Mononymic music industry heavy hitter and wide-ranging entrepreneur Pharrell has reportedly ponied up around $30 million for a not-quite 3.5-acre waterfront estate in tony Coral Gables, Fla., a 30-35-minute drive from the heart of Miami’s South Beach. As was reported by the New York Post, who first caught wind of the transaction, the seller of the sprawling spread, dubbed El Palmar according to listings held by Dennis Carvajal at ONE Sotheby’s Int’l Realty, was former Univision executive Ray Rodriguez and his wife, Liana, who were clearly quite eager to sell the high-maintenance estate. The reported sale price is a staggering 33% discount from the by-any-standard elephantine (and never reduced) $45 million price tag the property was saddled with when it first popped up for sale about 1.5 years ago.
So the story goes, Pharrell had been looking around for a South Florida property for quite some time, and moved to acquire El Palmar in a lickety-split fashion because he plans to quarantine there. (After much hand wringing and criticism, Florida was put under a stay-at-home order on April 1 by governor Ron DeSantis.)
An impressively gated drive makes a grand swoop through lush and mature tropical gardens designed by aptly named landscape designer Raymond Jungles before it passes under a porte-cochère to an enclosed motor court hemmed in by the imposing, two-story Plantation-style mansion, a spacious detached guesthouse and garage bays for five or more cars. Conceived by esteemed local architect Cesar Molina, the sprawling compound’s living spaces comprise more than 17,000 square feet with a total of nine bedrooms and 11.5 bathrooms spread throughout the main house, guesthouse and boathouse.
The main residence is entered though a conspicuously grand foyer with gleaming hardwood floors, a soaring double-height ceiling and not just one but two staircases that curve gracefully up to the second floor. (There’s also an elevator for those too lazy or infirm to schlep the 20+ steps.) Formal living and dining rooms, the former with a fireplace and the latter comfortably capable of seating a dozen, are complimented by a bar room and a roomy, richly paneled library/den replete with fireplace and a built-in entertainment unit. Chock full of every culinary accouterment one can and should expect in a home of this price and size, i.e. multiple dishwashers, extensive prep areas and full sized fridge and freezers, the kitchen is colossal and yet still cozy with a breakfast area that spills out to the gardens through towering, arched French doors that extend nearly to the ceiling. One of the larger second-floor guest bedrooms opens to a spacious veranda overlooking the backyard, while the master suite offers a private study, a large bedroom that flows out to a private veranda and a somewhat unexpectedly modern, almost minimalist bathroom.
A deep loggia with ample lounging and dining areas runs along the full width of the back of the house and spills out to a vast, coral rock terrace and a huge swimming pool. Alongside the pool, an open-air pavilion includes an outdoor kitchen, and beyond the pool, palm trees border vast swathes of perfectly mown lawns. A small tropical jungle obscures the estate’s private, 110-foot inlet for parking boats, and the adjacent boathouse, which includes a huge covered porch, is finished to the same quality as the main house with lustrous, exotic wood floorboards and a professional bar.
This is not the first time the 13-time Grammy hoovering hip-hop honcho has owned an extravagantly expensive home in South Florida. In 2007, after selling a Miami Beach penthouse for $8.45 million, he shelled out $12.525 million for a nearly 9,100-square foot, triplex penthouse atop Miami’s Bristol Towers that he sold in 2015 for $9.35 million, a sweat inducing $3+ million loss. The multi-hyphenate’s property portfolio currently contains at least two eye-popping homes in Los Angeles, including a gigantic, green-glass mansion in the Beverly Hills Post Office area that he scooped up about two years ago for $15.6 million from Tyler Perry — the more than 17,000-square-foot behemoth looks more than a little like a suburban office building — and set out for sale earlier this year at almost $17 million. Tax records show Pharrell additionally owns a number of modest residential properties in Virigina Beach, Va., as well as a not-so-modest gated waterfront estate anchored by a 9,000-square-foot mansion he acquired in 2001 for $1.85 million.