During a question and answer session at a recent industry conference, a home builder asked Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi for his thoughts about the labor
Lap of Luxury
This $39 million home - which sits on valuable land that has lake and ocean views - contains 'all of the things that are supposed to be in a luxury home,' says Dan Swanson, owner/president of Addison Development.
Land is rare in this part of Florida, says builder Dan Swanson. "We happened to get hold of a great piece of ground," he says. "You can't get 2 1/2 acres of ocean/lake property and build a 12,000-square-foot house on it. We could have actually built bigger."
The economy might be drooping, but not in Palm Beach, Fla. Addison Development recently completed a 33,000-square-foot spec house there that has seven bedroom suites, 10 full baths, eight powder rooms and seven fireplaces.
This $39 million home - which sits on valuable land that has lake and ocean views - contains "all of the things that are supposed to be in a luxury home," says Dan Swanson, owner/president of Addison Development.
The house is on an inner coastal lake, and every room looks out on either the lake or the Atlantic Ocean except the living room, ballroom and master bedroom, which look out on both.
Windows are prevalent throughout the house to take advantage of the Florida sunlight.
One unusual aspect of this house is its 22-foot elevation. There are three levels in the rear and terraces, which are rare in Florida because of the topography.
The six-car garage, which is air-conditioned, has bays large enough to hold limousines, and the motor court can hold up to 50 cars.
Other special spaces include the following:
- Pub room: This room has a 30-foot bar, big-screen televisions, pool tables and built-ins.
- Card room: All walls and the ceiling are paneled in this room, located across the hall from the pub room.
- Guest rooms: Located downstairs, one faces the ocean, the other the lake. Each has its own foyer.
- Guesthouse: This house, which accounts for about one-sixth of the overall square footage, has a 35x50-foot summer kitchen with outside entertainment space, a bar and a fireplace. The inside contains two complete bedroom suites and a caterer's kitchen.
Partly because of Florida building requirements for oceanfront property and partly out of the desire to build a truly high-quality house, the structure is all steel and concrete - 5,000 pounds per square inch of concrete - to make it stronger. All block work is meshed in between every course with bonding wires strung throughout, and the staircases are made of concrete.
"At the end of the day," Swanson says, "it makes a hell of a house."
Swanson makes no apologies for the size or price of this mansion. "The price seems high at first blush, but when you have 275 feet on ocean and lake, lots cost $20 million for the ground. So a $39 million house does not sound so expensive."
Although Swanson has seen a softening of the market since Sept. 11, with land prices and building prices continuing to climb, he believes building spec houses is still the way to go because the investment in the land alone will cover the cost.
"From Jupiter to Miami, there's no land available," he says. "It's really hard to get hold of an ocean piece - it's not going to be done."