This isn’t the pending sale for Netscape founder Jim Clark’s roughly $175 million home in Florida, a figure that stands to break the record for the priciest home ever sold in the Sunshine State. But this recent deal for a beachfront estate along the Panhandle quietly broke a regional record — and for its second time, no less.
The Pennington Estate in Miramar Beach — a nearly 26,000-square-foot, 2000-built structure first owned by Louisiana’s Pennington oil family — sold on June 6 for a cool $25 million, its representative brokerage told The Post. That lofty price has set a new record for a single-family home deal for the Panhandle, located in Florida’s northwestern stretch, and roughly two and a half years after the same property traded hands for $16.1 million — a record sum at that time, too.
The property stands at 10181 US Highway 98 West and 39 Sandy Dunes Circle, according to the Real Deal, which first caught wind of the off-market transaction. Originally known as Casa Lauren, it spans 10.78 acres along the beach and the Gulf of Mexico. The buyer, identified only as Miramar Holdings LLC, will potentially parcel the land into multiple luxury homes with deeded access to the beach.
The estate’s representative, Tony Manthey of Premier Property Group/Luxury Portfolio International — who repped both the buyer and the seller in this recent transaction — marketed the spread to residential, commercial, and hospitality investment and development groups. One offer came in from an unidentified leading national hotel developer before the new owner came in to sweep it up. As it stands, the estate’s zoning allows for a 125-room hotel.
“Their intention is to develop it out,” Manthey told The Post of the new owners’ plan for the site, adding that the new ownership group have multiple developments in the area. “There’s 270 feet of unobstructed Gulf of Mexico beach frontage on this property, which is unheard of in this area.” Though details are being finalized, the owners are specifically considering dividing the grounds into 33 lots for homes, including several golf-front properties, and a beach club.
“Each house would have their own private pool,” added Manthey, and “each house would have deeded beach access, which is getting harder and harder to get.”
While Central and South Florida have long been popular destinations among sun-seekers from the northeast thanks to nonstop flights, Manthey added “over the last 15 years-plus this [Panhandle] area has just exploded in exposure.” This is a “drive-to market,” with travelers coming in from New Orleans, Houston, Memphis and Atlanta. “This is the beach they come to … so this area here has been really developed.”
The most recent seller, a Georgia-based automotive software executive who Manthey declined to identify, purchased the beachy behemoth from the Pennington family for that then-record $16.1 million price in 2020 — and intended to turn the home into a private compound for his family. But due to the time that would require, as well as a lack of experience handling that kind of renovation work, he decided to offload it entirely.
It’s not just the dollar figure of this sale that’s noteworthy, but also the fact that the region has seen other comparable numbers recently. Roughly 20 minutes away in Seagrove Beach, a spec home hit the market this month for $26.5 million, reportedly making it the most expensive listing in the Emerald Coast. Inlet Beach, located east of Miramar, saw a $24 million sale in April for the under-construction property at 115 Paradise by the Sea Blvd., which most recently held the record-high Panhandle sale before this Miramar sale closed.
Most of all, for Manthey, it’s the chance for residents to get a slice of their very own beach. Increasing popularity of the region has made the privilege of a private strip of sand a scarce commodity.
“They’re not making any more beachfront land,” he said. “That’s why it’s so unique: Developers are just salivating at their opportunity of doing something with this property.”