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Kennedy Family’s “Winter White House” Palm Beach Estate Sells for $70 Million

Ian Harvey
The former Kennedy estate in Palm Beach, FL. (Photo by © Steve Starr/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
The former Kennedy estate in Palm Beach, FL. (Photo by © Steve Starr/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Palm Beach Daily News recently reported that an estate formerly owned by the Kennedy family just sold for a staggering $70 million.
During the Kennedy administration, the Palm Beach estate became known as the ‘Winter White House,’ but the family fondly referred to it as ‘La Querida.’

The estate sits on an acre of property, and has about 200 feet of beachfront. The house itself was built in 1923 for rodman Wanamaker, a department store magnate from Philadelphia. It’s a 15,347- square-foot Mediterranean-style mansion with 11 bedrooms, 12 full bathrooms, and 3 half baths.

Kennedy estate palm beach

Aerial view of Kennedy’s Palm Beach estate.

Ten years after its construction, Joseph P. Kennedy, senior, purchased the estate for use as a family retreat. He bought the property next door and used the space to enlarge the estate, adding a pool pavilion, a two-story garage, and a tennis court. By 1941, he made the estate his legal residence, and spent a good deal of his time there. Even after his death, his wife, Rose, continued to use the house for the rest of her life.

In 1995, the Kennedy family sold the estate to a merchant banker named John K. Castle and his wife for $4.9 million. When the Castles bought the property, they made some renovations but they also preserved several rooms that held furniture from the Kennedy era. The year after they sold it to Goldman’s company, in 2016, they ended up selling those items at auction.

Kennedy estate palm beach

1961 aerial view of the estate while JFK was president. Getty Images

Castle sold the property to an asset manager named Jane Goldman in 2015, with a substantial markup – Goldman bought the property for $31 million, about six times the amount her company paid for the property. The company did extensive renovation on the estate in 2017, which were featured in Architectural Digest.

The structural part of makeover included putting in French doors, new windows, and converting a garage into a foyer. It also undid several renovations done during the Castle’s ownership, restoring some of the building’s original features and removing fireplaces that had been added in the ‘90s. Peter Popadopolous, one of the architects involved in the project, stressed that the goal of the work was rehabilitation and restoration, not an overhaul. The work is largely invisible to the public, though, as the house sits behind a high wall and a wooden gate.

Last week, Goldman completed an off-market sale, selling the estate to an entity known as the 1095 North Ocean Trust (the estate’s address) for $70 million, more than double what her company had paid for the property just five years earlier.

Real estate attorney Maura Ziska, one of the trustees, oversaw the sale, but declined to comment on it. Interestingly, there is another buyer who’s poised to step in. The trust has a 10-year purchase option agreement with 1095 North Ocean LLC. Robert Simses, an attorney specializing in estate planning, manages the LLC that hold the purchase option. Simses chose not to comment to the PBDN about that agreement, either.

Having been owned for so long by a socially and politically renowned family like the Kennedys, the house holds its share of history. After Joseph Kennedy made the home is legal residence, he often used it as a private getaway in addition to a family vacation spot. It’s believed the estate is where John F. Kennedy wrote Profiles in Courage prior to his election as president.

Related Article: The Kennedy Christmas Cards That Were Never Sent

JFK stayed there to recover after having surgery on his back in 1956. After he was elected president, he met there with his advisors to work out the composition of his Cabinet, and even wrote his inaugural speech there. Jaqueline Kennedy also used the estate to recuperate following her son’s birth in 1960, and the Kennedys spent the weekend there just before the trip to Dallas which sadly proved to be JFK’s last.