BUYER: Dr. Mehmet Oz
SELLER: Cristina de Heeren Noble
LOCATION: Palm Beach, FL
SIZE: 11,074 square feet, 12 bedrooms, 12 full and 3 half bathrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: According to well-connected South Florida gossip Jose Lambiet, the legendary Louwana estate in patrician packed Palm Beach, FL, has been sold in an off-market deal for $18 million and the buyer is cardiothoracic surgeon turned popular if polemical television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Doctor Mehmet, better known to the world as Dr. Oz, was launched into pop cultural notoriety by Oprah Winfrey after she first had him on her talk show in 2004. Since 2009 he has hosted the eponymous “The Dr. Oz Show,” a much-watched daytime chat fest that focuses on medical issues and personal health and for which the doctor has won five Emmys. While Dr. Oz enjoys a vast and devoted following he’s many times been publicly and harshly criticized for his presentation and support of a number of non-scientific treatments and modalities. Remember when he proclaimed green coffee extract was a “miracle” for weight loss and millions upon millions of overweight people gobbled up all the green coffee extract they could find only to find out that scientific evidence of weight loss benefits of the supplement is, at best, specious? Indeed, earlier this year a group of esteemed physicians from around the country penned and emailed a scathing letter to Columbia University in New York City, where Dr. Oz is vice chair of the Department of Surgery, in which they claim his faculty position is shocking and surprising given that he is “manifesting an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain” and that he has “flawed judgments about what constitutes appropriate medical treatments.” Naturally, Dr. Oz rebutted with a written statement in which he says he presents many points of view on his talk show and doesn’t necessarily personally endorse or promote any of the ideas or treatment options featured. Whatever the case, he remains hugely influential amongst his fans and despite the embarrassing controversies has become rich enough to shell out close to $20 million on an august if somewhat faded fixer-upper mansion in high-fallutin’ Palm Beach.
In case any of the children are unfamiliar, Louwana occupies about 1.5 prime ocean front acres immediately next door to one of South Florida’s most conspicuous residences, a garish mega-mansion that real estate tycoon and unapologetically bellicose Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump famously sold in 2008 for a toe-curling $95 million to Russian fertilizer magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev. Louwana was designed by acclaimed high society architect Addison Mizner and built in 1919 for wealthy businessman Gurnee Munn and his first wife, department store heiress Mary Louise Wanamaker Munn. The estate has been in the same family since the elaborately embellished mansion was built and was eventually passed down to the estate’s long-time chatelaine, Aimee de Heeren who, as best as we can surmise from a careful parse of the vexatious Wanamaker-Munn-de Heeren family tree, was somewhat distantly related through marriage to Gurnee Munn. A broadly cultured and well-known fixture on international high society circuit for decades, Brazilian born Miz de Heeren, who died in 2006 at 103 years old, was able converse in half of a dozen languages and owned important homes not only in Palm Beach but in Paris, Biarritz, and New York City. The grande dame’s palatial limestone and brick mansion in New York City, the so-called Wanamaker-Munn Mansion on East 90th Street, measures more than 12,000 square feet with five principal bedrooms and four full and two half bathroom plus staff quarters with another five bedrooms and two bathrooms. The aristocratic mansion was first put up for sale on the open market in November 2007 for $33 million and sold the following August for $27 million to The Spence School, an exclusive all-girls private school where, according to its own website, tuition tops $45,000 per year. But we digress…
After Miz de Heeren’s death, Louwana passed to de Heeren’s daughter, Cristina de Heeren Noble, who put the property up for rent in early 2008 at $90,000 per month and later that same year made it available for purchase on the open market with an in-hindsight wildly unrealistic asking price of $30 million. The estate has been on and off the market several times since then including in late 2011 when it was listed $26 million and again during the first half of 2014 when it was priced at $22 million. The most recent listings for the property that we could find on the web show the idiosyncratically massed residence, a white stucco and red tile roofed Mediterranean meets Spanish Revival style pile, measures in at a sizable but far from gargantuan 11,074 square feet with a dozen family and staff bedrooms and a total of twelve full and three half bathrooms. Interior spaces include a 36-foot long formal living room with exposed wood ceiling and a fireplace so large a not particularly tall person could probably stand up in it. The 32-foot long, ocean view formal dining room has terra-cotta tile floors and a quartet of French doors that open to an ocean-side terrace while a step-down library/den features an antique fireplace and parquet flooring. The gated grounds provide front and rear motor courts — the latter with a detached two-car garage with unspecified living space above; a walled and gated entrance courtyard with fountain, salt water swimming pool and adjacent pool house; a tennis court; a couple of roomy ocean-side terraces that give way to a broad sweep of palm tree-dotted lawn that extends to the estate’s 150-or-so-feet of bulk headed beachfront; and a beachside cabana outfitted with living room, bedroom, and his and her bathrooms/changing rooms.
Dr. Oz and his wife, Lisa, make their primary home in Cliffside Park, NJ, where property records show they own a gated, four-parcel spread that encompasses about three bluff top acres with sweeping New York City views and includes a 9,153-square-foot Mediterranean villa and a fairly recently built, two-story pool house with 4,122-square-feet. And, just in case anyone might be interested, Miz de Heeren Noble, who reportedly spends a great deal of time in Spain, maintains a spectacular New York City residence, a liberally terraced, 17-room triplex penthouse in a swanky, circa 1920’s Emory Roth designed apartment house on upper Fifth Avenue that she picked up in 2009 for $15 million.