Versace Mansion Could See New Life As Retail Space

CBS Miami

by Lauren Pastrana

Casa Casuarina

Casa Casuarina (Source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – The new owners of the Versace Mansion are considering a plan that would turn the famed oceanside oasis into high-end retail space.

The property was sold at auction for $41.5 million.

The winning bid came from VM South Beach LLC, an investor group that includes Jordache jeans’ Nakash family.

Boasting 23,000 square feet, 10 bedrooms and a golden swimming pool, there’s been talk of running the opulent estate as a luxury boutique hotel, but that’s not the only option.

Jon Bennett, the director of real estate for Nakash Holdings, said converting part of the property into retail space is an attractive idea.

He mentioned an Apple Store as a potential occupant.

“They’ve been really creative in terms of the stores that they’ve been able to construct,” Bennett told CBS 4′s Lauren Pastrana in a phone interview. “I can imagine them doing something really creative there. You know, somehow blending the new with the old.”

Nothing is set in stone just yet.

Bennett said the plans are still very preliminary.

“It’s very important to us to take the community and the unique nature of the property into account as we decide what we think what will be the best use for it,” Bennett explained.

On Tuesday night, beach-goers expressed some ideas of their own.

“I’m into music,” Gary Tomlin said. “I would turn it into a studio.”

Kim Redmond had never visited the home before.

She paused to take a cell phone picture from across the street.

“What about a museum,” she asked.

Redmond wasn’t too keen on the idea of a retail space. Neither was Lori Granados, unless the store paid homage to the home’s  previous owner, Gianni Versace.

“What about a store, like a Versace store,” she said.

Whatever becomes of the mansion, curious onlookers said they’d like to see the home become more accessible to the public.

“There’s so much curiosity about the inside,” Judy Redmond said. Nobody knows about the inside. I’d love to be able to take a tour in there.”

Bennett said turning Casa Casuarina into retail space could provide for a public-private partnership where visitors can tour the mansion, rather than just admire it from outside the gates.

He said architects and designers are working on plans now.

It’s possible the home could become a hotel or remain an event space.

Bennett stressed none of the ideas in the works involve tearing down the mansion.

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