Moen’s 2015 sales listing showed the house had 15,347 square feet of living space, 11 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms and three half-baths.
Historians consider the house an iconic piece of American history associated with one of the nation's most prominent families. President Kennedy is said to have worked on his 1961 inaugural address there.
Boston-based Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., the family's patriarch, bought the house in 1933 for use as a winter retreat for his family, including wife Rose and their offspring.
This week’s sale occurred during the same week that saw the death of Jean Kennedy Smith, the last remaining child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy’s nine children. She died Wednesday at 92 at her home in New York City.
The Palm Beach estate was designed in 1923 for Rodman Wanamaker — of the Philadelphia department-store family — by noted society architect Addison Mizner. With its simplified Mediterranean-style architecture, the house was originally named “La Querida,” loosely translated as “the dear one,” although many sources have erroneously recorded the name as “La Guerida.”
Kennedy Sr. bought adjacent land to enlarge the estate and hired society architect Maurice Fatio to expand the house and add a two-story garage building, tennis court and pool pavilion.
Kennedy Sr. made the house his legal residence in 1941 and often vacationed alone there, frequently swimming in the pool, according to his biographers. Before his election to the presidency, John Kennedy is said to have written his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, at the house while recovering from back surgery in 1956. He and his advisers later discussed the composition of his Cabinet at the estate, although the president reportedly spent many nights at a neighbor's home nearby rather than in the house itself, according to the late architectural historian Donald W. Curl.
After giving birth to her son in 1960, Jacqueline Kennedy recuperated at the house. In November 1963, the president spent the weekend in Palm Beach immediately before heading to Texas, where he was assassinated in Dallas.
Rose Kennedy continued to use the house after the death of her husband, a former U.S. ambassador to England, in 1969. She died in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts — where the family had another well-known estate — the same year the Castles bought the Palm Beach house.
In 1991, the Palm Beach property landed in the international spotlight again when it was the site of an alleged incident that led to sexual assault charges against William Kennedy Smith, who was exonerated at his trial later that year.
After they bought the estate 25 years ago, the Castles renovated the property but preserved several of the rooms with furnishings from the Kennedy era. Many of those items were auctioned in 2016.
The recent renovation was designed by Smith and Moore Architects in West Palm Beach. The project restored original features lost during Castles’ renovation and eliminated fireplaces added in the 1990s, among other changes.
“Our whole focus and goal was rehabilitation of this property,” architect Peter Papadopoulos told the Landmarks Preservation Commission when it reviewed the project in 2015. “We didn’t want to overhaul it. We wanted to take it back to what Mizner and Fatio envisioned and take it a step further by making it more livable.”
The house can't be seen from the street, thanks to its high perimeter wall and wooden gate, which are the only parts of the property to have been granted landmark protection by the town.
The Kennedy family successfully fought against landmark status several times over 15 years, fearing it would make the estate more difficult to sell. The wall and gate were finally named landmarks as a condition of the sale to the Castles, who wanted to renovate without hindrance.