If you're a billionaire and you live in Miami, there's a good chance you live on Star Island.
Star Island is an 84-acre, man-made island right in the middle of Biscayne Bay. The island was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1922 by dredging sand in the nearby waterways to make the bay deeper for commercial vessels. Today the island features approximately 30 mansions. The AVERAGE price for a home on Star Island is $29.6 million according to Zillow.
Celebrities who currently own, or who have previously owned Star Island mansions include:
- Gloria Estefan
- Rosie O'Donnell
- Shaquille O'Neal
- Don Johnson
Diddy first became a Star Island resident in 2003. Then, in September of this year he paid $35 million for the property next door. The sellers were Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio. The Estefans continue to own a $30 million property on the other side of the home they sold to Diddy.
If you're thinking, "hey, don't Birdman and Lil Wayne own homes on Star Island?" Nope. You're thinking of Palm Island, a separate island a few hundred yards away. Also, Birdman sold his house on Palm Island in the middle of 2020 for $11 million. That may sound impressive, but less than year later the buyer listed it for $34 million after making some basic cosmetic upgrades 🙂
But back to Star Island.
In 1987 a doctor named Modesto Mora bought an undeveloped two-acre slice of Star Island that has 200 feet of water frontage looking directly out onto Miami's skyline in the distance. Cuban-born Modesto earned a fortune, along with his brothers, owning and operating hospitals in Florida. They founded the now-closed Pan American Hospital in 1963. It was the first hospital to adapt and specifically cater to the area's growing Cuban population. Modesto and his brothers eventually owned two other hospitals, one more in Miami and one in Fort Laudredale. They also operated an annual conference for Cuban-American doctors.
Success brought wealth to Modesto and his wife Lourdes Sanjenis, who is also a doctor. That's how Modesto and Lourdes came to acquire the two acre lot located at #8 Star Island Drive. The price they paid in 1987?
That was the same as around 46 kilos of cocaine, which was the preferred form of payment in 1987 Miami.
In 1993 the doctors completed construction on a 17,000 square-foot mansion on the property. The home features 9 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. You can park a large yacht out front at the private dock. Check the property out in this video from Berkshire Hathaway:
Modesto Mora died in 2013.
With Miami (and Florida at large) real estate prices sky rocketing, Lourdes decided to put the property on the market in August of this year. She just found a buyer. The price that buyer is paying?
That sets the record for most expensive home that's ever sold in Miami-Dade County. The previous record was $65 million, which someone paid in July 2021 for a waterfront mansion built on spec in nearby Coconut Grove.
No word yet on the identity of the buyer, but get this – According to Lourdes herself, the property is likely A TEARDOWN. Apparently 30-ish years of waterfront living is not good for the bones of a mansion and the new buyer will likely need to start from scratch. So in essence, the buyer just paid $75 million for dirt and will eventually need to spend tens of millions more constructing a new mansion. Stunning.
And while $75 million may be an ungodly amount of money to spend on one home, it's not even in the top 10 of most-expensive homes sold in the US in 2021. By our count it's roughly #14, right behind the $78 million Maui property that Jeff Bezos acquired last month.
A week after we published this article, the buyer's identity was revealed. The buyer turned out to be hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin.