It seems Jennifer Lopez was in such a rush to leave Millionaires’ Row in Miami Beach that she sold her waterfront mansion for what some brokers call a bargain.
“Because of the size of the house and the big piece of land, it is a fantastic deal,” said broker Nelson Gonzalez, senior vice president of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell in Miami Beach.
While not involved in the $13.9 million transaction, he had shown the 11-bedroom estate to would-be buyers.
The restored 76-year-old home at 5800 N. Bay Road sits on the shore of Biscayne Bay and is two blocks west of La Gorce Country Club, which has one of South Florida’s top golf courses.
Nine months after she married salsa singer Marc Anthony, Lopez sold her part-time, 10,852-square-foot residence that she used as a refuge in September 2003, after she and actor Ben Affleck canceled their Santa Barbara, Calif., wedding.
A pack of paparazzi and reporters camped outside the gated estate, infuriating neighbors in the community south of La Gorce Island and north of the Julia Tuttle Causeway.
Sources familiar with the property said Lopez began spending less time in her Miami Beach mansion after marrying Anthony, her third husband.
The 1.21-acre estate’s new owners, Fisher Island residents Mark J. and Elyse S. Gainor, will likely attract much less attention than the singer-actress. They closed on the deal March 17. Public documents show the official seller was Gary Kress, business manager for Lopez since 2003.
Mark Gainor was traveling and could not be reached for comment. He is a health care entrepreneur and venture capitalist who invests primarily in diabetes-related businesses.
Lopez’s publicist, Leslie Sloane Zelnick in New York, did not respond to an e-mail request for comment.
Lopez had been showing her home to potential buyers for about five months, Gonzalez said.
The home, with 200 feet on the water, could have sold for more had she placed it on the open market, said broker Carlos Justo, a principal with Sol LLC, a franchisee of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates Inc.
“It should have sold for 30 percent more and up,” said Justo, who showed the mansion to New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, who later purchased a property in Coral Gables.
“This home is special,” Justo said. “This is more of a Mizner, Palm Beach type of home. It is very unique for the Miami-Dade market.
“When you walk to it, it feels that you are entering the Vizcaya,” he added, referring to the opulent Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami.
In May 2002, the diva paid $9.5 million, or $875.40 per square foot, for the property.
Area brokers said the house was worth more than the $1,280 per square foot that she just got for it, especially when compared with a recent sale of a house at 92 La Gorce Circle on La Gorce Island. That remodeled 8,044-square-foot home built in 1939 on a 0.98-acre parcel sold last month for $11.54 million, or $1,434.61 per square foot, according to Miami-Dade County records.
“She gave it away,” said broker Fabian Garcia-Diaz, a senior associate with Fortune International in Miami Beach. “Whoever bought Lopez’s house got a good deal.”
The two-story Mediterranean-style villa, which once belonged to murdered powerboat magnate Don Aronow has 10 bathrooms, 11 fireplaces, a pool, gazebo and dock.
Gainor’s acquisition came with a bonus. His neighbors on each side are pop musicians Barry and Robin Gibb of Bee Gees fame.
Other celebrities who own homes on North Bay Road include Latin pop singer Chayanne, race car driver Eddie Irvine, Broadway producer and director Harold Prince, movie producer Keith Barish, Latin singer Shakira and clothing designer Calvin Klein.
Well-known entrepreneurs more of Gainor’s ilk with homes on the waterfront include hoteliers and art collectors Mera Rubell and her son, Jason, and restaurateur Sydney J. Feltenstein, owner of Long John Silver’s.
Pop singer Ricky Martin’s home at 5030 N. Bay Road is currently on the market for $10.9 million, area brokers said.
Eccentricity is also part of the fabric of North Bay Road. The street is home to one of South Florida’s few castles, an 11,638-square-foot property on the market for $7.5 million, said Garcia-Diaz.
The medieval-looking house belongs to Capt. Michael Burke, owner of Windjammer Barefoot Cruises. In 1999, Burke converted a 1923 Mizner home into a six-bedroom home with a drawbridge, four Mirador towers, gargoyles and statuary. Its grounds are surrounded by a shark-filled moat, Garcia-Diaz said.