Looking for an almost off-grid country retreat? The Sassy goat, guava fruit, a stocked lake, a tractor and the furniture belong to this 42-acre estate called Rancho da Florida — oh, and the property manager is willing to stay, too. This turnkey retreat has everything you need to weather a pandemic or the apocalypse—or simply nurture your nature-loving soul.
But act quickly – the countdown is on.
Priced at $7,899,000, it is one of 10 lots to be featured at Sotheby’s inaugural live real estate auction in New York City. Although bidders can lift their paddles at virtually any time, the live in-house auction begins tomorrow at 5 p.m. and ends when bidders do. Laura Brady, CEO of Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions, expects that time to be around 7pm
Open since 1774, Sotheby’s is historically known for jewelry and art auctions, but its real estate platform is growing. The live auction is a first.
“We have sold over $100 million worth of real estate. We recently sold ‘The One’ [a renowned home in Los Angeles], for $141 million,” says Brady. “We typically represent properties over $2.5 million.”
Although the luxury-focused platform increases product visibility globally and hints the brand at a curated, specialized product, the auction route comes with some risk.
Once bidding is complete, sellers Russell and Juraci Ireland must accept the winning bid. Right now that’s $2,014,000. To increase interest, Rancho da Florida requires no reserve.
The couple don’t frequent casinos, but Russell Ireland is well versed in the art of gambling. “I think when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re kind of a natural player,” he says. It’s certainly safer than dealing with the fraudulent buyer who tried to buy the home last year when it was listed for $8,995,000.
Ireland, originally from Long Island and now retired at 79, owned and ran a horticulture and landscape design company called Ireland Gannon Associates. The company hosted the Macy’s Flower Show in Herald Square in New York City and built putting greens and British-inspired conservatories for clients. For that reason, the sprawling property at 29641 SR 70 East is a piece of Eden, with careful landscaping and a garden to rival any grocery department. Think of: citrus fruits, papaya, guava, mango, figs, peaches, bananas and avocados. Kale, beets, okra, parsley, carrots and tomatoes. An arbor with passion fruit and shu shu vines. bananas. There is also sugar cane, acerola and blackberries.
Ireland also designed the property’s lake, placing the house so that “if you look out the window, you’ll either see water or livestock,” he says. The lake is stocked with tilapia, largemouth bass and Florida river catfish.
Prepared for farming, the property has three fenced pastures and has a few longhorns, bulls, red and black Angus cattle, pigs, two donkeys to keep away potential coyote visitors, wild ducks to play with the domestic ducks, chickens and goats. There’s even a cattle pond and two deep water wells.
Designed by Sweet Sparkman Architects, the home was built in 2019 by Josh Wynne Construction, known for green building. The three bedroom, three bath, one story home is modeled after Florida’s historic Dogtrot style architecture, with a series of indoor and outdoor living spaces connected by open-air winds.
An outdoor kitchen has a Brazilian wood stove and 600 square feet under the roof, an 11-stall horse stable, workshop with walk-in freezer, pole stall and farm tools. There’s also a heated spa and 40-foot outdoor heated pool, as well as a manager’s house and detached guest studio if hands-on farming isn’t exactly your thing.
Rancho de Florida is so unique that there are no price comparisons (home sale prices are based on comparable homes in the same neighborhood). Indeed, with so much space and eco-features galore – it’s rated as one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the state – it’s truly one of a kind, with nothing quite like it.
“There’s a lot of value in infrastructure alone,” says Ireland. A 10kW solar array, high-efficiency air conditioning with humidity control and fresh air exchange, rainwater collection, passive cooling and heating, and a whole house generator all pretty much offset an energy bill. The couple bought the property in 2017 for $700,000 and demolished the previous ranch-style southwest home that needed a plumbing and electrical upgrade. Russell says the new building cost them about $2 million.
After building several custom homes and renovating others on Long Island, the Irelands saw Rancho da Florida as their permanent home. However, Juraci, who is originally from Brazil, is moving back to that country for family reasons, and Russell has bought another home at Lakewood Ranch while he ponders his own next steps.
Interested? Call Natalie Tanner of The Peter Laughlin Group, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty at (941) 539-0989.