A company associated with the Nakash family, which made its money off of Jordache jeans, recently won the bidding for the Casa Casuarina, more popularly known as the Versace mansion, on Ocean Drive. At first the new owners said they'd operate it as a boutique hotel in connection with the neighboring Victor Hotel, another property they own.
But the family's longterm plans for the historic home may be less hospitality and more retail.
From the Real Deal Miami:
Jordache, which acquired the mansion at a Sept. 17 auction through an affiliate called VM South Beach, could use the property as a hotel as an interim move before bringing in a retailer like Apple or Victoria's Secret, according to Jon Bennett, director of real estate at Nakash Holdings in New York.
"I think this could be an incredible retail flag location," Bennett told TRD.
As Curbed Miami points out, while the structure of the home is protected by historical designation, everything added by Gianni Versace himself is not protected and could be significantly revamped or removed.
While the retail stores Bennett names are just hypothetical suggestions, the cold, minimalist aesthetics of an Apple Store don't exactly jibe well with Versace's exuberant, romantic tastes. Perhaps a Vicky's Secret would be a better fit stylistically, but something about a bin of five for $10 cotton panties in the bedroom of Gianni Versace seems a little off.
Though, the Versace mansion is a bit of a real estate problem that isn't easily solved. Used by Versace himself as a house, no one with the money to have bought it would exactly covet living on the very public and very tourist-y Ocean Drive. The place is a bit too small to use as a private club, and attempts at using the home as a hotel or restaurant have proved unsuccessful so far.
Perhaps in a different world the place could be used as some sort of mini-museum, but no one buys real estate for $41.5 million to use for altruistic cultural purposes. The ultimate fate of the mansion will be, like much of Miami's fate, left up to the market.