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Athletes, celebrities find glitzy and humble homes across South Florida

Ray Allen’s $11 million purchase of a Coral Gables mansion may put him on a roster of celebrities who own luxury homes here but work elsewhere.

The free agent’s future with the Miami Heat is still unknown.
Whether he remains with the team, or goes to another, Allen would be in good company, said Ben Moss, head of the sports and entertainment division of One Sotheby’s International Realty in Miami. Six active NBA players on Moss’ client roster include five who don’t play for the Heat, but are looking for off-season homes from Miami to western Broward to Boca Raton and Jupiter.
“The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach MSA [metropolitan statistical area] has 425 athletes living down here,” Moss said. “It’s not just South Beach. Depending on where they are, rookies or veterans with families, they’re looking for different lifestyles.”
South Florida is home to teams from all four major professional sports, and the athletes who play for them. It’s also a way point and playground for countless other athletes and celebrities who want what Florida offers.

For some – like actors Matt Damon, whose North Bay Road home is on the market for $18.9 million, or Christian Slater, who bought in Coconut Grove last year for $2.2 million – South Florida can be an in-demand destination. Former Heat player and current assistant coach Juwan Howard recently purchased a home on Old Cutler Lane. Heat point guard Mario Chalmers listed his double-size Biscayne Boulevard condo for $4 million. He won’t be homeless; Chalmers also owns another condo unit he purchased last year for $925,000.
For entertainers like Shakira, Alejandro Sanz, Julio Iglesias and son Enrique, or a host of others, it’s a destination in a gateway community to Latin America. Singer Kelly Rowland has listed her home at the Residences at the Bath Club on Collins Avenue.
Miami is not the exclusive home to the rich, famous and athletic. Many Florida Panthersplayers live in north Broward and Parkland. Several Miami Dolphins players own in southwest Broward County. Chad Pennington just sold his home in Landmark Ranch Estates. Former Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall listed his Southwest Ranches home on 2.5 acres for $4.9 million in August.
Athletes and celebrities who want space look west, said Jason Kapit, a former attorney and now a broker with EWM Realty International on Las Olas Boulevard, and a specialist in the Landmark community. Take Pennington, for example. The former Dolphins quarterback recently sold his home in west Broward, after enjoying the privacy and relative anonymity, along with acreage and schools not available for many downtown or on the beach.

“Glitz didn’t mean anything to him,” Kapit said. “You wouldn’t find a million-dollar THX theater in his house.”
Some buyers and owners are celebrities of a different stripe. Marc Bell, the Broadway producer, tech entrepreneur and now managing director of Marc Bell Capital Partners, listed his $35 million Boca Raton home. The estate is famous for its Star Trek theme, security systems, and smart-home technology, said Senada Adžem, director of luxury sales with Douglas Elliman Florida in Boca Raton.
Most owners are low key, she said. In fact, it’s Adžem who may deliver high-value exposure for the properties. For the $13.5 million penthouse at 1000 Ocean, she landed a spot on Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing.” Greg Norman, once successful as a professional golfer, today is an active entrepreneur and developer who is building a $25 million spec home on the oceanfront, she said.
“Our celebrities are not defined in the entertainment or sports worlds. It’s people famous in the business world,” she said. “It’s a unique aspect of Palm Beach County. They want to be part of the community where they’re treated by like-minded people and can go about doing business.”

Miami Beach certainly has its business celebrities. In July, Steel magnate Leroy Schechtersold his estate at 12 Indian Creek to an undisclosed international buyer for $28 million. Down the block on the ultra-exclusive island, at 17 Indian Creek, is the $35 million mansion owned by Charles Johnson, the retired chairman of Franklin Templeton Investments.
For those who call South Florida home, as opposed to a playground, the homestead destination secures their earnings from state income taxes, said Nelson Gonzalez, senior VP with EWM Realty International in Miami Beach. Investors, magnates, entrepreneurs and hedge fund managers all enjoy the benefit, he said.

“If they’re making $60 million a year and living in New York and don’t necessarily have to live in New York, just in the tax savings pays for the house in four or five years,” he said. “And they get to live in paradise.”

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Christian Slater bought a home in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood last year for $2.2 million.

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Former Miami Heat player Juan Howard recently bought a home on Old Cutler Lane in Coral Gables

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Broker Jason Kapit represented Chad Pennington in the recent sale of this home in Landmark Ranch Estates.