Landmarked Mizner house sells for $18.25 million, deed shows
Sir Peter Wood stands on the east lawn at Audita, 89 Middle Road, in a 2016 file photo. Photo by Damon Higgins / Palm Beach Daily News
A landmarked seaside house designed by noted society architect Addison Mizner has sold at 89 Middle Road for $18.25 million, according to a deed recorded Monday.
A company controlled by British insurance entrepreneur and Palm Beach developer Sir Peter Wood sold the Mediterranean-style house. The four-bedroom house — known as Audita — was completed in 1921 and stands on about an acre.
Facing 150 feet of ocean frontage across South Ocean Boulevard, the two-story house stands about a mile north of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago in the Estate Section. Compared to grander Mizner houses, Audita is much more intimate in scale, with 5,541 square fee of living space, inside and out.
The identity of the buyer was not immediately available Monday in the information about the sale posted on the Palm Beach County Clerk’s website.
Broker Christian J. Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate handled both sides of the sale, according to the Palm Beach Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. Angle had the property priced at $21.9 million, down from $24.9 million, the price it carried when it entered the market in December 2016.
Wood sold the house though Middle Road LLC, a limited liability company he controls. He bought the house in April 2016 as part of a $39 million purchase of an estate assembled in the 1990s by the late communications billionaire John Kluge. The land totaled 4.3 acres.
Wood razed one of the estate’s two houses and cleared the land with the goal of creating a new subdivision.
Audita, which Kluge used as a guesthouse, was never part of Wood’s subdivision. Its landmark status protects its exterior from substantial renovation unless approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission
Angle declined to discuss the transaction. He listed the five lots in the subdivision for sale last year, and the first of them changed hands last fall.
Immediately west of Audita at 95 Middle Road, another lot is under contract, according to the MLS. But it’s unclear whether the buyer of Audita is also eyeing that lot for use as a yard. The lot is priced at just under $8 million.
Audita’s first owners were Afred and Elizabeth Kay, prominent Palm Beach residents for more than 60 years. The house was the first of three they owned on South Ocean Boulevard.
Society architect Marion Sims Wyeth carried out renovations to the property. The house has a broad lawn that stretches to the coastal road, while the front door faces west. Three blocks from Worth Avenue, the property includes a separate guesthouse and a two-car garage.
Audita’s floor plan is similar to those in several other Mizner houses of its size, according to Mizner’s Florida, a book by the late historian Donald Curl. Interior details include Cuban-tile and hardwood floors, beamed ceilings and a cast-stone fireplace.
The town granted Audita landmark status in 1991.
Wood, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2016, has lived in Palm Beach for more than a decade. Last year, he completed a mansion for his own use at 101 Via Marina, a few doors down from Audita. Angle also has listed for sale, at $41 million, a house at 530 S. Ocean Blvd., which Wood developed on speculation next door to his new home.
Wood founded Direct Line, Esure.com and other companies that provide insurance to customers in Great Britain. He has also been involved in the insurance business in the United States.
In the 2016 sale of the former Kluge estate, agent John O. Pickett of Brown Harris Stevens represented Wood. The property was on the market for nearly five years, co-listed by agents Carol Digges and Carole Hogan of Brown Harris Stevens and Paulette Koch and Dana Koch of the Corcoran Group. Proceeds from that sale benefited Columbia Univeristy, Kluge’s alma mater.
The first of the subdivision’s lots sold in October to a next-door neighbor for just under $7 million in a deal handled by Angle. The lot was bought by company controlled by Thomas D. O’Malley, who lives with his wife, Mary Alice, immediately to the east in an oceanfront house at 101 El Bravo Way. Audita stands immediately north of the O’Malley house.