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Gianni Versace’s Storied South Beach Mansion Faces Auction

Gianni Versace, inset, and his South Beach, Fla., mansion Casa Casuarina.

Gianni Versace, inset, and his South Beach, Fla., mansion Casa Casuarina.

Gianni Versace’s, spectacular Italianate South Beach mansion he called Casa Casuarina is in foreclosure and heading for auction in September. It’s expected to sell for a fraction of its $125 million appraised value.

Versace, of the Italian fashion design house that bears his name, lived a glorious, but brief life in the house and for a time turned South Beach into a mecca of art and fashion.

If you were anybody in the worlds of fashion or art, at some point, Gianni would invite you to one of his lavish parties at the storied mansion.

But Gianni, who was estimated to be worth $1.4 billion, was gunned down on the front steps of his beloved mansion in July 1997, by Andrew Cunananan, a deranged fan/stalker. Cunananan committed suicide with the same gun as police closed in on him eight days later.

Versace Mansion: Italianate Opulence

Source: TopTenRealEstateDeals

The mansion since then has had a checkered history. Vesace bought what was then known as The Amsterdam Palace for almost $10 million in 1992 and reportedly spent $33 million expanding it and decking it out in the most opulent finishes available.

He added a 6,100 square foot south wing, a mosaic-covered courtyard, frescoes on the home’s walls and ceilings, and a gold-lined swimming pool with more than one million hand-laid mosaic tiles, according to the realtor.

Telecommunications mogul Peter Loftin bought the house in 2000 for a bargain basement $19 million. He leased it to real estate developer Barton G Weiss, who turned it into a boutique hotel with 10 guest rooms priced from $600 to $2000 a night.

Loftin defaulted on a $25 million mortgage note, according to Forbes, sending the property into foreclosure and tangling it in several lawsuits. The auction is set for Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013 at 10am on premises. Bidding starts at $25 million. But the house, orginally listed for #125 million, may not fetch even that.

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