Last residential lot in Palm Beach neighborhood sells for $9.4 million

A spec house is planned for lot sold by Dan and Karen Swanson, who lived on the property and developed the Phipps Estate residential enclave.

Darrell Hofheinz
| Palm Beach Daily News

The sole property that hasn’t been redeveloped in Palm Beach’s Phipps Estate neighborhood has sold for a recorded $9.4 million.

With a cottage dating to the 1920s, the property at 205 Via Tortuga changed hands for its land value, according to the deed recorded Friday.

The buyer will develop on speculation a French country-style house already designed and approved by the town for the site, according to the real estate agent who handled the sale.

The buyer’s identity was not immediately revealed in the information about the sale posted on the Palm Beach County Clerk’s website. Agent Jim McCann of Premier Estate Properties, who handled both sides of the transaction, declined Sunday to identify the buyer.

The irregularly shaped lot of nearly an acre fronts North County Road,about a mile north of Royal Poinciana Way.

The sellers were Dan. E. and Karen Swanson, who developed Phipps Estate, a residential enclave on the North End, about 20 years ago. The couple lived for more than two decades in the cottage on the property they just sold. They had the cottage homesteaded in the Palm Beach County tax ro lls. 

The buyer is going to clear the lot of  the cottage and build the house that was approved for the lot,“planned unit development,” McCann told the Daily News.

The Swansons had for the past two years floated the idea of developing the house themselves on speculation — or building it as a custom home — through Addison Development Corp, their West Palm Beach family company.

Also known as 474 N. County Road, the property was listed at just under $11 million, according to the closed sales listing in the Palm Beach Board of Realtors multiple listing service.

The Swansons first marketed the property for sale in early 2017 as a buildable lot with a price of $9.95 million, and its price later jumped to a high of $11.9 million. In 2018, the Swansons began promoting the property in tandem with a “concept design” of a house to give would-be buyers an idea of what could be built there under the town’s building code.

>>RELATED CONTENT: Lot marketed at pre-construction price of $19 million with house plan

McCann set a  pre-construction price of $18.95 million for the concept house, which he said would be built by Addison Development Corp. The lot alone was listed for $10.95 million at that point..

Then in September 2019, the Swansons won approval from the town for the actual design of the residence, with seven bedrooms and 13,523 square feet of living space, inside and out.

>>RELATED CONTENT: Board OKs Swanson house for Phipps Estate enclave at 205 Via Tortuga

The plan calls for lush landscaping at the front gate, which would hide the two-story house from the street. The driveway would wind toward the residence, with a four-car garage placed perpendicular to the main house on one side of the motor court.

At the rear, the house would face an expansive pool with a whirlpool spa. A two-bedroom guesthouse would stand on one side of the pool opposite a covered loggia. 

The house was designed by architect Jonathan C. Moore of Smith and Moore Architects.

When the design for the house was approved, Dan Swanson was noncommittal about whether he planned to build the house as a custom home for a prospective buyer or develop it on speculation.

The lot and the plans for the house were marketed together this year at $22.5 million, but the listing was canceled in late September, according to the Palm Beach Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

Under town rules, the approved architectural plans would still be applicable to the property.

During the Architectural Commission’s initial review of the house design in May 2019, then board Chairman Bob Vila described the lot as “one of the most beautiful properties in town.”

Villa noted its abundance of old-growth trees and other plants, many of which would be used in the landscaping of the proposed house, the plans showed.

The 19-acre Phipps Estate neighborhood is classified as a “planned unit development,” or PUD — one of only a handful of such developments in Palm Beach. The Swansons ran two streets — Via Tortuga and Via Las Brisas — on either side of the sizable estate known as Casa Phippsberger, the home of Susan Phipps Cochran and Bob Eigelberger.

Once part of the Phipps family’s massive landholdings, the neighborhood is today home to 20 homes, along with Casa Phippsberger.

Addison Development Group built many of the houses in the neighborhood. The most recent one stands at 207 Via Tortuga, immediately west of the one the property that just sold. The Swansons sold No. 207 vacant for $5.2 million in 2015 and built the buyers a custom home, which was completed in 2017, property records show.

Phipps Estate’s main entrance is off North County Road, with gated entrances also accessing North Lake Way. The neighborhood has a residents’ association and offers homeowners concierge services via an on-site staff. McCann’s listing noted that quarterly dues to the Phipps Estate homeowner association are $3,800.

Addison Development Group has built a number of custom homes and developed mansions for sale in Palm Beach. Dan Swanson has nearly four decades of experience building custom homes, according to the company’s website. 


This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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