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Priciest home sale, housekeeper, fuel shed; Plus: J.P. Morgan South

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Happy Friday Highest & Best! Today we’re talking uber-pricey Florida things:

🧹 Palm Beach housekeepers make $150K

💰 Most expensive U.S. home sale for 2024 is a “spec” mansion

🫣 Costly insurance is shuttering Florida nursing homes

🤔 A luxury fuel depot?

🌴 J.P. Morgan goes West Palm Beach

Let’s get to it!

Bidding Wars for Housekeepers

Bidding wars for Florida homes is one thing. But it appears there’s a battle on for Florida housekeepers too. There’s a shortage of experienced cleaning staff for all those new residents living in Palm Beach mansions, CNBC reported this week.

Which means that house cleaning jobs in the area can command $150,000 annually —with benefits. And that’s if you can find someone to hire:

Catch up on recent Highest & Best issues:

A ‘Spec’ Mansion Becomes Priciest U.S. Home Sale in 2024

10 Tarpon Isle (Photo: Douglas Elliman and Corcoran Group)

The priciest home listing in Palm Beach County just became the most expensive home sale in the U.S. this year (so far).

The 21,000-square foot home, atop a 2.3 acre man-made island in Palm Beach, was sold last week to a buyer who paid $150 million, according to a deed filed with the county.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the buyer is Australian investor Michael Dorrell, CEO and co-founder of New York City-based Stonespeak, a firm that specializes in infrastructure investments.

Apparently he’s already moved in, according to the Palm Beach Post, which cited people in the neighborhood, and a sighting of the Australian flag atop a flagpole on the property

The 11-bedroom home was built on spec, without a buyer in mind, by developer Todd Michael Glaser, who bought the site in 2021 for $85 million. He tried listing the home, at 10 Tarpon Isle for as much as $218 million in 2022, according to Zillow.

Still, the sale price of $150 million is not too shabby. It’s the third-most expensive home sale price ever in Florida— topped only by two other mansions that sold in Palm Beach last year, according to Jonathan Miller, president of appraiser Miller Samuel.

If you’re wondering what’s in a $150 million home on a man-made island these days, here’s the rundown: a 98-foot pool, a lighted tennis court, two private docks and 1,300-feet of water frontage. Also: 11 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, a wine room, waterside office, and a “wellness wing” with a massage room and a hair salon, according to the property listing by Corcoran Group and Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

10 Tarpon Isle (Photo: Douglas Elliman and Corcoran Group)

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It’s Expensive to Get Older Florida

Florida’s soaring property insurance costs are now claiming its nursing homes.

Hundreds of nursing homes in Florida have shut down because they couldn’t afford the insurance required to stay open, Bloomberg reported this month.

In the five-year period through 2023, an average of 146 nursing homes or assisted-living facilities in Florida have closed annually, according to the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration.

During that same five-years, commercial property insurance premiums in Florida spiked by 125%. Annual premiums climbed 27% last year alone.

Rob Greene, CEO of Palm Garden Healthcare, told Bloomberg that the insurance bill for his 14-nursing home chain more than doubled to $2.2 million in just two years, leading to the closure of one assisted living facility this year.

It’s not a rosier picture for seniors living in their own homes. Florida’s average annual home insurance rate was $10,996 last year. And those costs are expected to rise by another 7% in 2024 to an average of $11,759, according to rate tracker Insurify.

Which means the costs of staying put, on a fixed income, may become too high. That’s left many seniors in the state most famously associated with retirement, to consider leaving.

Florida has the second highest proportion of elderly in its population. Around 22% of Florida residents are over the age of 65 — compared to 17% for the entire country.

Nice Fuel Storage Depot You Got There!

Fisher Island

Fisher Island, an enclave off of Miami, is one of the most expensive zip codes in America. It’s tiny, exclusive (population: 681) and pretty much out of land to build anything else.

But hey! What’s that 10-acre fuel storage depot doing there?

TransMontaigne Partners, a Denver-based energy company that operates fossil fuel storage terminals, has listed its Fisher Island facility for sale this week, the Real Deal reported. The energy firm— clearly tapping into the real estate energy of the region— is seeking $200 million for its site, located at 1 Fisher Island Drive.

The 9.6-acre property is being sold as is and “with all faults,” according to the offering. “Bidders are responsible for evaluating any zoning, environmental, land use, regulatory, title or other constraints relating to the use or operation of the property,” it said.

Oh and TransMontaigne probably won’t quit storing fuel there until 2027.

But if you’re game for the price and the risk, you win the chance to build on (probably) the last remaining development site on an island where celebrities like Oprah and Julia Roberts have homes.

The median price of a home on Fisher Island — accessible only by boat or helicopter —was $6.1 million in the first quarter of this year, according to a report by Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. That’s up 6.1% from a year earlier.

J.P. Morgan Lands in “Wall Street South”

J.P. Morgan is coming to West Palm’s 360 Rosemary (Photo: Oshrat Carmiel)

Out-of-state companies are slowing their uptake of Florida office space. Contrary to the migration frenzy of the past two years, during which finance and legal firms grabbed any prime space they could find in Miami and West Palm Beach, most office leasing early this year was driven by companies already in the area.

So it’s an extra big headline when J.P. Morgan — the investment bank currently building a new 60-story headquarters on Manhattan’s Park Avenue — decides that, yeah, it’s gong to rent an office in West Palm Beach too.

JP Morgan signed a lease at 360 Rosemary, the West Palm office tower completed in 2021 by New York’s Related Cos, Bloomberg reported. Its neighbors in the building are familiar fiance names from back home: Goldman Sachs and Point72, billionaire Steve Cohen’s hedge fund, each have offices there.

Related did not disclose how many square feet J.P. Morgan agreed to lease at the property, where Related itself has its Florida headquarters. But the developer did reveal that other out-of-town finance names have committed to West Palm Beach, which has drawn the nickname “Wall Street South” since the pandemic.

Paulson Capital, run by New York billionaire John Paulson, signed a lease for office space at One Flagler, Related’s under-construction 25-story tower. HighPost Capital, an investment firm co-founded by Mark Bezos (brother of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos) also signed a lease in the building. Related says the tower, which won’t be complete until later this year, has tenant commitments for 75% of its office space.

New York-based Related is wagering that the office migration into West Palm Beach will continue. It’s got eight office buildings, including those planned or under construction, in downtown West Palm— an outlier bet in the context of America’s larger office disaster, where daily stories abound of buildings struggling for tenants and selling at major losses.

Entrance to 360 Rosemary in West Palm (Photo: Oshrat Carmiel)

That’s it for today!

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