Casa Casuarina

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The Villa, Casa Casuarina
Versace mansion - casa casuarina.jpg
Casa Casuarina also known as the Versace Mansion
General information
Location Miami Beach, Florida, USA
Technical details
Floor count 3
Other information
Number of suites 10
Number of restaurants 1
Website
http://www.vmmiamibeach.com

The Villa, Casa Casuarina, (also known as Versace Mansion) is a property previously owned by Italian fashion impresario Gianni Versace at Ocean Drive in the Miami Beach Architectural District, Florida. Now it operates as a boutique hotel known as The Villa, Casa Casuarina.

History[edit]

Alden Freeman[edit]

The Villa Casa Casuarina was built in 1930[1] in Mediterranean Revival style, commissioned by architect Alden Freeman. There is a rumor that during construction a time capsule was hidden in one of the walls.

Freeman said the structure was modeled on the Alcázar de Colón with its Coralline rock blocks. One of the blocks from the Alcazar structure sits on the right side of the main entrance. Addison Mizner designed the interior including the use of key lime coral flooring.[2]

The name translates to “house of the Australian pine” and speculation about its origin centers on a W. Somerset Maugham novel, “Under the Casuarina Tree” or maybe a reference to a tree on the lot that survived the 1926 Miami hurricane.[3]

Major architecture features included an observatory and a small replica of the Homage Tower from the Fortaleza Ozama in the Dominican Republic.[3] About 100 medallions of famous people including Lenin, Mussolini and Julius Caesar are on the walls.[3]

Freeman was the son of Joel Freeman who was treasurer of the Standard Oil Company. He lived in the house with his adopted son Charles Boulton and Boulton's family. He died at the house on December 29, 1937.

Amsterdam Palace[edit]

Jacques Amsterdam acquired the house for $100,000 and converted it to a 24 unit apartment building naming it The Amsterdam Palace It would change hands several times and be renamed the Christopher Columbus Apartments in commemoration of its Columbus connected architecture features.

Versace[edit]

In 1992 Versace bought the house for $2.95 million and renamed it back to its original name. He converted the building from 24 apartments to 8 bedrooms, 2 kitchens, 3 sitting rooms, 10 bathrooms, a bar, a library, 4 living rooms and central air conditioning. In 1993 Versace bought the adjoining Revere Hotel (built in 1950) to the south for $3.7 million and tore it down to make a pool and garden area.[4] The English art historian and landscape gardener Roy Strong worked on the grounds of the villa for Versace. Strong had also created gardens at Versace's Villa Fontanelle on Lake Como.[5]

On July 15, 1997 Versace was shot dead in front of this house by Andrew Cunanan.

Post Versace[edit]

The mansion was purchased by Peter Loftin for $19 million in 2000; he renovated the property to be used as a boutique hotel, restaurant and luxury event space. The restaurant was Il Sole at The Villa Casa Casuarina. The mansion was bought by VM South Beach, LLC for $41.5 million in 2013.[6] Since 2015, the Villa Casa Casuarina has been a luxury hotel with 10 unique suites and the renowned gourmet restaurant Gianni's.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 25°46′55.20″N 80°7′50.20″W / 25.7820000°N 80.1306111°W / 25.7820000; -80.1306111